With the NBA trade deadline quickly approaching, February 18th to be exact, Phoenix Suns GM Steve Kerr has dropped the first bombshell name onto the league, 6′ 10″ power forward/center Amare Stoudemire.
Kerr has said that the Suns are increasing their efforts to trade away Stoudemire in exchange for some young talent and some good role players. Also in Kerr’s thought process is freeing up the cap space brought on by Stoudemire, who is making $16.3 million this season and is scheduled to make $17.7 million next season. According to sources, teams on all levels have shown interest, from bottom dwellers to playoff teams to championship contenders.
The Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat have all expressed interest in Stoudemire to make a big playoff push. Teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves have shown interest in what is believed to be a rent-a-player system in order to free up cap space for next season’s big free agent market. Stoudemire has the right to option out of his 17.7 million dollar deal for next season which would make him a free agent.
[adinserter block=”1″]The bidding war has some great appeal to it. Are the playoff potential teams willing to part with team chemistry to add 21 points and 8 1/2 rebounds per game that Stoudemire brings only to watch him walk away next year? Do any of the non-playoff teams think that he will even consider resigning with them next year, or do they hope that the free dollars can help them lure some big time free agent to be such as LeBron James, Dwayne Wade or Chris Bosh?
It is also interesting to think about him in Cleveland, back with Shaquille O’Neal, who many had thought could not co-exist in Phoenix and was adding much slower players just to gain size. I guess that is all up to LeBron James and his quest at finally getting a championship. The addition of Stoudemire could help them leap over Orlando and big man Dwight Howard, and also be a remedy for Boston’s Kevin Garnett, but who exactly do they unload?
[adinserter block=”2″]Basketball’s salary cap and luxury tax is so very confusing to even think about possible scenarios, and when you look at teams in the running for Stoudemire, very few of them can offer good young talent, short term salaries and contributors. It may fall onto the Suns to ride it out, stick with a possible playoff spot and watch him walk away at the end of the year. It wouldn’t be the worse case for them, being that he leads the team in most categories, and they have very little to replace him with. Also if he does opt out of his deal, then the Suns now have 17 million plus dollars free and can chase a big time player or 2 medium level players next off-season.
For once the trade deadline actually brings intrigue. You can’t help but wonder which way the league goes on this one. Rent-A-Player or salary cap savior, either way Stoudemire will save someone short-term, but somehow it doesn’t seem to be the Suns. I gave up on even thinking about how GM’s make it work along time ago, and moments like this is clearly the reason why.
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