Just when it seemed that the book could be closed on the Amare Stoudemire era and Planet Orange could start trying to accept life with, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic had to go and give everybody a sliver of hope.
Coro reported late Monday night that the Phoenix Suns were still trying to figure out a way to get some kind of compensation for Amare Stoudemire via a sign-and-trade, including a possible pursuit of free agent forward David Lee.
Stoudemire made his departure from Phoenix official Monday when the New York Knicks announced that an agreement was in place with the five-time All-Star on a five-year, nearly $100 million contract. Coro suggests that since it is now certain that Stoudemire wants to join the Knicks, the Suns might revive efforts to acquire Lee, who averaged 20.2 points and 11.7 rebounds per game last season.
With a four-year deal for free agent Hakim Warrick agreed on in principle, things get tricky for the Suns. In order to make a New York sign-and-trade work, the Suns would also have to complete a sign-and-trade with the Bulls, where Warrick ended the 2009-10 season.
No player can sign a new contract until Thursday, so the Suns have some time to try to make this work. If there’s no way to acquire Lee, the Suns could still try to make a sign-and-trade happen for a trade exception, which would certainly improve their financial situation.
Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters, told The Republic that they would help the Suns out if they can, but a sign-and-trade would help his client as well. Signing a deal with Phoenix would allow Stoudemire to receive annual salary increases of 10.5 percent instead of the 8 percent he’d be allowed as a free agent.
After eight seasons and plenty of declined trades, the Suns may yet get something in return for the player that rose to stardom in purple and orange.