Amare (aka "Sun Tzu") Hints at Leaving the Suns

In an article written by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, Amare is claiming this may be his farewell tour, possibly opting out of his final year to be a free agent, if the Suns don’t trade him first. Read the article below, or find it here. Suns fans, discuss. Will the Suns trade Amare for crucial pieces necessary to push us towards a post-season run? Where would we find solid trade value without taking on crap contracts? Who would you take in exchange?

Stoudemire hints at leaving Suns

by Paul Coro – Aug. 25, 2009 09:23 PM
The Arizona Republic

If 300 colorful letters arrive at the Suns office soon, imploring the Suns to keep Amaré Stoudemire, the impetus came Tuesday at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.

In a lengthy lecture to the school’s 300 children about education, Stoudemire mentioned he might be in Phoenix only one more year. State representative Cloves Campbell Jr. then urged the kids to write the Suns about the need to keep Stoudemire, saying: “I don’t care if you write in crayon. We’re getting those letters to the Suns.”

After his talk, Stoudemire reflected on his statement about leaving next year – he could choose to become a free agent by opting out of his final contract year.

“This might be my farewell tour, huh?” Stoudemire said. “If so, I’m going out with a bang, baby.”

Stoudemire has been working out at US Airways Center, moving to the court last week as he progresses from a torn retina in his right eye.

After lingering fluid was removed from the eye July 10, Stoudemire spent 22 hours a day face down for 10 days. It forced him to reflect and re-examine.

“I cherish the moment,” he said. “Because I feel like if I had to retire because of the injury, how will my legacy be? Will I be a Hall of Famer? Would I have a championship? Is my legacy what I dreamed it to be? At that point of time, I’d say no. So now, I’m back with a vengeance. I want to make sure that my legacy is starting to build. It is going to start this year.”

He never considered retiring, but the gravity of his eye injury reminded him how tenuous his time in the spotlight can be. Stoudemire has much to prove, whether it is being a better defender, rebounder and leader, or that his health (eye or knees) holds long enough for a lucrative, long-term deal.

Many feel Stoudemire is motivated by his contract situation. He said that is not the case. He points to the improvement over his career to show that his hard work of late is no different than in prior years.

“That’s the one thing I wanted to show the staff – that I’m dedicated,” Stoudemire said. “I’m ready to take that step to making it back to the playoffs and to be that force that I was before the Terry Porter era.”

The Suns will not enter contract-extension talks with Stoudemire until they see his return to action. Stoudemire said that takes the pressure off him but for becoming more of a leader. At 26, he has been in the NBA longer than nine of his teammates.

“They call me ‘Sun Tzu,’ ” Stoudemire said. “That’s what they call me nowadays. The methods I use from the ancient general, Sun Tzu, is the leadership method. I feel like using that will help my leadership and help us to get over the hump. I’m going to apply those tactics and those rules to how we’re going to approach battle and win.”

Stoudemire’s fourth head coach, Alvin Gentry, keeps daily communication with his star. Stoudemire said his relationship with Gentry is his best with a coach since his original professional coach, Frank Johnson. He believes the Suns can be a surprise in a year when most see them as a fringe playoff team.

“Obviously, we’re not the Lakers,” he said. “We’re not Boston. We’re not those elite teams who are over the salary cap, but we are a threat. Anytime you have Steve Nash and Amaré Stoudemire on the team, we’re a force to be reckoned with.”

By his logic, winning will dictate his decision on a 2010-11 NBA home.

“If we’re not making the playoffs, my legacy is going backwards,” he said. “I’m not having it.”

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