Report: Shawn Marion’s contract demands helped blow up Kevin Garnett trade to Suns in 2007

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The developing contract standoff between the Heat and Dwyane Wade has the potential to test a 12-year relationship that has been hugely beneficial to both sides. We’ll have plenty of time to watch that situation unfold between now and the start of free agency on July 1. In the meantime, this Dan Le Batard column in the Miami Herald breaking it down includes this neat what-if scenario about a blockbuster trade that never happened:

Miami’s Big 3 would have never gotten together if Shawn Marion, of all people, had gotten what he wanted. Marion was so stubborn about wanting a max contract back in 2007 that his insistence helped blow up a three-team deal that could have sent Kevin Garnett from Minnesota to Phoenix. That deal would have prevented Garnett from ever teaming up with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to win a championship in Boston. But Marion wouldn’t re-sign with a trading team that wasn’t offering the max, so he was instead sent to Miami for a disgruntled Shaquille O’Neal. Miami offered Marion a four-year contract that would have also kept Miami’s Big 3 from uniting, but not at the max. So Marion asked to be traded … and had to settle in Dallas for a five-year, $39 million deal that was far less than the max.

The idea of Garnett and Steve Nash together in Phoenix is tantalizing to think about. This trade wasn’t the only scenario where that could have happened, either. At the time, ESPN.com’s Chad Ford and Marc Stein reported that there were talks of a four-way trade that would have sent Garnett to the Suns, Marion to the Celtics, Amar’e Stoudemire to the Hawks and the No. 5 overall pick in the 2007 draft to the Timberwolves.
If the original trade had gone through, it would have radically altered recent NBA history, replacing Stoudemire with Garnett in the Seven Seconds or Less Suns lineup, preventing the Celtics’ big three from forming (thus swinging the 2008 title somewhere else) and preventing James, Wade and Bosh from teaming up in Miami.