by Lang Whitaker

Not that I’m a contrarian or anything, but a part of me sees every NBA writer in the worldopining that the Shaq/Marion trade is the worst thing the Suns could do and wants to disagree. Not because I want to be contrary, but because I honestly don’t think it’s a bad move for the Suns.

No, Shaq is not Carl Lewis, and he won’t be breaking land-seed records trucking up and down the floor in Phoenix, but he is a smart basketball player. He’ll get in where he fits in and he will be effective because suddenly, as Ryan pointed out, Shaq will be motivated. Regardless of his health, his weight, whatever, Shaq is a prideful person. He may no longer be the Don Dada, but you can bet the farm that he still wants to be the center of attention. This is his chance, and he’ll do just fine.

All that said, I still don’t think it’s enough to push the Suns past the Spurs or Lakers in the West. But the Suns aren’t going to set, either.

• I also think Pat Riley deserves consideration as executive of the year for not only unloading Shaq’s contract, but also getting a player who will actually help the Heat.

• This is pretty awesome, at least for a Braves fan: On the AJC.com last on the Braves’ beat writer’s blog, Chipper Jones logged in as a commenter under the name “U Kno Who” and chatted with Braves fans for a few hours. Click here and scroll down to Feb. 6 at 7:56 p.m. Love him dissing the Mets. Next we’ll find out White Hot Eboy is actually Chris Quinn.

• Oh, and for all these Mets and Giants fans around here who gave me a hard time when Michael Vick was found to have been involved with dogfighting, the chickens are coming home to roost…so to speak. There’s a difference in legality, I understand, but there’s no difference in the cruelty involved. And there are no videos circulating around the internet of Michael Vick smiling widely as his dogs are slaughtered.

• Ryan texted me last night and said he expected something from me this morning about the Hawks beating the Lakers last night. But I don’t have a lot to say about it, honestly. The Hawks are so consistently inconsistent that it’s maddening. If they run, push the tempo, they can beat anyone. If they settle and go into their halfcourt offense, they will lose to anyone. I wrote about it yesterday on Hawks.com, but I think the Hawks could still use an outside shooter if they’re going to not just make the Playoffs but have a chance at advancing at all.

• I’m no mentalist, but surely I wasn’t the only one who suspected from the start that this kid made the whole thing up, was I?

• Michael Lee has become a self-proclaimed “blog machine.” Glad to see he’s finally doing some work for the Post. And there’s some great stuff from Tim Duncan in the post I linked to.

• My main man DeMarco Williams sent along a link to this online map test, which will make you feel dumb really quickly.