Amare Stoudemire deal went awry, but nobody to blame

Will Amare Stoudemire ever wear a Phoenix Suns uniform again? That is the biggest question of the offseason. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Amare Stoudemire has played his last game with the Phoenix Suns, but nobody is to blame for that being the case. (AP Photo/Matt York)

It feels kind of weird to think that Amare Stoudemire will not be returning to the Phoenix Suns.

Since the first months of this site’s history and seemingly continuing throughout my run at the helm of this Phoenix Suns blog, Amare Stoudemire rumors have been front and center of every discussion. Hell, I even bought the domain (speaking of which, if any Knicks or Heat bloggers are interested in the near future…….).

Amare has been a subject of intense debate during the past two trade deadlines and last offseason.

Going back further, when KG wanted out of Minnesota there was talk of taking a chance on The Big Ticket and sending STAT back as compensation, a deal I thought at the time would kill the Suns’ future because of how bright Stoudemire’s was. Funny how last trade deadline the Suns then couldn’t even unload him for slops.

I will save my “Stoudemire as a Sun” eulogy for the day he officially signs, but for now let’s take a look at how the Suns handled these negotiations.

According to The Arizona Republic, Stoudemire twice turned down a five-year, $96.6 million over before the Suns moved on to Hakim Warrick. The final offer involved three guaranteed years with the fourth and fifth years partially guaranteed that could become fully guaranteed if Sun Tzu met certain minutes requirements (AKA didn’t miss a huge chunk of a season with an injury).

“It wasn’t the right deal,” agent Happy Walters told The Republic. “There were too many caveats for us to be comfortable with it.”

In the end, it’s regrettable that Hakim Warrick will be starting at power forward instead of Amare, but you really can’t blame either side.

Sarver, for all his cheapness, made a fair offer. The Suns clearly had reservations about Amare’s knees/eye and his fitness to be a max-level player four or five years down the road. Their offer made sense from the standpoint of it being a max deal for three with some ways for the team to get out of it if Amare isn’t worth nearly that much at the end of the deal.

This isn’t a five-year, $30 million deal that won’t hurt the Suns thaaaat much even if Frye isn’t quite worth that throughout the length of his contract. By giving Amare that big of a deal the Suns would be hitching their wagon to Stoudemire with only moderate flexibility to add other major pieces. If the Suns didn’t feel like he was that guy who could be the best player on a championship team and if they had that many reservations about his health at the end of the deal, they made a smart offer that would insure them to some extent against the blown future scenario.

At the same time, Amare’s camp has made it clear that he wasn’t going to take anything less than five years at the max (unless, of course, nobody offers that). The Suns went as far as common sense would dictate them going, and now they’ll let somebody else overpay for Stoudemire.

With the kind of money teams have to spend and the amount of squads desperate to make a big splash, Amare knew he was going to get his money somewhere, so you really can’t blame him for declining the Suns’ overtures.

As I wrote at the beginning of this post, Stoudemire spent the last two years getting jerked around by the organization, dangled like a piece of meat at every turn only to see the Suns fail to pull the trigger.

For a guy who’s as much of an ego player as Stoudemire, a guy who wants to be known as a franchise player, you know this had to have hurt. Amare needs to feel loved, and pondering trading him for J.J. Hickson is not exactly showing him the love.

To Amare’s credit, he was a true professional throughout this past season. He never once pouted and even intensified his effort around the trade deadline, leading to his monster second half. If Amare held any animosity toward the Suns’ organization, he certainly didn’t show it on the floor, and that’s all you can ask out of a potentially disgruntled player.

He’s earned the right to test the market and get the best possible deal, and he can get a better deal than what the Suns offered. There shouldn’t be any hard feelings toward Amare coming from the 602.

The only regrettable circumstance is that the Suns didn’t wait. Their only real chance at this juncture was if Amare didn’t get the kind of offer he expected (which was always doubtful with so many teams hording cap space), but with the Knicks reportedly offering about five years and $100 million perhaps the Suns knew their best offer had already been beaten.

Still, I’m sure Hakim Warrick could have waited the weekend if need be.

At this point the Suns could only hope to receive some assets or at least a trade exception back in a sign and trade. As TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott wrote:

By any rational analysis, that’s 100% the best thing for [a] team’s long-term basketball future. Even if it’s just for the NBA’s ultimate consolation prize — a second-round draft pick that is protected from slots 31-55 — that trade benefits your team immensely, because at the very least it gives you a valuable trade exception.

Paul Coro tweeted that the Suns will wait until July 8 to officially renounce Stoudemire’s rights (which they will need to do to make their signings on that date), but that the Suns think “there’s no way to do a beneficial sign-and-trade.” Even if the Suns don’t get anything of value back player-wise, I would think the possibility of landing a trade exception would make this maneuver worth it. After all, such a trade exception (from Rashard Lewis) is how the then-Sonics were able to fleece the Suns in the Kurt Thomas trade.

Sure, it’s regrettable that the Suns just swapped Amare Stoudemire for Hakim Warrick, as solid of a signing as I think that is. But looking big picture, you’ve got to applaud the Suns for being fiscally responsible during a week in which few teams are showing any such restraint.

Whereas other organizations are agreeing to deals they might regret by the time they can officially sign them, you can’t blame the Suns for offering Amare less than the max.

Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire

  • Auggie

    I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid. Sorry.

  • Josh

    This article is full of contradictions…. How can you say no one is to blame when you say the Suns basically knew that Amare would get a max offer from someone else because so many teams have the cap space and Amare made it clear he wanted a max deal??

    To me that means the Suns are to blame… they were not willing to pony up the money to keep a team that was within 2 games of the nba finals… A team that has young guys really emerging and could be even better next year… Someone is clearly to blame and his name is Robert Sarver…

  • JP

    This is all crap the Suns are doing what they do best…Tear apart good teams ! Sarver should have given Amare whatever it took to keep him a Sun for the rest of his career . Once again the suns are on the cusp of getting to the NBA Finals and the organization makes a boneheaded move ! Why do you think kerr left ? he didn’t want to be the one to have to tell the great fans of this city and introduce Hakim Warrick.Great owners do what it takes ! I guarantee jerry buss would have not let Amare go.Sarver’s a cheap tight ass ! Just when this city has been electrified by the purple and orange and boarded the train the guys in suits screw it up….Good Luck Amare and Thank You for the Hard work and great memories you have given !!!!!


    @ jp you sound dumb bruh because first of all robert sarver offered amare stoudemir 4 years for 80 million then he offered him 5 years for 95 million so how can you call robert sarver a cheap ass when he offered him the money he wanted he just didnt want to play for us know more just face it all suns fans he did not want to play for the suns he does not want to play for a contender or a ring he just want money did you see how close we were to a ring you think anybody else would have abandoned it no they would have came back and tried again

  • Chris

    Sorry, this isn't cutting it for me. To go from possibly getting KG for Stat to getting JJ Hickson for Stat to getting NOTHING for Stat is really bad business. The Suns will be a mediocre team next year and Stat will struggle in NY without a good point guard. This is a lose (Stat), lose (Nash), lose (Suns fans and future) situation… I've been a Suns fan all my life and this is the most disappointed I've ever been with this organization. On the bright-side, I'm sure the 4-for-1 season ticket packages will be available very soon.

  • TRX

    @ COREY: … Because Steve Kerr was the GM back when the Suns had Joe Johnson right… ?


    @trx yes he was he screwed this team up not robert sarver he was the one tryna trade amare every year he traded away joe jonhson he gave up all our draft picks that was good we were suppose to have the 9 pick in this year draft but got traded away because of him

  • ILoveTaint

    Amare does not want to win. No top tier free agent will most likely be joining him for at least upcoming season. Amare does not like D'Antoni and was 2 wins away from a finals appearance. A player that cared about a title as most important priority would have signed a 3-4 year deal and tried a couple more times and if not then be traded in the back end of the contract to a more serious contender at that time. Amare new about the CBA and his medical injury history and all he cared about was cashing in on a max deal for greed and partially ego. He was concerned he could very likely start breaking down in 3 or 4 years and he would not have the 4th and 5th year completely guaranteed. Knicks are getting heat for striking out with FA's so Amare new he could get max deal and years without stipulations. Knicks talked about pairing him with JJ. Yeah Amare you paired with Joe Johnson will really get you that elusive title you have been seeking in Phoenix for 8 years. Good thing he has his priorities straight!

  • John

    Thank you, finally some actual intelligent comments! I’m sick of everyone bashing Amare for taking a contract that had $30 MILLION DOLLARS more in guarranteed $!! Every single one of these ‘Suns Fans’ would’ve done the same thing! Does anyone realize that if Amare even sprained his ankle and missed a month in years 3 or 4 he would have forfeited 50% and 75% of his salary the following year!? After we have seen this guy work his way back from career threatening injuries, I feel that is shortchanging him a tad..We want him to show loyalty to a franchise (and an owner) who have put him through the ringer the last three years, shopping him relentlessly, then offering him a 2yr $24mil extension in February? Look, its the Suns perogative to offer what they see fit, but NOBODY would’ve left that much $ on the table..Thank you Amare, for 8 mostly great years, and for making the money I spent on season tickets during that time actually money well spent. Suns fans will now get to see just how much they will miss you, I know I will. By the way, as a 30yr season ticket holder, I know we just lost the 2nd best big man (behind Chuck)in the history of the franchise.

  • Pingback: Amare Stoudemire deal went awry, but nobody to blame | News URL

  • Artur Mascarenhas

    Of course it is a downgrade, nobody is even discussing it. But the Suns are in rebuilding mode… Warrick, Frye, Clark, RoLo, Barbosa, J-Rich, Dragic, Dudley… not much star power here right now. But if we can land a superstar in the next couple of years (think CP3), we will be right back on track.

    I’ve never been a big Amare fan and I wish all the best for him. Nevertheless, all his injuries were very serious and the guy is a time bomb. For the long term, I think his departure is for the best. He just wasnt the guy that would won a ring for us.


    @ILoveTaint i been sayin the same thing at least somebody is on the same page as me

  • TRX

    @ COREY: No. Colangelo traded Joe Johnson away – and got a damn good return, I might add. Not Kerr. So it doesn't help your non-existent point either way.

    Kurt Thomas/two 1st rounders for a second rounder was Sarver's doing. He wanted to cut Thomas' $8m expiring contract to avoid the luxury tax.

    The only legitimate point you've made is he tried to trade Amare for two straight years, but I would venture he only took offers for him and didn't seriously pursue trying to move him until this past season leading up to the trading deadline. So I guess half a legitimate point.

  • TRX

    And honestly, learn to read. You're blaming the Phoenix GM for not trying to win and trading away the stars. ILoveTaint is clearly pointing out Amare is the one at fault here.

    … Unless I'm the one unable to read. But somehow, I doubt this. Use a damn period once in a while.


    @trx for one i know i how to read thats what i been tellin everybody it is amare fault how can you even say how can you blame steve kerr wantin to win gm who want to win dont trade the star on the team bruh you sound stupid so you might want to get your facts straight and when colangelo left steve kerr still traded the picks bruh so dont talk or try to go on somebdoy if you dont know what the fuck you are talkin about bruh


    you are non existent in this conversation lmao… @ you man

  • Dino

    Amare was a health risk anyways guys. His micro fracture surgery is due in a year or two again so he will be sitting the bench while he recovers. Im glad the Knicks will pay him to sit next to T-Mac and we can go in a DEFENSIVE direction with other players hopefully. Way to go NY. Suns can still potentially go after someone who WILL play defense and rebound and also develop our core of young guys. I say we make a push for Melo and or CP3 as soon as possible and start a dynasty. Eff Sarver and Go Suns!

  • Dino

    P.S. Stop trading all star draft picks Suns management(ie. Rondo)

  • ILoveTaint

    I can see a lazy unhungry Amare in NY after this contract. His actions show he cared about money over a title. You think LeBron or Wade would leave their respective teams for any other reason other than a quest for a title as their top priority? They are max guys like Amare and JJ are not max.

  • Michael Schwartz

    @Josh On the nobody to blame thing, I suppose if you turned the argument around you could also say both sides are ultimately to blame: If the Suns wanted to get a deal done at all costs they could have offered the full max for six years and if Amare really cared about winning and wanted to come back to what is a good situation in Phoenix the Suns made a fair enough offer (especially short term).

    But my point is the Suns should not be blamed for declining to give Amare a ridiculous contract that clearly is a big risk in the last few years of the deal (and it's questionable to say he's worth max money even in the first three years) and obviously Amare is right for turning it down when there are better offers on the table.

  • TRX

    @ John: “Does anyone realize that if Amare even sprained his ankle and missed a month in years 3 or 4 he would have forfeited 50% and 75% of his salary the following year!?”

    … Yeah, you’re going to have to back that one up. Until somebody can show these health stipulations were extremely strict, I’m going to assume we’re talking a “60gp/2000mp+ in each of the first three seasons” kind of deal.

  • suns68

    Spare me all this nonsense about Amare in four or five years. I don't give a crap about that and neither should anybody else.

    I lost my patience with saving salary for the star player down the road during the Pippen disaster a few years back.

    Bottom line is that with Amare, we were a title contender next season, and maybe the season after that.

    The only thing he didn't do for us last season was that he couldn't play one-on-three against Gausol, Bynum and Odom. Who can?

    So we're replacing an all-star with a guy who couldn't land a starting role with three mediocre eastern conference teams, a guy who's so lazy and unprepared that he couldn't crack Alvin Gentry's "everybody plays" lineup, and rookies who were 46 and 60 in the draft, one of whom is down for knee surgery.

    Welcome to Clippperville.

  • suns68

    Whew, what a relief!
    If we’d kept Amare, we might have sucked in four or five years! That was really keeping me awake at night.

  • tedidog

    In a buyer’s market, I’m not buying this load of crap. Yes, the someone to blame is our egomaniacal idiot of an owner who doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing and is wrecking this team while doing it. He has established a pattern (see Johnson, Joe) of insulting and offering his best players contracts he knows they (or any other player in their right mind) won’t sign as a smokescreen to prevent total “fan” revolt. It really sickens me how naive some people are to not see through this. And it’s amazing how deluded some people are to buy into this pie in the sky idea that $$$aver’s going to spend money next year to bring a top player in.

  • nejay

    sarver couldnt wait to get warrick since he is cheap, he could have offered some other big name free agent the money that amare turned down,but no, sarver had to sign right away a unimpressive trade bait like warrick who has been traded so many times the last two seasons.nice cost cutting sarver this suns team is screwed and to think last year they made it all the way to the wcf ,now sarver has gutted this team to mediocre, wont be surprise if nash asked for a trade away from a cheapskate owner


    and for the all the fans talkin about the owner do you not know that steve kerr was the one trying to trade amare and traded away joe johnson and all the other good players we have draft picks and more know yah facts before you go on somebody who you think traded for shaq steve kerr then traded him away again after he find out it wasnt going to work like i said before earlier robert sarver offered amare 5 years for 95 million max money he didnt want it so stop trying to go on the owner and talk about steve kerr a horrible gm who thinks he knows what he id doin he traded away every star we had

  • Dave

    RE: Kerr messed up when he made the Frye contract last year. Frye should have signed for 3 to 4 years at $2 million each which would have given us the benefit of having him in the roster at $2 mill throughout this free agency and the option for him to opt out when CBA started next season. I don’t understand why Kerr didn’t sign him for longer at such a low contract when he believed that Frye would be able to thrive in the Suns system. Unless, Frye came to Phoenix looking to take advantage of the Suns and playing with Nash would make him up his game and give him more value before CBA started and make him appear more valuable than he truly is. The new Frye contract is costing the Suns this off-season and is the last mistake left from Kerr. Frye’s contract is filling $4 million more in the Suns salary cap that could be used to attract a Free agent like David Lee.


    @Dino thank you you understand too amare was a health risk and he still did not want to win he wants the money instead of a ring im glad he is gone now because he does not play defense or grab boards


    traded away rondo and joe jonhson

  • TRX

    Goddamn. haha, whatever. Pain in the ass trying to decipher your english anyway. Keep thinking things will change under a new GM as long as Sarver owns the team, sir.


    @trx you are a funny dude because you sure dont know anything about sports bruh u keep rappin over the internet and like i said boy you are not makin any sense you are takin about steve kerr wanted to win how do you want to win by trading away a star for somebody like michael beasly who have not proven himself go check your facts bruh because you are makin a fool out of yourself acting like you know somethin when you dont



  • ILoveTaint

    If Warrick does not work out ship his ass out next offseason with JRich’s attractive expiring contract for an all star caliber player


    @Ilovetaint all these other suns fans think amare is a max player and i dont think he is how many surgeries has he had and you dont thinks that is goin to slow him up in a couple of years amare does not play any defense or grabs boards chris bosh is a max player because he plays defense grabs boards and can score


    @trx and like i said steve kerr was our general manager in 2007 find your facts bruh

  • Dave

    First of all, we can all agree that Robert Sarver screwed up in the Joe Johnson deal. Second of all, why do people care that he traded Rondo to Boston? He was a decent player in Kentucky who wasn’t consider to become a great player in the NBA. If Rondo had stayed in Phoenix, he would have been sitting in the bench for the entire season with D’Antonie as coach. Rondo would have never developed and would have ended up getting waived or shipped in a trade. The picks after Rondo were weak in the 2006 draft other than Paul Millsap (BTW Gani Lawal may turn out to be just as good as Millsap. They were both pick at 46) I personally despise Rondo. He has a huge ego and I would have liked for CP3 to have punched him in the face during a game early in the season. I want this guy to be shipped somewhere like to the Pistons and see if he can win a championship on his own.
    Also, I think Sarver did a good offer to Stoudemire. STAT is afraid and aware his body may fail him in 3 to 4 years so he wants a guaranteed contract. I think he should have taken the 3 year max Sarver was offering him with bonuses and then sign an extension if he still played at a high caliber. I am not sad to see STAT leave. I know that it is time for the Suns to start rebuilding. However, I am sad that Nash and Hill may not be able to win a NBA title staying in Phoenix. I hope next year Suns make a big splash in the Free Agency and go after Melo. Suns are in need of a good young Small Foward.

  • Pingback: Amare Stoudemire as seen by advanced stats| Valley of the Suns

  • Josh

    @Mike, That would be a fair argument. I think its also fair to say both sides did not want to be with each other anymore. Sarver does not like Amare much nor does he think highly of him (rightly or wrongly) and Amare is a diva who needs to feel loved..

    But I would refer you to comments by Suns68… I think that is the point… The Suns were two wins away from the finals with amare and now with warrick they are likely to be a between a 6-8 seed or not even in the playoffs. So if Sarver cared about winning like he says… he would have sucked it up and given amare the cash…

    The same way if it really is as Lebron claims and it is all about winning he should got to chicago where they clearly have the best team of his suitors…


    @suns68 im sure you were sayin the same thing about channin frye wasnt you. Thought he was going to be a bust but turned out real good did it or not he played for the knicks who were garbage and portland who was descent but prove himself with us. Give the man a chance first before you start criticizing the man. All I am asking is give the man a chancea nd see what he can do with the best point guard to me in the league Steve Nash.

  • suns68

    For the record, I never said anything at all about Frye. Backup center is seldom a decisive position for championship or not so I was pretty indifferent when they picked him up.
    I’d be enthusiastic if Warrick was being signed to back up Amare. I see him as a credible replacement for Amundson.
    I suspect he’ll do better with Nash feeding him the ball. Who wouldn’t?
    But expecting him to carry the team like Amare did from the all-star break on, or to duel with Duncan in the playoffs, requires a little too much suspension of disbelief.

  • Al

    Anyone watch the documentary “More than a Game”? I think King James has cut his options to either staying in Cleveland or going off to Jersey with the billionaire owner. Wade is going to go to Chicago to be close to his children and Bosh will join either one of them. Miami is going to be left having to fill up the roster with mid to low level players while the Suns will be preparing for a decent season until next year’s off season.


    @suns68 Like i said your just judging the man and you never seen him play in our syetem. Its always people like you who are judgemental for no reason if he is a bum this season then you can criticize about hakim warrick. But give him a chance we gave channin frye a chance and u talk about channin fry is a center he will never be a center because he is not physical enough he is soft and he has no post moves or defense. The center position rewuires all of that and he cant rebound but he played extremely well in our syetem right ok. I am sure people were sayin the same things about him why did we sign channin frye he is a bust.

  • Al

    Why didn’t Kerr give Frye a longer contract that would have lasted until the start of CBA next year?


    @al because he was a stupid gm i see why he left

  • Mel.

    I’m having a hard time taking the neutral tack, if the NY deal is legitimate. Unless I’m doing the math wrong, it means that STAT made his decision based on about 3.7 million dollars and some insurance stipulations.

    To me, that isn’t a prick move by a penny-pinching GM who should be burned in effigy. That’s a responsible, fair offer that seeks to honor the demands of a superstar, while ensuring that the team doesn’t collapse in on itself if–god forbid–a guy averaging thirty minutes a game with rebuilt legs and a bionic eye wears down or gets injured in the next five years.

    Ultimately, this doesn’t demonstrate the Suns’ cheapness or lack of commitment to winning as it does the desperation that New York is soaking in at the moment. Max money without so much as a wayward glance at the possibility of ANOTHER superstar-level player going bust while on the Knicks due to injuries or underwhelming numbers? Cripes, guys; it’s like the Isaiah Thomas years never happened.

    As far as STAT’s dangle about Melo or Tony Parker “following him” to the Big Apple… yeah. Let’s wait and see if Amar’e can turn the team around as the focal point before we’re convinced that anyone’s looking to him for career advice. I’m pulling for you, STAT, but I’ve also watched you for half a decade, and I’m dubious.

  • Dave

    I don’t doubt that STAT will be getting his 15 – 20 points every night playing with the Knicks. However, I don’t see Amare as much of an All-Star unless he improves his defense and rebounding this season. I doubt the Spurs will be willing to part with Parker until the end of the All-Star break at the earliest. I also doubt that the Nuggets are interested with any of the offers the knicks have made for Melo. STAT is going to have to play on his own for half the season with the Knicks. We’ll know by the start of 2011 whether Knick fans love or hate him. The knicks may be out of playoff contention next season by the time another all-star arrives in NY. Hopefully the Suns make a run to acquire Melo next off season.

  • Mel.

    Ouch. This really, *really* makes poor STAT seem like he’s out of his league in terms of the whims of the FA market.

    I mean, its content is certainly merited, but now I feel almost sorry for STAT after reading it. It has to suck to be told outright that “You’re our go-to guy, just as long as the other go-to guy agrees that you’re the go-to guy he wants to have around. Otherwise, we’ve got no spot for you.”

  • Joe

    Good riddance Amare! Time for the Diva to move on. Give Warrick a chance people, you all keep bashing him and hes actually a pretty good player that never got any minutes on the teams he was traded to, but he was also on a Championship team at Syracuse with Dwade! He also went 18th in the first round on 05! Go do a YouTube search for Hakim Warrick check out his highlights the dude has some serious hops! I for one am glad Amare is history, I never really was a fan, he seemed to only play when he felt like it. When he felt like it that’s what garnered him all the accolades hes received while a Phoenix Sun.

    Wait until Amare gets dose of the Garden and the fans there when he screws up, he will long for the days he was a Phoenix Sun!