Why the Heat want Amare

John Hollinger expounds on the rumor that the Miami Heat are…um…hot on the trail of Amare Stoudemire. Such a deal would almost certainly include Michael Beasley.

Additionally, there are two different angles that make such a deal intriguing. First, let’s say the Heat trade Beasley for Stoudemire, who then opts in to his $17 million deal for next year. If the Heat can find somebody to take Cook’s $2.1 million deal off their hands at the trade deadline, they would have enough cap space to sign another free agent starting in the $10 million to $12 million range to join Wade and Stoudemire. Maybe that’s not enough to get LeBron or Chris Bosh, but it could bag them the likes of Rudy Gay, David Lee or Carlos Boozer. Plus, the addition of Stoudemire would likely take the doomsday scenario of Wade’s potential departure off the table.

If the Heat acquire Stoudemire and he opts out, that adds risk for Miami but also might be even better. The Heat could offer Stoudemire a long-term deal for less than the max and still make the case to him that he would come out ahead financially, both in terms of security and the total dollars, since he could get six years with the Heat on the open market as opposed to only three years if the Heat gave him a contract extension.

If his deal started in the $13 million range, Miami could create enough cap space to sign James (or Bosh) to a max deal in addition to retaining Wade and Stoudemire. That’s the home-run scenario, and given the apparent lure of Miami for Stoudemire — he is from Florida and wants to play for a winning team, so presumably he would stay — it’s a possibility worth contemplating.

For the so-called “home-run” scenario (landing LeBron), the Heat would have to acquire a big man (Stoudemire or Bosh) and hope that the Cavs flame out in the playoffs. I just don’t see LeBron leaving Cleveland if the Cavs make the Finals and he’ll almost certainly stay if they win a title. (Unless, of course, he takes the tact of “I brought the city a championship so now I can leave triumphant.”) Anyway, the more disgruntled LeBron is at the end of the season the better the chances that he lands in Miami.

If Miami does trade for Stoudemire, I doubt Bosh lands in South Beach. They could go with a twin towers approach, but I’m not sure how the two players would co-exist in Miami’s offense. If a deal for Stoudemire could be had, the Heat should pull the trigger because a bird in the hand (Amare) is better than two in the bush (Bosh), and the move would almost certainly convince Wade to re-sign.

As for Phoenix, would the Suns agree to a deal that was centered around Beasley? Earlier today, I suggested a David Lee-for-Stoudemire swap, and I think the Beasley move would be comparable. Beasley isn’t the player that Lee is right now, but he’s five years younger and he’s under contract for the next three seasons. (Lee will be a free agent this summer.) I think this is about as good as the Suns are going to do, and they should probably do something because it sure looks like Stoudemire will opt out after the season.


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