The hottest Amare Stoudemire trade rumor of the day revolves around the Suns packaging Leandro Barbosa with STAT to Philadelphia in return for Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert. According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, the Suns are interested in such a deal but Philadelphia is not for now.
If I were Steve Kerr, this is a deal I would seriously consider pulling the trigger on.
Although in a perfect world I would still prefer Amare to be signed to a reasonable extension, if the right deal is out there then the Suns have to do it considering the possibility of losing Amare for nothing this offseason or sweating through a lame duck year only to lose him next offseason.
There are two key ingredients I think the Suns should require in any Amare trade:
1. A potential future All-Star.
2. A big man.
If a player like Al Jefferson orwho happens to satisfy both requirements gets dangled, then great. But one way or another those are the two pieces the Suns need to get back in any such deal, and this trade does just that.
Iggy fills up the box score on a nightly basis, averaging 17.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 5.7 apg and 1.0 steals per contest. The biggest downside on the court to Iguodala is that he’s not a three-point shooter, hitting just 31.4 percent of his long-range shots this season and 32.3 percent for his career, but he’d be dynamic in the open court with Nash.
The other downside is his contract, which pays him $12.3 million next season, $13.5 mil in 2011-12 and $14.7 million in 2012-13 before he has a chance to pick up a $15.9 million player option the year after that. If the Suns like the UA product, they better really like him because he will be at least one of the faces of the franchise in the post-Nash years under this scenario.
Dalembert, a native of Haiti, is a salary albatross on the books at $12.2 million next season, but he can still play a little. He’s an athletic 6-foot-11 performer averaging 7.5 and 9.7 to go with 2.2 blocks per game, and he’s only a couple years removed from a 10.5-10.3 with 2.3 blocks.
With Iggy on the perimeter and Dalembert down low, the Suns would be a much improved defensive team, and they would have quite the shot-blocking trio of Dalembert, Lopez and Lou.
Financially, the Suns would be taking on about $1.25 million this season, which amounts to a $2.5 million hit due to the luxury tax. Next year, if Amare does indeed exercise his option, the financial commitment on both sides is about a wash.
After that, the Suns would have about $27 million worth of expiring contracts in Dalembert and J-Rich for the summer of 2011, which they could either turn into an asset or use to reload during that summer around Nash (one last time) and Iggy along with the youthful quartet of Dragic-Dudley-Clark-Lopez.
In the meantime, the general consensus about the current Suns is that they are a nice team that could win a playoff series but likely isn’t making a real run any time soon.
Would Iggy and Dalembert change that? Not necessarily, but they would turn the Suns into a more defensive-oriented unit that could still play up tempo, and John Hollinger’s analysis on ESPN’s Trade Machine gives the Suns five more wins and the Sixers eight fewer victories.
I do worry about not having a true interior offensive presence, but scoring has never been the Suns’ problem, and it wouldn’t be with this hypothetical lineup.
As for Philadelphia, a team that visits US Airways Center on Feb. 24, Amare may have spoken about seriously considering exercising his option to scare a bad team like the Sixers from making a play for him in hopes of acquiring a de facto expiring contract in Stoudemire. That certainly would be one of the Sixers’ biggest aims with the Iggy-Dalembert duo being rumored for T-Mac’s expiring deal as well.
Even if he exercises the option, I don’t see how that’s so bad for Philly since the team would then have a major expiring deal to potentially turn into more assets. Plus, I don’t think Amare would exercise it to stay in a situation he isn’t happy with.
Back to the Suns, I really like this trade because of how it sets up their future. When I look at the future of the Suns, I either see a core of quality young players who aren’t stars or that same group plus Amare taking up a huge chunk of cap room.
Under this scenario the Suns would have a complementary stud in Iguodala joining a better defensive unit with Dalembert this season, and then a reload in 2011 featuring Nash with the youthful quintet of Dragic-Iggy-Dudley-Clark-Lopez.
Do you think a 2011 free agent or two would want to join that exciting Phoenix squad flush with cap space for one final run with Nash?
I understand I’m getting ahead of myself here, but I don’t see anybody sending Steve Kerr an offer that sets up the Suns any better for the future while keeping them competitive (and potentially better) in the present.