Stoudemire replacement options — second tier

After hearing his name every day in headlines for weeks, Amare Stoudemire is currently in beast mode. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Replacing Amare Stoudemire if he leaves won't be an easy task, and the Suns might be faced with less-than-ideal options. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Replacing an All-Star forward is never an easy task, especially if that player has spent his entire career with the team and has come to mean a lot to the team’s fan base.

More crucial than what Amare Stoudemire means to the Phoenix Suns’ fans (many are ready to let him walk) is what he means to the Suns’ future on the floor. Without Stoudemire, the Suns are a totally different team.

But since there’s a good chance the Suns might not be able to replace Stoudemire (if he leaves) with some of the high-profile options pondered yesterday, the reality of this issue might involve the Suns acquiring a player less talented than Stoudemire to make up for his potential loss. Fans probably don’t like that thought and the Suns certainly don’t either, but the truth is that it might be their only option considering their financial situation and the appeal of other teams to the best free agents.

Simply, the Suns may have to settle for less than the best in potentially replacing Stoudemire …

Second-tier free agents

I can already hear the groans about these possible options: Al Harrington, Kenyon Martin, Tyson Chandler.

Harrington would provide decent scoring (17.7 points per game last season), but little rebounding (5.6 rpg last year). However, he may be the best of “the rest” once you get past the big names. Martin and Chandler both have early termination options and might see this as their only chance to cash in before the new collective bargaining agreement.

Martin can be a force when he wants to be, but motivation, maturity and injuries are all concerns. Chandler is another liability health-wise, but when healthy he can be a solid option in the right system.

I won’t even bother mentioning other replacement options from the free agent pool, as there aren’t many worthy of space here. The Suns may have to get used to the idea of picking up a forward who isn’t as good as Amare if he leaves. They don’t necessarily have the draw or the money that teams like Chicago, Miami and New York have. If this becomes reality, the Suns would need to focus on upgrading elsewhere on the floor.

The verdict: Not an ideal situation, but a very reasonable reality.


A sign-and-trade with Stoudemire might be a good move for everyone involved. Stoudemire could get the big deal he wants and the Suns could get something in return. The only hang-up is finding something equal (or close to) in return from a destination Stoudemire would agree to.

There’s been talk of this solution in regards to Nowitzki, but only if Nowitzki was set on leaving and wanted to play in Phoenix. A deal with the Knicks for Lee might not be too far fetched, especially if landing Stoudemire improved the Knicks’ chances of luring LeBron.

Another location that makes a lot of sense is Miami. Already a favorite in landing Stoudemire, Miami might be an ideal trade partner. If they are going to get an upgrade at forward, the Heat could be ready to part with Michael Beasley. Beasley wouldn’t provide what Stoudemire does, but it would be better than getting nothing and there is room for him to improve. Of course, Miami has the cap space to sign STAT outright, but a sign-and-trade could free up the money to sign a third major free agent on top of D-Wade.

Trades might also be an option without Stoudemire involved. The Suns could be willing to part with Jason Richardson or Leandro Barbosa. Barbosa’s contract would be hard to move ($14.7 million the next two years, including a player option) and he didn’t have a great year, so he’d likely have to be packaged with picks. Richardson, however, might be easier to move coming off his big year because his contract is expiring and a lot of teams are planning ahead for the 2011 free agent feeding frenzy.

The verdict: Probably the best way for the Suns to avoid getting nothing and a realistic possibility.

The draft

I think I just heard every Suns fan reading this laugh out loud. The Suns don’t have the greatest track record of late when it comes to the draft, but it is getting better. The Goran Dragic draft day trade being the prime example.

The Suns also don’t have a first-round pick, so they’d need to somehow trade to move up. It’s a real long shot, but if the Suns could somehow get a pick in the top 10, they might snag a power forward who could surprise. After all, they got Stoudemire with the ninth overall pick.

The turmoil in the front office with a lame duck GM and assistant GM makes trading up even more unlikely, although there are some nice power forwards in this draft.

The verdict: Probably just a waste of time to consider … moving on.

Earl Clark

Earl Clark

Earl Clark

Clark may only have 383 minutes under his belt, but the Suns are very high on his potential. Clark should develop into a serious scoring threat and a solid defender, but it could take a year or two. That may not be quick enough for the Suns.

Clark brings the size Stoudemire did and the same if not increased athleticism. Maturity and NBA strength, though, are things Clark has yet to develop.

The verdict: Possible, but pretty low on the list — more of a last resort. Clark may be ready to get rotation minutes next year, but not start. He’s more likely to replace Lou Amundson’s time (and then some) than Stoudemire’s production.

Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire Earl Clark Free Agency Nba Draft Phoenix Suns Phoenix Suns Analysis

  • Sam

    How about the Pacers’ Troy Murphy?
    I heard Indiana’s looking to move him.
    He’s got 1 year left on his deal at something like $12 million.
    He avergaged 14.6 PPG and 10.2 RPG last year and is a career 39.4% 3-Point shooter.
    I think he’s very underrated.

  • Buffalo

    I believe that Amare is way overrated and that he is just a product of the Suns’ offense. Once he leaves PHX, he will be forced to become “The Man” for another team and he will be exposed.

  • Hersey

    Kyle, I think your optimism is a little misguided. 'Getting rid of Kerr' also lead to David Griffin departing. So the Suns just lost their basketball decision makers heading into Free Agent armageddon. And you trust Robert Sarver is going to make good moves going forward? Sorry dude, I'm a die-hard Suns fan but Sarver at the helm means Suns fans have very little to be optimistic about.

  • Kyle Fleeger

    David Griffin was promoted after being under-qualified in the first place. It's not like bringing Steve Kerr on was a great decision either.

    Sarver is certainly a problem. I agree with Dan Bickley's article in the Republic about how Sarver needs to get off the sideline and into the owners box.

    However, The Suns are the 5th largest city in the United States, defending Western Conference finalists and may have an opportunity to get a GM like Rex Chapman or Kevin Pritchard once he is fired.

    I agree Sarver isn't awesome, but he is going to outlast any GM… so, what can we do?

  • Keir

    @Kyle Fleger

    It wasn't long ago that J.A.Adande was putting forwarcd the question "have we seen the last of Kobe as a dominiant player?" Don't read him – he is a waste of espace.

  • Kyle Fleeger

    Okay, I like the Sign and trade options if Amar’e can’t stay, but I don’t buy any of the non-sense about Steve Kerr leaving, taking the Fun out of the Suns.
    All i have been reading is rumor after rumor from ESPN’s insiders quoting “sources inside the Suns” as saying Amar’e and his Agent Happy Walters aren’t pleased that the Suns won’t be retaining Steve Kerr. I have put this idea into question many times. As a debate coach, when reviewing an argument it’s important to WARRANT your argument. (reasons us why your argument is true) I will breakdown the current claims being made about the Suns off-season and expose a complete lack of reasoning behind the speculative reporting of ESPN.

    The Statement: “…I’m simply mourning the Suns. The fun days are over, the feel-good is finished… the departure of easygoing general manager Steve Kerr, and the sure sign will come when Amare Stoudemire leaves as a free agent.” – J.A. Adande

    Well J.A. here are a couple of things to note about your brilliant take on the Suns. You might as well have not written this article because it seems to show you only watched the Suns or followed them during the playoffs.

    It was ESPN who said Amar’e was over 50% likely to be out of Phoenix by the All-Star break the last two seasons. ESPN reported Amar’e as good as gone on numerous occasions. So why should we Suns fans listen to ANYTHING ESPN writers have to say about the Suns. If you read ESPN basketball writers this year, you would have notice their dismal predictions for Phoenix. That is until John Hollinger started riding our jock after we went 24-7 in the Second half of the season. So, I have absolutely no reason to care when J.A. Adande or Marc Stein says, “The Suns are done”.


    I get it ESPN, you are once again going to HIRE Steve Kerr to be your announcer. It’s not like you to rip on your own dudes, but WHY ON EARTH is J.A. giving Steve Kerr credit for the Suns being fun? Was it getting rid of Mike D’Antoni? Or was it trading one of the more diverse transitions players we have ever seen in Shawn Marion for a plodding Shaq? OHHH did he trade our defensive toughness and play-making ability inside for an isolation scorer in Jason Richardson. (I get J-Rich turned everyone’s mind around in the last half of the season – he has been average otherwise, and certainly not worth the 15 MILLION dollars he gets paid…

    It’s okay though, we should trust ESPN because they have “sources” who say Amar’e is gone for sure.

    Hey, J.A. and ESPN, how about a little skepticism, how about a little thought goes into your article?

    What has Steve Kerr done FOR Amar’e Stoudemire?

    1. Tried to trade him 2 CONSECUTIVE YEARS PUBLICLY! – this is a quick way to get a player to have problems with management. Note that ESPN was saying during both trade-seasons that the Suns were almost definitely getting rid of Amar’e and that Steve Kerr and Amar’e’s people were at odds with Kerr and upset with management moving away from using Amar’e to his fullest potential. What other reason have they given for Amar’e so desperately wanting out of Phoenix? None. Except all of the sudden, it’s because Steve Kerr, a guy who is friends with apparently everyone in Sports was the savior of Phoenix and Amar’e’s best friend.

    ESPN reports, Steve Kerr was the negotiator with Happy Walters, Amar’e’s agent… DUHHHH… Were we going to let Leandro hammer out this contract? Isn’t the GM typically the guy who should be doing that? Has anyone offered a single reason on ESPN why Amar’e and Happy like Steve Kerr otherwise? Oh wait, that’s right, in the last 2 months, Amar’e went from not wanting anything to do with the Suns because of Steve Kerr, now, they are best friends and Amar’e can’t go on without him?…

    COME ON ESPN! TRY TO THINK OUT YOUR PROBLEMS! It’s okay, don’t actually try and get information, just keep anonymously citing sources opinions of how sad they are about the Suns not being the same and how it can’t ever be the same.

    Look ESPN, J.A. and John Hollinger: How about one time instead of pre-maturely speculating about talk break-downs, try and put pieces together on your own, find evidence, and present your argument. Stop with the second-hand story telling.

    I am on a Suns high- I am SO EXCITED we got rid of Steve Kerr. I don’t believe it was Nostradamus predicting that the Suns needed to draft a center. Kerr was choosing from Javale McGee, Robin Lopez and DeAndre Jordan. Let’s see how stellar of a decision that was.

    Mcgee – 16.7 Minutes, 6.4 Points, 4. 1 Rebounds and 1.7 Blocks per game

    Jordan – 16.2 Minutes, 4.8 Points, 5 Rebounds and .9 Blocks per game

    Lopez – 19.3 Minutes, 8.4 Points, 4.8 Rebounds and 1.0 Blocks per game

    Okay, So I get it, I like Robin Lopez too, but the fact that we drafted a 7’0 footer when EVERY NBA draft projection had us doing exactly that. I also am Happy with Robin’s offensive game compared to the other two players, but certainly we shouldn’t be overly in love with Kerr for picks that my mom as GM would have made.

    J RICH and Dudley for Raja and Boris Diaw.

    Okay, first, Raja had a huge drop off due to injury right after this trade. That being said, the chemistry and fight in the Suns was reduced and then replaced with less skill by Jared Dudley. J Dud is an active and exciting player. I am happier we have him that Jason Richardson and if we could have done this trade straight-up, I may go back in time. But if Raja is still in Phoenix as a starter and defensive stopper (J Rich is far from that), with our training staff, he could still be a major benefit to our team.

    So in reality for me, it comes down to J Rich (recently popular in Suns town) for Boris Diaw (always a concern for Suns fans due to his lack of aggression.

    J Rich – 31.5 Minutes, 15.7 Points, 1.8 Assists, and 5.1 Rebounds per game. 39% from 3-point range

    Boris Diaw – 35.4 Minutes, 11.3 Points, 4.0 Assists, and 5.2 Rebounds per game. 32% from 3-point range

    J-Rich’s major problem is isolation offense and being overly help oriented and under-sized for the people he had to defend this year. J Rich cost 13.3 Million dollars per season

    Boris’ problem is the opposite. He doesn’t trust his offense enough. He can however guard multiple positions from Guard to Center and his scoring is probably only down because he played in Larry Brown’s slow, defensive oriented system. Boris Diaw costs 9.0 Million dollars.

    I am not sure I wouldn’t rather have Boris Diaw and his pass first play-making ability that our second-unit lacked anytime Goran couldn’t get going. I have asked myself this question a lot since Kerr left.

    What would have happened if we never made this trade and kept D’Antoni or originally hired Gentry instead of Porter?

    I think the Suns would have stayed near the top of the West and could have used the draft to fill-in certain gaps.

    Either way, the whole Steve Kerr was responsible for the FUN in the SUNS thing is a joke. The friend he has at ESPN are either being super nice or just have proven my accusations true, ESPN doesn’t follow the Suns closely.

    Get new Sources J.A. and ESPN because the ones you are quoting now don’t make any sense! Amar’e will sign if he thinks we will make a run for a title and put pieces around he and Steve. He will sign if we respect him, and show him how he is a priority of the Suns future. More importantly, ESPN used to say, Amar’e wanted the money, and that’s actually a reason, a reason that I believe will still motivate Amar’e to sign with the Suns.

    If he does leave, hopefully it is in a sign and trade with Miami. At least ESPN posts updates from Valley of the Suns, otherwise, their post would have contained ZERO useful information.


  • The Z. Man

    Suns need to focus more on having the rest of the team stay.

    LB, when he starts, has the potential to more than make up for a lack of scoring for the team.

    Louis and Frye are VERY important to the strategy and energy of the Suns. They MUST be kept at all cost. What Sarver will save on STAT's exit plus his playoff windfall need to be applied to the chemistry of the team. Suns are VERY deep. "Basketball Jones" may surprise both coaches and fans. Frye, Louis, Barbosa, Dud, and Gogi can beat any five from any team. THEY need to be considered as keys. Don't let them walk away!!!!

    MUST start and also finish with LB. Let's go SUNS!!!!

  • Will

    How about trading Richardson and or Barbosa to Memphis for Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol? This is a possibility for the suns to acquire more younger players and getting Pau’s brother who can play the PF alongside Robing Lopez at Center. It gives us the opportunity to resign Frye and get a decent back up shooting guard this off-season. What do you guys think?

  • Mel.


    Adande would probably be the first to admit that he hadn’t seen the Suns actually play a game since the 2008 playoffs, prior to this year. He’s a fixture of the Los Angeles sports journalism scene; not much more needs to be said about the quality or scope of his reporting focus.

    He mentioned that Christina Aguilera “elbowed” him during a Finals game about sixteen-billion times in the Daily Dime, while the other ESPN guys were actually trying to cover play. ’nuff said.

  • Hersey


    I’m not saying being the Suns GM isn’t an attractive job but the reality is Sarver isn’t going to pay one of those big names. He just lost a guy he considered a friend and a guy who worked for the team for 18 years. Coming off a year like this, that stuff means a lot in NBA circles. He’s not going to spend the money. He’s one of the owners leading the lockout charge as well.

    Chapman and Pritchard are long-shots. Stan Kroenke (Nuggets) and Paul Allen (Blazers) are billionaires and let their basketball operations people build winners despite the luxury tax. I foresee an unknown hire getting this team as a providing ground.

    Continuity wins in the NBA. The Suns continue to lose key people every year and there has to be a point where you say, let’s keep the team together, give people who overachieved a raise and try to beat the Lakers/Spurs/Whoever. Sarver has consistently shown he’s unwilling to do that. I love the team but they’ve lost my faith that they make winning moves with that dude writing the checks. I think free agents (players/front office) see it the same way. If Sarver can upgrade this team by letting people walk at crucial times, then hey he’s smarter than I thought and I’ll rock an orange Bosh, Dirk or Wade jersey. But the writing is on the wall. He’s happy fielding a team that will entertain but won’t lose him money. A banker losing money doesn’t compute. To fans losing key players, draft picks and players make us sick but his priorities will always win. Just like the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs…

  • Andrew

    Same if not increased athleticism? yikes. dont get too excited. i’d be happy if he turned out to be half as athletic as amare…STAT is probably one of the top 5 most athletic players in the league. i love everything you write…but dont get ahead of yourself with earl. ill believe it when i see it.

  • Kyle Fleeger

    Not to mention Amar'e has the highest active true shooting percentage of ANY player in the NBA. He is an offensive juggernaut who doesn't whine about only getting 15-16 shots per game. When he is getting 23 FG attempts per game like other stars, watch his rebounds and his scoring make him an MVP candidate.

    Frye is SUPER over-rated. He can hit a three and is tall, he can't rebound or defend. So, we need a big man who can do that. I say we package our two second rounders to get the 23rd from Minnesota and draft Kevin Seraphin or Hassan Whiteside.

    Go Suns

  • David

    I gotta be honest, which is tough for any fan, but I just don't see us trading back into the first round. The history of this team RECENTLY really doesn't fit thier M.O. If they had a GM in place BEFORE the draft MAYBE and that's a big maybe because I could see the new GM wanting to make a statement from the get go.

    Honestly, Sarver is a good owner, he really is getting a bad rap as a penny pincher when it comes to team moves. But when you look how this team was structured before he got here it explains why the Suns never really had any wiggle room when it came to making trades, free agent moves, etc.

    Kerr, well, he last couple moves have really come back with some positives. The pick of Robin Lopez on draft day was a head scratcher but it looks like it's paying off as well as the Gorn Dragic pic. But then you got the really glaring moves. Honestly the Shaq move was RIDICULOUS. He didn't fit into the playing scheme of the suns and whenever he was played the suns became a different team. This led to HUGE inconsistancy. The trade of Marion was foolish because you took away your one true defender. True Marion doesn't seem to be the same player since leaving but his abilities fit perfectly for the Suns. That's why I slightly lean towards the critisim on Amare.

    I think on "Stat" what we may see is that he can never truely lead a team. Watching the Suns the last 2-3 years proves that. He can put up monster numbers scoring and rebounding, BUT that is only if he is motivated and Amare has shown that he just can't be consistant when called upon. It doesn't matter how many touches he gets but taking plays off from time to time does not make you a "Max" player.

    Unfortunatley I see this going one way for the Suns a boring draft day waiting till the 2nd round and over paying on a guy who is more Lamar Odom than Kobe Bryant.

  • Matt

    What is the point of this article? The draft section says if we could somehow get in the top 10 we could get a surprise pick…huh? Shouldn't an article about replacing Stoudemire discuss plausible solutions? Maybe we can get a top ten pick and sign lebron, bosh and Dirk too… why not? We have two second round picks, do some research so I don't feel like Ive wasted time when I am 3 paragraphs deep in your article.

  • Kenny

    Wow! you guys opened my eyes about J.A.! that dude is totally wack. Seems like you guys did your homework. I too am a die hard suns fan. I’m just hoping we can keep this squad intact. Seems like the only thing to do after making the WEST CONF. FINALS. Why not???? SPEND that money to make Amare happy and let’s go

  • Jax

    you all seem ridiculous in one way or another. The suns never should have let Kerr leave especially before free agency & the draft. what do they have other than Nash to lure players to Phx? not much. i say all of this as a big-time Suns fan since i was 4-and Amare was my favorite player for years, so what im saying does hurt a bit. Lebron will never come to phx. NEVER. i can honestly say that lebron or Dwade or even bosh will never come to phx. why would they when they can swim in a bigger pond like LA, or New York/New Jersey, or Chicago, or even Miami? The answer is they wont. if lebron wants to play in a small pond he will stay in cleavland. the suns should try to get Dirk, as he and Nash are great friends who played together for many seasons. Lopez, Dirk and Lou would be a very formidable frontcourt. as for amare-LET HIM GO GET HIM OUTTA TOWN…SIGN & TRADE HIS BEHIND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!! amare lacks heart. thats his major problem, it causes him to be lack luster on Defense & rebounding(someone with his athletic ability should get at least 10 a game) as well as taking plays off very often. had he box out Artest, as he should have, Artest wouldnt even gotten the rebound that led to his game-winner during game 5 in LA(which changed the complextion of that series entirely). Amar’e thinks he deserves a max deal and should/can be a franchise player? HAHAHA, thats just funny.

  • Logan

    @Jax– It was J-Rich who didn’t box out Artest, not Amar’e.

    I don’t think he deserves a max contract, but unless we can get David Lee, we need him back. Lou Amundson also needs to stay, we can’t win without him as a backup.