It feels good to be wanted, so Shawn Marion must be feeling pretty good right now, as one of the last big talents left on the NBA Market. Rumor has it that he is is being hotly pursued by many teams, but most believe the real competition for his talents is between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers.
Hall-of-Famer Larry Bird, working in his current role as President of the Indiana Pacers, was able to convince Marion to meet in person on Monday, trying to lure him to the team. For what it's worth, the Pacers can offer Marion more money to leave Dallas and come to the midwest, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are still considered to be the team to beat in the chase for Marion.
"Indy IS trying to wedge its way into contention for Shawn Marion and Larry Bird did meet Monday with Marion, but Cavs remain in lead for now," tweeted ESPN's Marc Stein after the meeting.
"What I came away with was he's undecided with where he wants to play and what he wants to do," Bird said during a news conference Tuesday. "But he does want to play for a contender."
That comment may have been a hint from Bird that Marion is on his way to the Cavs, because everyone knows when players say "play for a contender" they mean "play alongside Lebron James".
Since they will be granted a $5.3 million disabled player exception in the wake of Paul George's injury, the Pacers should be able to offer Marion a larger contract, while the Cavs can only offer the $1.4 million minimum. But, because that money comes after the team lost George, you have to wonder how big of a contender the Pacers will be this year in the new and improved Eastern Conference. Don't forget, they also let Lance Stephenson go to the Hornets, so they have seriously deteriorated since last season.
Marion, 35, has been in the league for 15 years, where he has played the last five seasons with the Dallas Mavericks. He averaged 10.4 points per game last year, as well as 6.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.