Phoenix Suns handled Amare Stoudemire situation well

The Suns made the right decision by not trading Amare Stoudemire. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The Suns made the right decision by not trading Amare Stoudemire. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

If there has been one topic discussed most on this site in the almost two years of its existence, without question it would be, “What to do with Amare?”

It was a hot topic when Amare told Stephen A. Smith he wanted to be “that guy” at the beginning of 2008-09, it was hot during the 2009 trade deadline, it was scalding during the summer of 2009, it was burning up this past trade deadline, and of course this summer was the finishing kick of the Amare Stoudemire rumors saga.

Now I can sell (seriously, anyone want it?) and we can start focusing on the Hedo Turkoglu/Hakim Warrick power forward era in Phoenix.

But this was such an important topic for such a long time that now with STAT’s departure not so raw and his replacements largely acquired (we think), let’s take a look at how the Suns came out.

In essence the Suns traded Stoudemire and Leandro Barbosa for Hedo Turkoglu, Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick plus about $5 million worth of trade exception that could still be put to good use.

When you consider the pu pu platter offers on the table this February, the Suns made a brilliant decision not to unload STAT at the deadline just to unload him. Sure, maybe they could have gotten a J.J. Hickson here or a Mario Chalmers there, but you really can’t compare that to the haul of established players the Suns acquired instead.

The Suns are better off in the immediate future with this cast of veterans, and they were never offered the kind of youngster that can change your franchise.

You also certainly can’t fault Miami for not making a better offer considering what has since transpired in South Beach, but you do have to wonder if Cleveland trading for STAT (and potentially J-Rich as well) could have changed Ohio’s history.

As much as this situation looks favorable to any potential STAT trade they could have made at the deadline, the biggest reason it was so smart to stand pat is because the Suns ended up being one of the top three or four teams in basketball last season.

They were just starting to peak around the trade deadline and clearly possessed a special mix. Jared Dudley even took the “Keep Amare” campaign to Twitter that was strange because it was almost insubordinate to management’s attempts to deal him.

In sports you play for those rare chances when you have a chance to go for it. Every Suns fan knows those chances don’t come too often, and for the Suns to potentially be a missed Ron Artest box out from a real legitimate chance at the Finals, there’s no question keeping Amare was the right move even if the offers would have been a bit meatier.

That journey really was worth it, as the Suns’ big trade deadline move ended up being merely keeping the team together.

Now, my stance on Amare all along has been to deal him if there’s a franchise-altering offer on the table, but otherwise it’s best to stay put, try to win and then do your best to re-sign him. Even when it looked more and more like STAT would be gone, it didn’t make sense last deadline to trade him for far below market value.

The one deal I have always liked was the Golden State possibility around last draft that would have sent Stephen Curry, Andris Biedrins and Brandan Wright to Phoenix for Amare. Curry can be your star for the next decade. If the Warriors hadn’t backed out when Curry became available in the draft, this would have been a smart trade to make for Phoenix.

But alas, this deal was never officially on the table, and nothing else that was on the table was worth pulling the trigger on.

You long-time readers of ValleyoftheSuns and Suns basketball in general have no doubt followed this debate for years, trying to project what a future without Amare Stoudemire would look like.

I still feel like the Suns need a long-term upgrade at power forward and another star once Nash retires. Stars win in the NBA, and especially with Richardson possibly leaving soon the Suns will be short on star power down the road.

Replacing STAT’s star power was one of the biggest things I was concerned about when it came to his departure and the Suns have yet to fully replace him in that sense.

However, they have a number of assets that could potentially be combined to make a run at a stud down the road, and they overall are in a very nice place considering some of the doomsday scenarios we pondered minus Stoudemire.

In all the Suns should be commended for not making a panic move and keeping a competitive team together while ending up better off in the future anyway.

Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire

  • King Fahd

    Mike – I agree that getting players like Hedo, Warrick, and Childress are much better than rather obtaining a Hickson or Chalmers in a trade. But I believe in a scenario of "what's not broken, don't fix it", meaning that the Suns made the Conference Finals last season. In a rare situation like (for any team), you need to keep your core guys, add some missing links around them to hopefully get over the hump.

    It's been like this for us (Suns), when we gave away Thunder Dan Majerle for "Hot Rod" Williams. When you're among the elite, you shouldn't tweak a core player because then you are kind of in a rebuilding mode. All the great teams like the Lakers, Celts, and Magic never moved their core guys around since they made the upper echelon.

    I can say a lot more about this. But I will wait for some responses and then comment further. Let's not worry about the wallet, and more about getting our first championship ring. It is not an honor to be the franchise with the best all-time record without a ring.

  • Zak

    Don't get me wrong, I liked Amare and hated to see him go as much as anyone but I don't think it was worth the risk to pay him the guaranteed max salary that he pretty much demanded and finally got from the Knicks. I also would prefer to have another true "power" forward on the team but facts are facts and there really wasn't anyone available who could have just stepped into Amare's shoes… not without the Suns having to give up too much in trade. This year will be a transition year and the pieces they've added may not really pay off until next year or even the year after. Nash and Hill can't play forever. Hedo could be a big help to Goran as he takes over more of the PG responsibilities and if they can find that true PF soon then Hedo can move over to his preferred SF position. If Childress performs well, J-Rich could be the trade bait to bring in that PF they need. Warrick should make a good solid backup at PF giving the Suns some good minutes off the bench with a little more scoring punch than Lou A (although I hate to see Lou go too!). And I don't think that the offense is going to take a "massive hit" from Amare's departure. If Lopez stays healthy, he'll become the pick and roll guy of choice and should become even more productive. I know that he's had back problems but Amare had his own injury issues so who's to say that Amare will stay healthy this season? Anyway, I think that the Suns made the best moves possible for this season as well as future seasons. Yeah, they could have thrown away the future in hopes of making a few trades to help them try to win a championship THIS year but the last time they did that was the trade that bought Shaq to Phoenix and that worked out soooooo well…

  • Bob

    Eh…Dragic and Lopez blossoms fully next season. Double -double averages for both. Both scores around twenty and is top five in assists/steals and rebounding/blocks respectively. That would be awesome. I vote that option.

  • JasonK

    A quick update: Hedo looks fat and horrible at FIBA Worlds right now.

  • Zak

    As an afterthought, ESPN just posted their "Best/Worst Power Forward Signing" lists and Amare was #1 on the "worst" list. Of course their predictions are all conjecture but Raymond Felton – who is certainly no slouch – is still no Steve Nash and only time will tell whether Amare will be able to thrive in a system without a prime point guard to feed him the ball. Perhaps Felton will also flourish with someone like Amare to feed the ball to via the pick and roll but who knows. I also don't know what Gentry's plans are for this coming season. Perhaps Warrick will thrive and put up Amare-like numbers with Nash to feed him the ball. Perhaps Nash and Hedo will feed off each other's creativity and wow us all with a "shock and awe" season that surprises everyone. With Lopez being the primary pick and roll target for Nash, he might have a breakthrough season that makes everyone wondering why they ever thought his twin brother, Brooke, was the better of the two. Sure there are a LOT of "ifs" that will either make or break this season but I refuse to believe that Amare leaving the Suns makes them a lottery team.

  • ZoDogg34

    I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with losing Amare if we had a better option at the 4 than Hedayet Turkogly and Hakim Warrick.
    The team is better with Amare than those guys. Massive downgrade.

  • Nashtyish

    Bob – there is no such option. i wish that, too.

    ZoDogg34 – i wouldn’t go as far as “MASSIVE” downgrade, but our offense is certainly gonna take a big hit from amare’s departure, but i agree with you, hedo and warrick just aint gonna cut it, i’d much rather us do wat the jazz did in the offseason, acquire a quality big (4ish) al jefferson that can actually play proper pick’n roll and has stable rebounding numbers.

    We were pretty small with stat around, now with the recent moves our roster has downsized even further. Let’s see what Sarver can pull off during mid-season, i know thats a lil’ too much to expect from $$$arver after all these years we’ve known him but ALWAYS KEEP FAITH, SUNS FANS!!

  • teidog

    The very title of this article is ludicrous. How pray tell did that moron $$aver handle the situation with Amar'e correctly when he could have been extended earlier in the season last year for way less money???

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  • Steve

    @teidog – Was there ever an extension on the table for less than max? I don’t remember any such scenario, and either way, I wouldn’t have wanted it. The hard fact is that Amare Stoudemire simply isn’t the type of player who was built to win NBA championships. The harder fact is that Nash isn’t either. There needs to be some type of resemblance of what we call “defense” in your team leaders, and Nash and Amare have none. I credit Nash for trying and doing what he can. I discredit Amare for being too lazy/apathetic to use his insane abilities to be a lock-down, shot-blocking machine.

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