If the Dallas Mavericks are looking to trade forward Shawn Marion this season, GM Donnie Nelson had better make sure he has the right team for a partner. Speaking to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas, Marion made it clear that he would flat out not play if traded to a non-playoff team.
“If I’m going to get traded, they’re going to tell me what’s going on and where I’m going,” Marion said. “Because if I’m going to a [expletive] situation, I’m not going. It’s just that simple.
“At this time, I’m too old to be trying to go through and be a, you know what I’m saying, not have a chance to do anything. I’m at a point where I want to be playing for something right now.”
It's hard to not see where Marion is coming from. He's going to be 35 in May and while he can still compete at a high level, there's no telling how much longer he'll be able to play after his current contract expires, be it via him opting out this summer or playing through next season. At his age, he's going to want to spend the twilight of his career playing for a winner.
However, it's clear that Marion needs a refresher on just how the NBA hierarchy works. When push comes to shove, he's an employee with a contract. By refusing to play, he is in violation of said contract and risks losing a lot of money.
Granted, that isn't to say that Marion is completely in the wrong. He's in his 14th NBA season, and definitely deserves more than being the veteran presence on a young and inexperienced team destined for the draft lottery. Though he has done fine work in Dallas for three-and-a-half seasons, being on a team struggling so badly just two years after a championship season cannot be fun at all.
Marion still cannot have such a prima donna mentality, even if the respect factor does come into play. The fact of the matter is that he's a player first and if he is indeed traded to a struggling team, he's going to have to bite the bullet and get on the court for them.
Otherwise, he'll find himself only partially bought out of the $9 million he's due to make next season, and instead forced to play for the veteran's minimum. Between that and playing for a bad team, the latter option sounds far better.