Suns have options if Amare Stoudemire leaves

If Amare Stoudemire does not return as expected, there are many ways the Suns could replace him.

For months now, Amare Stoudemire has put his chances of staying in Phoenix at “50-50.” We now know that he definitely won’t be picking up his player option for nearly $18 million dollars, will seek a maximum contract and has the Suns at the top of his list.

Apparently the relationship Stoudemire has created with Suns fans and the legacy he has built in purple and orange, nearly reaching the NBA Finals on a few different occasions and playing with one of the best point guards in NBA history the past six years, hasn’t been enough for Stoudemire to commit to a return to the team that drafted him in 2002. If all of that were enough, Stoudemire would have said long ago that he’d be back in Phoenix (he could have even added “pending my contract situation.”)

It seems sometimes that Stoudemire has dollar signs in his eyes (hence his interest in getting in on the so-called “free agent summit”) and will go where the money is. That will leave him a number of options during what promises to be an exciting offseason of superstar relocation.

As if the situation weren’t complicated enough, the recent announcement that Steve Kerr won’t be returning as the Suns’ general manager adds a whole new angle to the issue. Stoudemire had come to trust Kerr and had thus far done all his negotiating with him.

Stoudemire’s agent Happy Walters told The Arizona Republic the day of Kerr’s announcement that he and STAT saw Kerr’s departure as a change in direction for the organization. Having to negotiate a new contract (especially a max deal) with an executive who’d essentially be an outsider likely doesn’t appeal to Stoudemire or Walters.

Negativity about Stoudemire’s return to Phoenix has been up lately. A lot of Suns fans aren’t confident that STAT is the long-term answer. Even the restaurant steps from US Airways Center using Stoudemire’s surname has changed its name.

There’s no saying for sure whether he stays stays or goes, but if he does walk, the Suns have a number of options to fill the hole he leaves behind. We’ll start with the apparent preference of most Suns fans…

Dirk Nowitzki: 25.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg in 2009-10


A Nash-Nowitzki reunion has got a lot of Suns fans (and NBA analysts) excited and for good reason. The two superstars were a dominant duo in Dallas, and Nash is coming off one of his best statistical seasons.

However, this option remains a long shot. The primary reason Dirk is unlikely to end up in orange? Mark Cuban. Cuban already lost Nash to Phoenix and there’s little chance he’d be cool with letting Dirk head for the desert. Besides, Dirk is the franchise in Dallas. Without Dirk, the Mavericks have little but an aging point guard and some role players.

Cuban will throw a truck — no, two trucks — full of money at Nowitzki. Can the Suns match it? No. And even if they could, they probably wouldn’t. For Nowitzki to end up in Phoenix, it will take him wanting to be there. It will come down to him wanting a shot at a title (which seems out of reach in Dallas) and wanting to play with Nash again.

Nowitzki would more than replace Stoudemire. He would provide more scoring, at least equal rebounding, little change defensively, and a three-point threat (as if the Suns don’t have enough). There is little doubt that Dirk would be one of the best replacements for Stoudemire, especially on a team with such a strong existing core.

The verdict: Slight chance, but don’t hold your breath — you might not survive.

Chris Bosh: 24.0 ppg, 10.8 rpg


So we’ll knock out the long shots first. Bosh is probably the prime example of dollar signs in the eyes, and he is probably already packed to get out of Toronto. He’s made it clear he doesn’t want to be a Raptor anymore (would you?), so competing with his current team isn’t an issue.

The big question is money. Bosh is going to want a maximum contract. The Suns most likely can’t and wouldn’t offer Bosh that kind of deal. In fact, Bosh may not get maximum offers from a lot of teams, but someone will pay him max money. If the Suns wanted to make it work, the Suns’ new GM would have to take to the trusty trade machine.

Bosh would bring an interesting element to the Suns in his intensity and physicality. Alongside Robin Lopez, Bosh could give the Suns one of the best front courts in the league. There’s no doubt he would bring the offensive presence Stoudemire did, but he’d also provide a defensive upgrade, better rebounding and a solid long-term option to build around.

The verdict: Very unlikely. Phoenix may not have even crossed Bosh’s mind.

David Lee: 20.2 ppg, 11.7 rpg


Once again, the Suns would be faced with a money issue here, but Lee is much more plausible than Bosh or Dirk.

A lot of people have been saying that Lee has benefited greatly from former Suns coach Mike D’Antoni’s system in New York. That may be true. If it is, wouldn’t he then also fit in the Suns’ system, a descendant of D’Antoni ball?

Lee would be making the move to power forward, but with his build and playing style, it should be an easy transition. A player like Lee would benefit from playing with Nash much in the same way that Stoudemire has. It’s hard to imagine his scoring dropping at all and not hard to imagine it increasing.

Lee also provides the rebounding presence that Stoudemire doesn’t. Combine the rebounding and scoring efforts of Lopez and Lee, and you’ve got a very good post tandem.

Would Lee be the explosive offensive player that Stoudemire is? Maybe not. But he may be the most affordable top-tier option on the market.

The verdict: A smart move, but a challenge financially.

Carlos Boozer: 19.5 ppg, 11.2 rpg


Suns fans may scoff at this option, but there may be a few positives to considering Boozer.

Boozer would be a mild defensive upgrade and one of the best rebounders to don orange in quite some time. On a bad night, Boozer still pulls 11 or 12 boards. That’s a lot better than Amare’s bad nights of two or three rebounds.

Boozer isn’t the fast, explosive player that Stoudemire is, but he is a strong, physical force that would bolster the paint for the Suns. Lopez and Boozer are both very physical players with rebounding instincts that could give the Suns a lot of second chances. With the Suns’ shooting ability, that could be a huge upgrade.

Boozer is, however, injury prone and the Suns aren’t likely to invest a lot of money in an option that could spend significant time in street clothes on the bench. That said, money would be less of an issue with Boozer. Not a non-issue, but if Stoudemire left, the Suns would likely have the money needed to pay Boozer. The biggest question, though, would be whether or not Boozer would fit in the Suns’ system.

The verdict: Possible, but not a primary option.

Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire Carlos Boozer Chris Bosh David Lee Dirk Nowitzki

  • JED

    Yet another article by someone that knows little or nothing and is willing to show his ignorance in the blog world. Simply repeating speculation and unidentified "inside sources" and passing this off as fact does not constitute analysis. Have you taken a journalism course or a law course on what is fact or evidence?

    As to the restaurant changing its name, do some homework on its ownership of the bankrupt entity and Stoudemire's relationship with ownership – he was being paid for the use of his name. The name change has nothing to do with his plans to stay or go.

    "I really hope we either get Bosh or Dirk. I don’t want a PF making max $ who pulls 4 rebounds in a WCF game against Lamar Odom." morgamic

    This is a really ignorant comment. Bosh's team cannot make the playoffs in the weak Eastern Conference. The 7' Dirk is a "wonderful" rebounder 7.7 for the season 8.2 for playoffs against SA vs. 6' 10" Stoudemire at 8.9 and 9.3 against the same competition.

    As for David Lee, I would caution you with the words of the late and great Cotton Fitzsimmons, be careful about players that put up good numbers on bad teams. Lee is a nice player, but has proven nothing except he can put up good numbers on team that a 35% winning percentage in the five years he has been playing for it.

  • Jarrod

    Sign and trade send Stoudemire to the Heat for Beasley and Chalmers (about 6 million one year guaranteed with a team option for more) and a combination of picks this year including their first and maybe swapping seconds. This would leave the Suns with a go to scorer who rebounds a little worse at PF and a inexpensive replacement for Barbosa if he is traded and allows for rebuilding through the draft with little financial commitment.

  • Bob

    Boozer isn't any better than Amare defensively. He's better at rebounding but worse offensively and defensively.

  • Michael Schwartz

    @JED In defense of Lockman, this article is just laying out all the power forwards on the market. We all know Bosh isn't coming to Phoenix, that Dirk is a complete long shot and Lee may be the only real possibility on this list. Lockman even says as much in the piece. This story is just about saying who's out there and then discussing the possibility of them coming to Phoenix. Lockman will be posting a story tomorrow on some of the second tier (more realistic?) options to replace Amare if he leaves. Finally, he wasn't saying that the restaurant changing its name means STAT is gone. He didn't say there's any causation there.

  • Mel.

    I really, REALLY hope that Kerr’s replacement doesn’t make a panic-button attempt at “stabilizing” things with the franchise, and winds up flinging fistfuls of cash at Amar’e.

    A smart deal for STAT outstrips the need for “any deal,” at this point.

  • PJ

    we wont get any of those free agents. Sarver won’t be writing any fat checks. Not renegotiating Gentry’s contract will also drive him away to a team that appreciates his talents next year.

    LA had a nice “celebration” after they won, i say we bring a good old fashioned riot to Sarvers office. I’ll bring the whiskey you all bring the contempt for this clown.

  • justin

    if we dont resign amare, i would definitley want dirk. but since that isnt very likely… i really think we should try to get david lee. he would thrive in our system and with nash. he also is a great rebounder and doesnt have an ego so he would be a team player. David Lee is our best option.

  • morgamic

    I really hope we either get Bosh or Dirk. I don’t want a PF making max $ who pulls 4 rebounds in a WCF game against Lamar Odom.

    No more. Amare can go make his max contract and lose 50 games with the clippers or raptors. See ya.

  • LakeShowForLife

    One final, sweet post is in order. I'm going to enjoy this.

    I just want to say that I'm going to love the Lakers' parade through the magnificent boulevards of Hollywood and the vivacious streets of LA. Savor every moment of it. Look at the float and look at the winners that comprise our team, the 16th trophy in our illustrious history. You'll never, ever know what it's like to be a part of something like this. I do. And you deserve your awfulness.

    Everything just finds a way to work out for us, doesn't it? From ripping your hearts out to kicking you when you're down, to taking care of an even bigger rival in a classic 7th game, to seeing the greatest player in the world inch closer to G.O.A.T. status – I root for the greatest team in the world.

    And your fanbase is reduced to worshipping DAVID FRIGGIN' LEE as your primary free-agent replacement for Amare, who wants to leave your desperate city and team and join a winner.

    Man, I hope you guys could be there; for once in your pathetic lives you'd get a taste of success. Goodbye.

  • @TheWrist45

    David Lee is the only realistic option and he’s almost perfect as a replacement. He’s a lot cheaper than any of the other guys we’re talking about (in theory anyway, someone with extra cap space losing out on the top tier guys may overpay him) and in the Suns’ offense would not be a HUGE step down from Amare, but WOULD be a huge upgrade on the boards, and at least a lateral move on defense. A huge part of the reason the Suns lost to LA was their inability to hang on the boards. Lee and Lopez would undoubtedly be able to hang with anybody.

  • sun also rises

    lolololol. Only reason I hope we make the playoffs this year is so this kid comes back. Reading his jibberish is like watching a classic episode of Seinfeld, it's the fact that it's so much being made out of so little that makes it hilarious

    lakeshowforlife = joke account

  • John

    Sometimes I get so frustrated w/ Suns fans..Dirk, Boozer, and Lee are no better defensively than Amare is and Bosh is a slight improvement at best on D. Only Dirk is in his league offensively, and Bosh has NEVER won a playoff series in the EAST! Boozer struggled so badly against those same Lakers he was booed by his home fans (anyone remember him missing the last game of the season against the Suns, only for homecourt, w/ 'sore ribs,' mighta had the 'Amare Flu' after Stat put up 44 & 12 on him the previous game.) While Amare's rebounding isn't as good as Boozer or Lee, they aren't even close to him on O. There's a reason Gentry, Kerr, and all of his teammates desperately want him back (JRich even said he was starting a website to bring Amare back) but all you fans know better than the guys in the locker room, I guess..Finally, in Amare's defense, anyone who knows anything about basketball realizes the biggest weakness of a zone is on the glass, and Amare spent 3/4 of the game closing out on 3 point shooters from his wing spot in our zone. Watch the tape! When we miss the playoffs next season without him (just like 2 seasons ago,) don't cry about how we never shoulda let him go either. Five time all-star big men (and 4 time all NBA) don't grow on trees..

  • ross

    hey lakeshowforlife u suck u r a bandwaggon piece of shit go suns u suck

  • Ray

    "I just want to say that I’m going to love the Lakers’ parade through the magnificent boulevards of Hollywood and the vivacious streets of LA."

    The same ones that your fellow fans were setting fire to the other night? Good luck with that, dips**t. Pray you don't get crushed under foot during your "victory parade."

  • marty from ut

    Considering that the parade isn't taking place anywhere near the "magnificent boulevards of Hollywood," I would definitely question whether or not you actually even live in Los Angeles, Lakeshow. You sound like some kid in Idaho who sees the fly by during Lakers games and thinks he's a native.

  • Derek

    amare needs to stat, there is no other big man out there that can dominate the way he does not even dwight who really has no offensive game besides dunking the ball.

  • Mel.

    Nononono, mon frere. You root for the greatest team in the world as an accessorized, safe little demonstration of your own pathetic lack of self-esteem. You’re the lowest-ranking bilge on the fan spectrum; the garbage-spewing canker who latches onto a good thing, and entertains the delusional notion that your allegiance–whatever it might be, just as long as it’s low-rent and low-risk–somehow compliments your own “winning character.”

    Then you lick the Fatburger grease off your fingers, crack your piggly little knuckles and hop onto boards like these; all intangibles taken care of. Secure in success that you didn’t have anything to do with. Likely typing your silly little sermons with one hand, and doing GOD knows what with the other.

    Guys like you NEED to indulge in these pathological routines, which is the saddest thing of all. You “wish (we) could be there?” Pal, I’d rather languish in an eternity of 41-41 seasons than come close enough to catch the whiff of sad, self-aggrandizing failure that wafts from your ilk.

    That said, I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for you at the parade. I’m guessing you’ll be the gelatinous tub of crap squeezed into a 6XL Kobe jersey, sweating like a lard-filled tube sock and sporting your coolest AS baseball cap in a vain effort to slap some shade on your balding scalp. Cargo shorts and flip-flops optional.

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  • KyonoRocks

    Got a quick question here…

    What’s wrong with Phoenix?

    Is it really that crappy a city? That unglamorous? I don’t understand why everyone dismisses someone like Bosh because I don’t know anything about Arizona!

    I don’t get why someone wouldn’t want to join the Suns. Nash is Nash.. great on and off the court. Grant Hill is a great guy. Who wouldn’t want Dudley around the locker room? Why would someone not want to play for this team? The chemistry and achievement the Suns have displayed have to be a lure right? And as mentioned, Bosh would be a superstar in Phoenix.

    Is Phoenix THAT uncool?

  • is it?

    put frye to start line up, clark backup.

    let amare go. save the money.

    clark would be a surprise……

  • BsktBlLvr4lfe

    Drik for Amare? "Make it So"! Besides Cuban can't stop Dirk. Isn't he unrestricted? And I feel both players could use a change of scenery. It could go well for both teams to explore the scenario.

  • Dave

    Dang Mel, you should have just insulted his ancestors and his descendants. Lakeshows comments show that there are sore losers as there are sore winners, even though Lakeshow is just a mere spectator. I don't think there is nothing wrong with the suns team playing in the court. However, there is a big problem in the Suns franchise off the court and it is the suns cheap owner, Sarver. The Suns and Warriors are two of the most enjoyable teams to watch in the NBA with their fast style of play and high scoring. Main reason players might not want to play in Phoenix is probably due to Sarver screwing up and paying excessive contracts to some unproductive players early as owner. He is now tightening his wallet and will be the main factor that the Suns will not be a big player in this years free agency, unfortunately. Also, it is time that the Suns part ways with STAT. I can't deny that Stoudemire played outstanding during the second half of the season after all trade talk ended. However, it is a definite fact that STAT played great to increase his chances to become a Max Payed Player. The team got far in the playoffs with Stoudemire as the primary scorer, but he also showed that he still needed to improve in rebounding and defense. Stat is already 29 and will has had several surgeries and injuries which makes him a risk factor to a team that wants him to be the go to scorer. It is time for the Suns to get a more healthy young PF player (Lee) or a player that is a better shooter (Nowitzki), if possible.

  • ross

    hey lakeshowforlife i did not know the called it a parade over there i thought it was more of lets think a RIOT

  • Zane

    I live in LA but the Lakers and their gay a** fans can suck my balls. Hollywood sucks and Lakeshowforlife is a f*cking joke. F*CK THE FAKERS! The suns should keep amare or get bosh or lee. SUNS 4 LIFE!

  • Mel.


    I’ve been periodically bludgeoning this kid since he first started stinking up the VoS back in May. I should probably know better, but I just can’t help myself… I don’t even qualify him as being a Lakers fan at this point, just a bop-’em bag.

    That said, I agree with your STAT sentiments. The only way he stays in PHX is if nobody else will cough up his absurd max-money demand (And seriously, any team that does pretty much deserves whatever financial tragedy results), and he winds up getting a hotplate offer from the Suns’ new GM (Probably three years at a slight raise from the 17.7 million he was scoffing at about two weeks ago).

    The latter scenario works nicely for both parties, as STAT can dust off the “Phoenix is where my heart is” line, and Sarver’s new executive can play the “we’re serious about keeping the band together” card.

  • LakeShowForLife

    I am such a tremendously idiotic douchebag. There is nothing I love more than sitting at the computer, like a pompous asshole, enjoying every second of my bandwagon fandome. I gotta tell you, the one thing I would love more than anything in the world would be to get one of Kobe’s championship rings and shove it in my ass, and savor the end of Kobe’s reign. You know, before they start sucking again and Kobe demands another trade.

  • G from phx

    Amare Stoudemire, PF PHO 82 34.6 230 2.8 502 6.1 732 8.9 12.4

  • spree

    amare is the best pf in the league. people 4get if he didn’t play the way he played in the second half of the season that the suns don’t make the playoffs.don’t 4get whos the m.v.p for the second half of the season. The suns went from a team predicted not 2 make the playoffs to make it to the western conference finals because of amare. This was a great season for the suns, nobody really expected them to beat L.A just look at the rosters for the two teams get serious. He deserved 2 get paid max money especially the way he performed. U can name any pf in the n.b.a and i can tell u y amare is better than them.

  • Bryan

    You have to be really dumb or a David Lee hater if you think Lee's numbers will go down playing on Phoenix. The bad team rap isn't David Lee's fault. Donnie Walsh purposely created a team that could not win so he could get under the cap. If you are going to use the bad team argument, you have to use the same for Chris Bosh. He never won on Toronto.

  • Bryan

    Whoever is going to get David Lee is going to get a steal. Lee will be much cheaper than Amare or Bosh at $17.7 I like Dirk but he is making $21 million this year and is 5 years older than Lee.

  • G from phx

    U can name any pf in the n.b.a and i can tell u y amare is better than them.

    Dirk Nowitzki, PF DAL 6 38.8 26.7 9.7-17.7 .547 0.7-1.2 .571 6.7-7.0 .952

    Pau Gasol, PF LAL 23 39.7 19.6 7.2-13.3 .539 0.0-0.1 .000 5.2-6.9 .759

    Chris Bosh, PF TOR 70 36.1 24.0 8.6-16.5 .518 0.1-0.3 .364 6.7-8.4 .797

    David West, PF NOR 81 36.4 19.0 7.6-15.1 .505 0.1-0.3 .259 3.7-4.2 .865

    LaMarcus Aldridge, PF POR 78 37.5 17.9 7.4-15.0 .495 0.1-0.2 .313 2.9-3.9 .757

  • G from phx

    Amare Stoudemire, PF PHO 82 34.6 23.1 8.6-15.4 .557 0.0-0.1 .167 5.9-7.7 .771

  • lakersarefakers

    Kobe should be doing time on a sex offender yard in the Colorado State Pen.He couldnt carry MJs jock.

  • phoenixsunsfan

    this is directed to G from phx you are talking alot about how you cannot compare amare to other pf in nba stat wise -well take out the nash factor and you have a 6'10 forward who cant go 1 on 1 and make his own shots.let it go amare will not bring championship ring to phx with max contract

  • Larry

    Amare led the league in points in the paint. The key here is that the nash / Stoudemire Pick and roll rquires other teams to use a third defender to stop it leaving one of the other shooters open. Players like J-Rich and Frye live off the two players needing 3 to stop them

    Nash makes incrdible passes to Amare and Amare who has great hands make some of nash’s errant passes look good.

    If people in PHX want a title they need a big man that can compliment Amare’s weaknesses ndo some of the dirty work without Shaq’s human road block qualities. Lopez may be te guy but may not be.

    If Amare leaves it really doesn’t matter. They have won 69% of the games Amare has played in since Sarver bought the team

  • JCG

    Bottom line, if the Suns want to win a Championship or at least make it to the Finals they need to stop being greedy. I mean does Nash really want to win a title? Does Amare really want to win a title? Does J Richardson want to win a title. J- Richardson starting a web site to keep "Amare"? give me a break!!! No they don't want to win a championship if they really did they would restructure their contract like Dan Majerle and several Suns players did in their era. Give up some money Nash and Richardson and take less Amare and trade Barbosa then maybe we would be talking about adding a piece like Wade, Bosh or Dirk to our current roster or even Lebron. Suns players put your money were your mouth is… Don't put all the pressure in Sarver. Maybe we could of kept Kerr had he had more money to spend. this is suppose to be a team. Money the root of all evil. Restructure contracts for a shot at a Title now.. Yeah you might not like this comment "but the truth hearts"

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  • G from phx

    to suns fan- Read my message again i was responding to the guy who said stat was the best pf in the NBA i dont think so

  • spree

    @ G. Everybody hating on amare but the fact is dirk is a worse defender than amare and worse rebounder averaging 7 rebs as a 7 foot pf.He can’t lead his team out the first round with a better roster than the suns. He’s plain soft. Bosh never led his team any where never been out the first round and didn’t make the playoffs this year in the weaker eastern conference. If u want winning i don’t know how bosh proved u can win with him, and I watched amare kill him all the time. If anybody has 2 go it would be nash and grant hill they r too old point blank period. Yall would really b madd if yall star player performed like them 2. Don’t 4get amare had a slow start cause of the eye injury that could have happened 2 anyone. He was out of shape cause he was laying face down 23 hrs a day because of the eye surgery. He couldn’t practice because he wasn’t allowed 2 sweat and was 20 l pounds over weight. With that being said he’s still the starting big man in the all-star game in tougher western conference which he deserved. Amare still made second team all nba bosh never made a team in his life that means he never performed 2 me.