Where could Amare go?

Amare may have shot his last jumper in US Airways Center. (AP/Paul Connors)

Amare may have shot his last jumper in US Airways Center while wearing home whites. (AP/Paul Connors)

I’ve written at length about how I wanted to see what this version of the Suns could do, but at this point I’m resigned to the face that a move will likely be made, and that move very well may include Amare Stoudemire.

At the start of the season that would have been blasphemous, but at this point Amare Stoudemire doesn’t look like the player who will lead the Suns to the promised land. Do you see Amare winning a title as the first banana?

However, the Suns CANNOT make a sixty cents on the dollar deal.

The skeleton of a contender still exists with Steve Nash, Shaq, Jason Richardson and Grant Hill, and to me any move must be made with a focus on remaining a contender this year and getting back a player who can be a key part of their future. To me that means getting back ideally a quality young big who fits well with Shaq, and an heir apparent to Steve Nash wouldn’t be bad as well.

Robert Sarver also wants cap relief in any deal, but let’s just hope cap relief isn’t the main objective of any trade.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that the Suns are talking to the Bulls, Heat, Pistons and Blazers, with Chicago and Miami hottest on Amare’s trail.

I don’t love Chicago as a trading partner because Tyrus Thomas is the best big they can offer, and that’s not enough to me with the other spare parts they could throw around.

Rasheed Wallace and Rodney Stuckey would be great, but the Pistons would never do it, and Sheed and someone like Amir Johnson isn’t enough. Sheed still makes Detroit interesting because his shooting and defense would be great for the Suns at the four this year, but you can’t deal Amare for essentially a two-month rental and cap relief along with an inferior prospect.

Portland could be interesting if they include LaMarcus Aldridge with one of their plentiful young studs, but I’m not holding my breath on that to happen. A deal I would love that would solve meet many of the Suns’ needs is Amare and LB for Aldridge, Jerryd Bayless and Raef LaFrentz’s Expiring Contract.

The Suns would get a better defensive forward who is young and fits better with Shaq as well as their point guard of the future who could take on LB’s role as a scorer off the bench for now, while LaFrentz’s contract largely covered by insurance provides cap relief.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt for Kerr and Sarver that Bayless is a Phoenix native who went to high school a few miles away from US Airways Center and went to college at U of A.

Portland gets a second star to complement Brandon Roy and an electric bench threat that takes the Blazers from the nice team level to a serious contender level, especially because you know STAT will have a chip on his shoulder to play a great rest of the season. He thinks he will anyway.

“Ever since my rookie year after the All-Star break my game goes up a notch,” Amare said. “When it gets close to the playoffs I’m really focusing in. It’s not going to change this year.”

That seems to be a statement to the team that acquires him, you hear that, Portland?

Unfortunately, the Blazers do not sound like they want to move Aldridge or Bayless, but I guess they’re just hurting themselves.

Of the many possibilities, a Memphis deal with Rudy Gay is interesting, but it’s doubtful Memphis would pull the trigger on that, and he’s definitely not a four. An Oklahoma City deal built around Jeff Green and expiring contracts is also intriguing if OKC throws in a lightly-protected pick, but that’s doubtful.

And now for my favorite rumor involving one of the teams Stein wrote is hot on Amare’s trail, and that is the Miami Heat.

I don’t love throwing in Alando Tucker and Goran Tragic as cap filler, but those two and Amare to South Beach for ……. drum roll please …. Shawn Marion, Michael Beasley and a pick.

Beasley is exactly the kind of guy I want in an Amare deal, an uber-talented young big man who one day just might be better than Stoudemire himself. Beasley has had a bit of a rocky rookie year, but his shooting prowess would make him a perfect fit next to Shaq, and in college at least he was a great rebounder.

With Marion the Suns could do a better job of being a running team when they aren’t throwing the ball into Shaq because that’s what he does, and he’s obviously got a high comfort level playing with Nash and in Phoenix. The Suns also have never replaced his defense.

You would have the same old Marion at power forward issues, but you’d be getting the long-term hope in Beasley, cap relief with Marion’s expiring deal and the possibility to make one more run with a starting lineup of Nash-J-Rich-Hill-Marion-Shaq with Beasley, LB and Barnes off the bench.

A couple other deals I would do:

Amare for Dirk. This would make Nash happy, you’d get a great big complement to Shaq and at least you aren’t losing much in terms of defense and rebounding, if anything.

Both players can opt out for the summer of 2010, so the deal would give the Suns a year and a half window, and then they could rebuild with loads of cap space.

This could be interesting for Dallas because they’d get younger and a player who would work well with Jason Kidd and Josh Howard, but with Dallas playing well this deal seems fairly unlikely.

Another deal I’d like is Amare to Minnesota for Kevin Love and Mike Miller. Love has such a great feel for the game that while he’ll never be an Amare-like star, he’s going to be a very good player in this league for a number of years.

Miller improves the Suns’ bench with another shooter to space the floor and has a deal that expires in time for the Suns to be a player in the summer of 2010.

I’ve long considered Amare Stoudemire to be the future of the Phoenix Suns. Any day now, Sarver and Kerr may be plotting a new future.

Let’s just hope that future includes something more than cap relief.

Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire

  • Don

    As a Portland fan, I would be interested in a three way deal that included a quality PG like Andre Miller, Amare and Bayless/LaFrenz' expiring contract with Portland getting Miller…or the same 3 way deal with Rudy Gay going to Portland instead of Miller.

    Other than that, we already have our own quality PF who stands to be an up and coming star for many years – plus he's not a head case like a certain PF now playing for the Suns.

    Pritchard won't do this deal as you proposed it.

  • http://romoempire.blogspot.com Roman

    Let's get to the heart of the matter. Robert Sarver is not about winning. He's about making money and that's it. Wake up Phoenix. Remember all those draft picks you traded for cash? Remember when you kicked D'Antoni out the door and signed a cheap but incompetent coach? I think the finger needs to be pointed at Sarver a lot more.

  • Michael Schwartz

    Mike, I think Marion would be able to come back here. He may have just experienced a bit of "the grass isn't always greener on the other side" and in any case he'll be playing for a contract. Even when he whined before he still played hard, so as weird as it would be that doesn't concern me so much if it were to happen.

    Justin, an Amare-Bosh deal is intriguing, but I just couldn't imagine it happening. I couldn't see Amare wanting to play long term in Toronto and he doesn't make them better now, so why should the Raps do that? If Bryan Colangelo offers that deal though, I'd do it in a heartbeat, as it makes the Suns contenders again now, and they'd have a year and a half head start on signing Bosh.

    Roman, the Robert Sarver Factor is what scares me most about the Amare trade talk. Every Suns fan's worst nightmare is a Gasol-type trade heavy on cap relief and low on everything else. Worst of all, I think we're all kind of bracing for such a deal. I even included "cap relief" in my poll this week just in case Sarver visits the site.

  • http://morgamic.com/ Mike

    Pretty soon people are going to stop caring. You can put whoever you want under Porter and this team will underperform. The lack of scouting, organization and motivation will kill this team much faster than Amare can.

  • Skiz

    Just so you know, the next first round pick you could get from Miami can’t be until 2011.

  • Mike Myers

    Those sound like some juicy deals. Dirk is intriguing but I just can’t see that happening (of course, I didn’t think I’d ever see Shaq in a Suns uniform).

    My question: could Marion come back after such an icy parting? The deal sounds as plausible as anything else but just seems too weird to happen. Then again, Shaq in a Phoenix Suns jersey.

  • Baguete (Sao Paulo -

    What about Amare/Porter for Aldridge/McMillan? lol

    I can think of only ONE trade that the Suns wont get 60 cents a dollar: Amare for Bosh. All the other trades will be bad for the Suns…

    I also would love to see Marion coming back – especially with Beasley – so we can see that Amare has always been the rotten apple of the team. Still, I don't think this trade will happen in this terms.

    Sorry for my lousy english.

  • Justin B.

    I would be plenty pleased with a Beasley/Marion trade, or a Kevin Love/Mike Miller trade. The Suns need to avoid a Bulls trade like the plague unless Rose is involved. I swear, I am going to explode if they trade Amare to the Bulls and all we get back is Tyrus Thomas. I’m surprised this article doesn’t talk about a Stoudemire-for-Bosh trade? Both Toronto and the Suns are in very similar situations, and a change of scenario for both superstars may be a good answer to a perplexing question.

  • Justin B.

    While I'm sure that a good portion of this trade is about cap relief, I think it IS possible to have significant cap relief but also get great (if still developing talent) in return. That's why the Heat trade is probably the best we'll get, because it essentially addresses every need of ours: (1) Huge cap relief with Marion's contract, (2) great young talent in the first year of a rookie contract, and (3) the ability to still compete this year with a pretty good forward who doesn't need the open lane to be effective alongside Shaq. Either keep Amare and fire Porter, or get that trade done (unless Bosh or Aldridge is available)!

  • Adam

    As a Heat fan, I really like the Marion/Beasley-Amare/Tucker/Tragic from both sides. I can tell you honestly that Beasley has shown tremendous flashes of offensive brilliance…he shoots incredibly well from 18-20 ft, and he can also blow by defenders off the dribble. In Marion, you get a known commodity who simply plays better with Nash (I have no doubt he'll look 100 times better back in Phoenix).

    As for the Heat, it's hard to resist pairing Dwyane Wade with Amare. If Amare can draw double-teams, it will open up the floor significantly for Wade (who right now is being smothered), not to mention how ridiculously athletic those two are.

    It just seems win-win for both sides. And truly…it's possible for Beasley to wind up the best player in this deal.

  • Brandon

    Anyone think there's even a remote possibility of Shaq going to the Lakers?

  • Justin B.

    At this point, it seems like they'll trade Shaq for expiring contracts if anyone is willing to take on his contract. However, I think if they're able to move Shaq. I think if the Lakers were willing to offer Lamar Odom, Chris Mihm, and DJ Mbenga, as ESPN suggests, the Suns would take it.

  • Hoops411

    Marion left because Amare didn’t like him. 20/20 hindsight: they traded the wrong one. Marion gives 100% effort and plays D…Amare rarely does either on a regular basis. He has the hops to be dominating like Dwight Howard. Coaches can teach anything except Desire. He’s more focused on his entertainment biz than a championship ring.
    Good Riddance.

    Colangelo trade with Suns? Never.

  • Cas

    So you really think Miami is willing to trade the #2 pick in the draft for a player who can bolt after next season?

    Bad news Suns fans, you need to realize that you will be lucky to get .60 on the dollar for Amare. Perfect comparison is Gasol, he is on the same level as Amare and look what the Grizz got for him.

    Not to mention Amare is a worse defender than Gasol and he has had microfracture surgery. Tyrus Thomas has a lot of upside and you should be happy to get him and another young player from the Bulls.

  • Cody

    I agree that the Amare for Marion/Beasely would be a good deal. I see that as being the least risky situation and also the best option if they want to try to make any run anywhere. However, I can see the writing on the wall for a cap relief type trade. I also dont know what they are waiting for in trying to get a good young prospect to back up Nash. The is no way Dragic will pan out so I am wondering why you dont trade Barbosa (while he has good value) for a young prospect like A.C Law from the Hawks, Aaron Brooks from the Rockets, Mike Conley Jr. from the Grizzlies or even Telfair from the Timberwolves. I can’t see any of those teams not taking Barbosa for one of them.

  • James

    Pistons fan here…like you said, it all depends on what Phoenix’s number one motivation is when trading Amare and/or Shaq. Chad Ford from ESPN reported that Phoenix may be looking to clear $40M in cap space by this summer as a mandate from Sarver.


    If cutting salary is truly the number one motivation Detroit could offer Sheed + AI + Amir Johnson for Shaq + Amare. As a Pistons fan I would do this in a heartbeat, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense on the court for Phoenix, however that gives you guys $35M in expiring contracts.

    If Phoenix wants to cut some salary but still try and stay relevant in the Western Conference playoff picture I don’t think you can do much better then Sheed + Amir + 1st round pick for Amare, unless Portland changes there stance and decides to trade Aldridge. Sheed would be a great compliment to Shaq and could further spread the floor when Shaq posts, while Amir would likely be the 1st big man off the bench. Sheed and Amir are both good defenders, so defensively your front court would be much improved while offensively you could just run more stuff through Shaq, J-Rich, Nash and Sheed. Other teams can offer a better package of young players and draft picks, but it all depends on what Phoenix’s number one motivation is.

  • Justin B.

    I think Miami wants a “contribute now” player whose career is on the same trajectory as Dwayne Wade, since they’ll have to rebuild after he’s gone anyway. Pat Riley himself was very hesitant to draft Michael Beasley because he was too much of a work in progress and he was worried about his work ethic. I don’t think that Stoudemire would leave Miami. Nice beaches, playing on the same team as Dwayne Wade, getting paid well, etc. Besides, it’s ESPN that was reporting that story; it wasn’t some rumor that crazy Suns fans made up.

  • Giles

    How would you like the number 1 pick in the draft this year? I think a trade with the wizards would greatly benefit both teams:

    Pheonix gets Jamison, Songaila, and the number one pick in the draft. Jamison makes your front court better this year. He’s unselfish, he can hit the outside jumper yet still makes amazing lay-ins in the paint, he leaves the lane open for Shaq and for Nash’s drives, and while he doesn’t defend well, he’s still good for a double double every night. The man is a rebounding fiend. Songaila is there to make this work cap-wise. And the lottery pick from the worst team in the NBA turns into one of two things: Blake Griffin or Ricky Rubio. You either get a PF of the future, or a pupil for Nash.

    The Wizards get a young, cornerstone forward they’ve need for years, and Amare can shine in DC. Yes, Gilbert is the toast of the town, but that’s changed since he hasn’t played in two years. And Gil’s the kind of guy who likes and appreciates the talent around him, and doesn’t hoard the spotlight. And maybe Amare isn’t the best defender, but he’d be revitalized by the move. The only downside to this trade is that Eddie Jordan isn’t still around to abuse the opposition by maximizing Amare’s talent in the Princeton offense, but hopefully a new coach in the offseason will help the new personnel mesh.

    Sorry for the long post, but I really think this trade has huge positives for everyone involved.

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