PHOENIX — By now you can barely open an Internet browser without hearing another rumor about Amare Stoudemire.
And it’s only going to get worse from here.
That’s good news if you own a basketball blog and don’t mind discussing all the scenarios, many of which likely lack even a shred of truth to them; that’s bad news if you’re a struggling basketball team trying to maintain focus.
But as Alvin Gentry said, “We can’t do anything about it, I mean, we can’t control what you guys write or what is said or what’s going on. The bottom line is that we’re here and you’ve got to try to win games, and whatever happens from there happens from there. I don’t know of another way to approach it other than that way right there because we don’t know what’s going to happen.
“Obviously he can’t control it, I can’t control it and no one else in the locker room can, so our goal has to be to try to play the best basketball we can play, and then when something happens you can deal with it from there.”
Depending on who you talk to you might think Amare is heading to New Jersey, Miami, Minnesota, Chicago, San Antonio, New York, Cleveland, and seemingly every other team in the league this side of the Lakers.
Knowing Amare and his penchant for sounding interested in every city in the NBA, this will only intensify in the coming weeks unless he takes the stance he did after Tuesday’s game of not discussing it with reporters.
What we know is that the Suns and Amare are not close on a long-term deal. All along I’ve thought the only way an extension with the Suns would happen is if STAT tests his value on the market, sees other teams agree with Phoenix’s assessment that he’s not a max player and then signs an amenable extension.
It’s also more than possible that Amare will take one final look at his $17.7 million option and decide one more year of limbo at that salary isn’t so bad. This is an underrated option that STAT will have to seriously consider.
As this flowchart shows, there are many possible ways this will be resolved. The Suns first have to decide the price point at which it is worth extending Amare. They seem to have decided he’s not worth a max deal, and can you blame them? A max guy should be a best player on a championship team type of guy, and raise your hand if you see Amare becoming that player.
He deserves second banana money, and if it comes to that, we can only hope the Suns would dish it out. I still maintain the best possible resolution of the Amare situation is signing him to a reasonable extension, but you can’t blame the Suns for not wanting to put all their eggs in the Amare basket.
If they decide it will take a miracle for Amare to change his asking price, then you obviously have to engage in trade talks, and that’s the stage we’re at now.
But remember the Suns engaged in plenty of trade talks last year at this time as well as around the draft, and nothing happened. The Suns were sent offers of crap and thankfully declined to pull the trigger.
Of course, this time they are facing a bit more desperation. Before there was always time on their side. Now there’s no time, just the disaster scenario of Amare leaving for nothing and the Suns still not having enough cap space to adequately replace him.
If an offer that includes at least one young stud (preferably a big), a second decent player, cap relief and picks comes in, the Suns should not hesitate to end the Amare Stoudemire Era.
The thing is, I don’t think that offer will come in, at least not at this point in time.
Think about it. Why would a team make that kind of a deal when it’s doubtful if they will even keep him? You can’t give up a major future building block for a guy who might bolt in a couple months, especially if you are a bad team to begin with. And even if you’re a good team, can Amare push you over the hump while losing a major asset in return? On the Daily Dime Live chat on Tuesday we discussed a number of scenarios, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
The only teams that should be chasing Amare are organizations like Miami, Chicago and New Jersey that might actually be able to sign him long term after their two-month trial. Miami makes a lot of sense from the standpoint of keeping D-Wade happy and the fact that STAT is from and still has a place in Florida. The Bulls and Nets are other potential landing places for their ability to keep him as well.
But I still don’t get why teams like that would give up a major asset when they aren’t winning this year anyway and can wait a few months and sign him for free. Plus, if they make the trade now they will be that much more pressured to overpay for STAT before seeing if they can win the LeBron jackpot.
The names that keep getting tossed around are enticing. Rubio, Jefferson or Love from Minnesota. A combination of Yi, Lee, Terrence Williams and CDR from New Jersey.from the Heat.
And then there’s that San Antonio rumor, and just because a few sources say San Antonio is mulling over such a deal doesn’t mean there’s much of a chance of it happening. The pieces don’t match up, and I don’t think Kerr would be able to show his face in Phoenix again if he made a bad trade with the loathed Spurs.
There will be tons of smoke, there will be tons of rumors and there will be more distractions than a basketball team deserves to take on.
But I will give Steve Kerr the same advice I have given him in this blog during the last two open seasons on Amare: Don’t panic. Get quality assets for Stoudemire or don’t trade him at all.
You’re on the clock, Kerr, and the next few months will determine if you go down as a genius or a moron in Suns lore.
- Amare admitted he did not have energy “at all” in the first half Tuesday against the Bobcats when he went scoreless and grabbed just one board while being limited to just 5:45 of action because of foul trouble. This after a 16-point, five-rebound effort in Utah in which Boozer and the Jazz killed him on the boards, you have to wonder where his focus is at. Now more than ever the Suns need him to keep his head in the game, and that’s for the team as much as it is his trade value.
- on the situation: “I’ve been in talks, and [Amare's] just got to understand that it’s just rumors. He has to stay with us. I think him and J-Rich understand this is a business, and for us we really need them to win. There’s nothing we can do about it, so you’ve got to continue to play and understand it’s a big season for us. These guys have been through it once or twice before, and I think we just need to definitely just show them our support and definitely just help them through this time.”
- When a reporter asked Gentry how Amare should handle all this trade scrutiny, he joked, “Same as Tiger did.”