The addition of Shaquille O’Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers obviously overshadows the subtraction of same from the Phoenix Suns. And now a report from Tim Povtak on Fanhouse indicates that the influence of Suns point guard Steve Nash was one of the primary reasons Phoenix pulled the trigger on the five-player deal that sent Shaq to Cleveland:
According to an NBA source, Nash expressed his displeasure with O’Neal during a meeting last week in New York with general manager Steve Kerr.
Nash, still one of the best point guards in the NBA, will become a free agent after this season if the Suns can’t sign him this summer to a contract extension.
“I think he told him [Kerr] that if O’Neal was there, [Nash] wouldn’t be around much longer,” said the NBA source who requested his name not be used. “That pretty much sealed it.”
Obviously Shaq’s lumbering presence in the lane doesn’t really mesh with the run-and-gun style that the Suns have been known for of late. But also consider that Phoenix missed the playoffs last year and that O’Neal is scheduled to make $20 million in ’09-10, it makes even better sense for that team. And think how much legroom is freed up on the team bus now. Yeah, Steve Nash rules that team with an iron fist. A girly, Canadian iron fist, but iron nonetheless.