The Amare Stoudemire era in Phoenix appears to be officially over after eight years.
The Suns agreed to terms Friday morning with free-agent forward Hakim Warrick on a four-year contract worth up to $18 million. Reports of the agreement, coming first from Yahoo! Sports, surfaced around the time new broke that Stoudemire had turned down the Suns’ last offer of five years and $96 million with minutes-played clauses.
Warrick, who played for the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls last season, is the likely replacement for Stoudemire, though newly re-signed Channing Frye may share the time at power forward, too.
Warrick’s numbers weren’t anything near Stoudemire’s last season — or ever — but they certainly could improve in the Suns’ system and with Steve Nash.
Warrick averaged 9.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game after going for 10.2 points a game for the Bucks and 8.7 points a game for the Bulls. His best statistical season came in 2006-07 for the Memphis Grizzlies when the 6′-foot-9 big averaged 12.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Getting touches from the savvy-passing Nash could boost his contribution in terms of scoring, but the Suns don’t get a rebounding upgrade. Warrick logged just three double-digit rebounding games last season.
The Syracuse product with five years of NBA experience is no doubt a downgrade from the All-Star forward the Suns had in Stoudemire. Warrick has spent most of his career in a reserve role. However, Warrick’s length make him a moderate defensive upgrade over Stoudemire, although he’s not great in that area either.
With Stoudemire on the way out, the Suns had to act quickly and within their means. They didn’t have the money for the likes of Dirk Nowitzki or David Lee, so they made the smartest move they could. And it doesn’t look like they overpaid for him considering what other big men have received on the market already. It’s not a flashy move, but it’s a smart move and it’s better than nothing at all.
Warrick’s arrival pretty much guarantees that Stoudemire is done in Phoenix. It’s becoming clearer now that STAT had his sights set on a max contract with another team given that he’s still walking despite the Suns essentially meeting his demands.
The snag in negotiations seems to be the minutes-played stipulations. The Suns were worried about Stoudemire’s knees and eyes and wanted to protect themselves. Stoudemire apparently wasn’t willing to sign without a guaranteed five years.
Stoudemire’s negotiations with the Suns and expression of his desire to remain in Phoenix may have been an effort to drive up his price with other teams. Stoudemire may have had no intentions to stay in Phoenix, and his turning down of a five-year deal may signify such.
Let the Hakim Warrick era begin?