The Phoenix Suns’ front office had been on a role.
2016 has already seen the team improve significantly in terms of youth, talent, and the quality of the contracts on the books.
The team has added youth, addressed a weak point at power forward, showed restraint in free agency despite the cap room, and brought back two fan favorites in Jared Dudley and Leandro Barbosa.
The Phoenix Suns’ front office has been making moves to both improve the product on the court and make the product entertaining.
Amar’e Stoudemire’s retirement, and the rumored back and forth between Amar’e and the Phoenix Suns that preceded it, appear to be the Phoenix Suns first major error since trading Markieff Morris at the 2015-16 trade deadline.
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The Phoenix Suns could have brought back Amar’e Stoudemire to end out the former Suns superstar’s career. He instead signed with the Miami Heat for the minimum for the 2015-16 season, then signed a ceremonial contract with the New York Knicks before retiring.
You can argue that Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t fit into the Phoenix Suns’ plan for 2015-16. It is questionable if adding Amar’e would even have a positive effect on the actual basketball product.
STAT played just under 56 games per season the past two years, and only averaged 8.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
What Amar’e Stoudemire would have undoubtedly brought to the Phoenix Suns was a connection to the winning culture that has defined the Suns for decades. Amar’e ran as a key part of some of the greatest teams in Suns’ history.
Even in a part-time role, even only playing 40 games a season, Amar’e would have been well worth $1.5 million. Jersey sales alone would help eat that cost, but his veteran guidance to the young guns would bring even more value.
Phoenix Suns fans also would have lost their mind over a Stoudemire return. Prime Amar’e could absolutely electrify America West Arena.