A week has passed, and Xavier McDaniel is still a Phoenix Sun. In the days since the SuperSonics stunned the NBA by settling for Eddie Johnson and two first-round draft picks for the X-Man, commissioner David Stern has not swooped down and ruled the trade null and void. Remember when Rollie Fingers was Red Sox property ever so briefly? It was fun while it lasted, right?
Suns president Jerry Colangelo has been hesitant to uncork the champagne. He's had this irrational thought that someone might demand the return of his new bruising forward to Seattle in the interest of fairness.Colangelo is a diplomatic sort. When discussing the deal, which just may put a championship ring on his finger, he was polite enough to point out the merits of the trade for the Sonics.
Good effort, Jerry, but it's a short list.
The returns for Phoenix are immeasurably greater. Let's start with the fact that they needed a big, strong, physical body. They had that in Ed Nealy, but wouldn't it be great if the guy could be not only a rebounder but also an offensive threat? Say hello to Mr. McDaniel.
"There are pluses and minuses in anything you do," said Colangelo. "First, the pluses. We traded for a 27-year-old former All-Star and gave up, with all due respect to Eddie, who was a fine player while he was here, a 31-year-old specialist. The 27-year-old gives you things you were lacking, like toughness, competitiveness, another scorer.
"This is a guy that will make it so much easier for Kevin (Johnson) and Tom (Chambers). Too often teams doubled up on those two. Now they have one less opportunity to double up. The pluses in this deal far outweigh the negatives. Candidly? I don't see any minuses."
Phoenix was looking to make a deal. The Suns made a run at Thurl Bailey and had serious discussions with Atlanta about Dominique Wilkins. Likewise, Seattle had been on the phone lines for months.
The Sonics had their reasons, of course, for sending the X-Man on his way. They had tried to trade him all summer, and the sting of that followed McDaniel into training camp and made him a truly unhappy man. He got into a heavyweight fistfight with Dale Ellis. The team would have loved to unload Ellis instead, but when it couldn't, it pulled the trigger on his sparring partner. Finally, McDaniel had a clause that would enable him to buy out of his contract at the end of next season and declare himself an unrestricted free agent. That was a concern to Seattle.
One final reason the Sonics were willing to part with the X-Factor? They wanted to give Shawn Kemp more playing time. Now that makes some sense.
Much has been written already about how poorly McDaniel and Chambers got along in Seattle. That raises questions of chemistry, not to mention ball distribution. Winning, however, usually cures both those ills.
And, in case you missed, it, Phoenix was riding a four-game winning streak into the weekend.