With about eight hours remaining before the wildest free agency period in NBA history begins, the Suns continue their efforts to retain All-Star forward Amare Stoudemire.
In an Arizona Republic report on Tuesday’s meeting between Stoudemire, his agent Happy Walters, Suns managing partner Robert Sarver and head coach Alvin Gentry, it was said that the talks lasted three hours and progress was made. The presentation in Los Angeles was believed to be the Suns’ last chance to retain Stoudemire, but after the talks went well the group decided to reconvene Wednesday before the Suns’ exclusive negotiating time runs out.
According to the report, Sarver has stood by his plan to give Stoudemire a four-year deal at maximum salary. However, NBA sources are cited in the report as believing that Sarver might budge and give Stoudemire a five-year deal worth around $107 million. It seems, though, that Stoudemire won’t be getting the six-year deal he wants — at least not from the Suns.
“If it all worked out, he might take less to stay in Phoenix than he would elsewhere,” Walters told ESPN after stating that Stoudemire is seeking a maximum salary at the maximum length.
A five-year deal in Phoenix would give Stoudemire around $7 million more than he could earn on the open market due to restrictions on raises when signing with a new team. However, Stoudemire could earn more money if the Suns could swing a sign-and-trade. A sign-and-trade might become a desirable option to both parties if it is clear that Stoudemire is set on leaving Phoenix. Stoudemire could make more money, and the Suns could get something in return.
Officially not a Sun … for now
At least for the time being, Stoudemire is officially no longer a member of the Phoenix Suns.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, Stoudemire officially opted out of of the final year of his current contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. Wojnarowski cited Stoudemire’s agent Happy Walters as the source of the information.
“Robert and Alvin have been great and we’re still talking,” Walters told The Republic. “We opted out to see what’s out there. Robert and I are trying to find something that makes everyone happy. Amar’e appreciated the meeting and asked a lot of questions about the future and Robert and Alvin had a lot of good answers.”