After the latest round of discussions with Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t appear destined to produce a contract extension, the Phoenix Suns have reportedly intensified their efforts to trade the All-Star power forward.
Sources say the Suns have become more active in talks over the past few days, and believe the franchise will take the best offer for Stoudemire before the February 18 trade deadline. With Stoudemire able to opt out of the final $17.7 million season of his contract at the end of the season, the Suns don’t want to risk losing him for nothing in free agency this summer.
The Miami Heat, as well as the Chicago Bulls, New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and a host of others, reportedly have a strong interest.
With Stoudemire having undergone serious knee and eye surgeries in recent years, there are differing perspectives on his market value. Stoudemire has expressed a belief that he is a maximum-contract player. That’s not what the Suns have been willing to offer. But some team that is otherwise facing the prospect of striking out this summer surely will give it to him.
Stoudemire insists that he is 100% healthy, although many have questioned whether he is as explosive. Nevertheless, he has made a strong comeback from eye surgery this season – averaging 20.9 points and 8.6 rebounds.
As they did when they shopped him last season, the Suns want a combination of young talent, salary-cap relief and draft picks for him. Some teams are hesitant to trade for Stoudemire for fear he won’t want to re-sign with them this summer.
The Heat have the means with which to make one of the more compelling offers.
Should they? Should they risk putting together a compelling offer on a player who could choose to opt out of his contract just five months later? Should they risk having him opt into the final season of his contract (which is more than $1 million higher than Dwyane Wade’s maximum salary would be), even if doing so puts increasing pressure on the team’s ability sign a third maximum contract free agent?
The Heat is playing a dangerous game. While Miami is considered a potential destination for LeBron James and Chris Bosh this summer, two more coveted free agents than Stoudemire, the danger with doing nothing now is that Wade might walk if the team fails to get James, Bosh or another top player or two. Stoudemire could short-circuit the rebuilding process and serve as an impetus for Wade to both stay and recruit others. How much should that factor into the decision? Read more…