All the speculation, rumor, agony and excitement has gone for nothing. The NBA trade deadline has passed and Amare Stoudemire has not been traded, meaning he will stay with the Phoenix Suns for at least the rest of the season.
While it comes as a relief to many fans that Stoudemire, a face of Suns basketball for almost eight years, will remain in purple and orange, some will see the lack of a deal as the Suns’ failure to obtain something for Stoudemire. If Stoudemire chooses not to pick up the option on the final year of his contract for $17.7 million, he can leave Phoenix as an unrestricted free agent and the Suns get nothing.
It seemed for days that a trade was imminent, with the Cleveland Cavaliers the most likely suitor. Even Stoudemire believed he would be traded. But when the Suns decided that J.J. Hickson, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and a draft pick from a contender wasn’t enough for their top scorer and the West’s starting center in last week’s All-Star Game, they turned the Cavaliers down. The Cavs got their man anyway in Wizards forward Antawn Jamison.
With the Miami Heat as the only real suitor left, it started to seem like no trade would happen, as the Heat’s offer didn’t include forward. The Philadelphia 76ers were long out of the picture and dark horses like the Chicago Bulls or New Jersey Nets were mostly forgotten.
After the Suns’ loss in Dallas Wednesday night, Stoudemire told Fanhouse.com that he had been told by Suns owner Robert Sarver that he would most likely remain with the Suns. Sarver confirmed the report Thursday morning to ESPN.com.
Then with the deadline just 15 minutes away, a mystery team tried in vain to pull off a last-second trade for Stoudemire. ESPN even reported that a trade for Stoudemire “was on life support,” but nothing came of it.
And with that, another year of Amare Stoudemire trade drama concluded today at 1 p.m. MST.
The drama is far from over though, as questions now turn to Stoudemire’s future. Stoudemire has told FanHouse twice that he is leaning toward opting in to the final year of his contract, but he told The Arizona Republic Wednesday night that he wasn’t sure about his future with the Suns.
While things will likely quiet down for a while as the Suns fight for playoff position in the Western Conference, questions will linger about an extension and Stoudemire’s option.
It’s known that Stoudemire was bothered by being shopped so aggressively. What’s not known is how much it bothered him. It could be enough for him to decide he isn’t wanted in Phoenix and pack his bags at the end of the season. Or it might be a lesser issue and he could end up working out a deal to remain a Phoenix Sun for years.
ESPN’s Chad Ford tweeted shortly after the trade deadline passed that Sarver, general manager Steve Kerr, Stoudemire and his agent would meet for dinner tonight to “calm the waters.”
So the big question has been answered for now, but even more questions remain in the future.