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 AmareStoudemireTradeRumors.com (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.