On the first official day of free agency, while teams around the league excitedly unveiled free agents like kids opening Christmas presents, Suns fans were treated to Amare Stoudemire unplugged.
You really should check out Paul Coro’s story to get the full flavor of it, but here are a few snippets of the quotes, via The Republic.
On whether he would sign with a mediocre team: “I’ll sign an extension with a team that has a future. The ball is in midcourt right now. It’s on both sides. We have to come to an (agreement) here and figure out what’s best for both of us. If I had to re-sign with a mediocre team, it would be here. Because I’m here. I’ve been here my whole career. And I would love to bring the Suns back to where we once were.
“That’s my ultimate goal, a la Paul Pierce. He did it with Boston. He stuck around. Boston took care of him. They made the right decision to bring in Garnett and a few other players and they won a championship. Hopefully, we can do the same here.”
On whether he deserves a max contract: “I think my game itself deserves maximum level. I’m top 10 in the NBA. I’m top 10 for the past six years. I’m just going to improve. I’m 26 years old, going into the prime of my career so I think I deserve a maximum extension.”
On whether he can be a centerpiece player: “It’s not really about being a centerpiece. It’s about whether the Suns have confidence in me or not. If they don’t want to sign an extension, then that explains the confidence level that they have in me. If they do, then that explains it as well, as far as they do have confidence in me.”
On Golden State: “It’s all about winning. Why go to Golden State and try to rebuild there when I can stay here and rebuild here? The situation didn’t make total sense to me. I think the Suns are trying to make the best decision for them, so I’ve got to deal with it.”
Amare said a whole lot more, but those were his most interesting comments.
My take is what we all assumed: he just really wants to be a max player. Stoudemire has long talked about measuring himself against the best of the best, like when STAT complained to Stephen A. Smith about wanting to be featured like the LeBrons, D-Wades and Dwights of the world.
Amare’s a good guy at heart, but “Sun Tzu” has an ego to fill the Grand Canyon. I don’t think it’s so much the money but what the money represents status-wide that STAT craves so badly.
As he said, he believes he’s been a top-10 player for a number of years and he just wants that to be reflected in his paycheck.
The counterargument says that Amare has never been close to a top-10 player on both ends of the floor, which is why I would love Amare in the $14-15 million range but am hesitant about locking him up as the future of the franchise with a cap-crippling max deal. I’m also petrified of losing him for nothing or in a lopsided trade.
Kerr has never given any indication of planning on offering Amare a max deal. He completely passed on that question in the final regular season press conference by saying he (Kerr) would like a max deal himself but that he doesn’t think that will happen after his past season, although in that same presser he talked about wanting to extend Nash.
It’s interesting that Amare wouldn’t mind rebuilding with a “mediocre” Phoenix team, but he wouldn’t want to do so in Golden State. That about shuts the door on the Curry deal, if Curry signing his rookie deal with the Warriors didn’t already.
I like what Amare said about the Paul Pierce comparison. Pierce played on some putrid Boston teams, stuck it out, and won it all when Ainge got him some help. It’s nice to see Amare at least pondering that possibility.
Like I’ve written before, Amare is a player who just needs to be shown that his organization loves him. The Suns don’t seem to want to do that in the form of a max deal, which is why we don’t figure to have heard the end of Amare trade rumors.
Besides Amare opening his mouth, not much else came out of Suns camp on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Dallas appears to be finalizing a confusing four-team trade for the Matrix
Unfortunately, Mark Cuban’s pocketbook appears to have foiled Phoenix Stan’s TweetTrix campaign. What a shock.
It’s frustrating to see the Suns not even make a real serious attempt at bringing back a player like Marion when even my buddy McGinty, who is about the most pessimistic Suns fan you’ll ever meet, agrees it would be a great move.
It’s also frustrating to see a similarly fading team like Dallas make the kind of moves that possibly will put Dirk and the Mavs in position for one final run while the Suns sit idly by.
In the same breath, it doesn’t seem like Grant Hill will be back, and with Cleveland making Channing Frye a priority, it would be no surprise to see him become a Cavalier.
On the bright side, the Suns won’t have to pay any 2008-09 luxury tax because of a league-wide escrow payment.
Where is all that money going again?
The Suns’ offseson is starting to shape up much like last season played out: they don’t know what they want to be.
In the past few weeks, we’ve debated moves that could make the Suns a quasi-contender, and we’ve talked about moves that could set them up for a painless as possible rebuilding process.
Right now, it’s hard to see what their master plan is and what direction they seem intent on taking.
Suns fans can only hope that plan begins to surface in the coming weeks.
Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire