Amare Stoudemire staying in Phoenix?

When asked whether or not he’ll make a move prior to the February trade deadline, Suns GM Steve Kerr said the following (via FanHouse)…

“I don’t think we’re going to do anything,” he said. “I’m pretty happy with this group.”

Kerr was asked if that means Stoudemire, who can opt out of his contract next summer and become a free agent, is safe from being moved.

“I’d be pretty surprised if we did anything,” Kerr said. “We’re playing well. You always want to get better and you never say never (regarding a move). But we’re playing well.”

For his part, Stoudemire says that he’s not sure that he’s going to opt out at the end of the season.

“I’m right in the middle,’ he said. “There’s no particular way I’m leaning.”

“It’s up to them to approach me about whatever situation they think, whatever they’re thinking,” Stoudemire said. “Until then, I’m just going to keep playing and keep trying to win. The ball is pretty much in their court. Whenever they’re ready to discuss anything, just let me know. If not, I’m just going to keep playing.”

What a difference winning makes. The Suns are 16-8, an impressive mark considering Phoenix has only played eight home games thus far. They’re getting good play from Stoudemire (19-8, 56% shooting), Steve Nash (18-3-11, 53%) and Jason Richardson (16-5-2, career-high 48% shooting). Grant Hill (12-6-2) and Channing Frye (12-6) round out a pretty balanced starting five.

If the Suns can keep winning, Kerr is unlikely to make any moves. I’ve been hard on him over the last couple of seasons (mainly for trading Shawn Marion and letting Mike D’Antoni slip away), but the proof is in the pudding. He realized that the Shaq trade got the Suns away from what they do best — push the ball. The Suns are running again (4th in the NBA in pace) and that style suits their personnel.

If Amare is still on the roster after the trade deadline, then it’s up to the Suns to decide whether or not they want to commit to him long term. He’s still likely to opt-out, especially if he stays healthy and continues to play well. There are too many teams with salary cap space to let an opportunity for a long-term contract pass him by.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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What’s up with that Amare Stoudemire-to-Golden State trade?

The short answer is “I don’t know.”

Not enough? I don’t blame you. I wrote the following during my running diary on draft day:

There’s a rumor that the Warriors might send Andris Biedrins, Marco Belinelli, Brandan Wright and the #7 pick to Phoenix for Amare Stoudemire. That seems like an awful lot to give up given the trades we’ve seen go down in recent days. But Stoudemire is a borderline franchise player, so a good center (Biedrins) and three prospects (Belinelli, Wright and the #7 pick) doesn’t seem crazy.

The Warriors drafted Stephen Curry when he fell to #7. At that point, it wasn’t clear whether or not he’d be headed to Phoenix as part of this trade. Paul Coro of reported that he “likely” was headed to the Suns.

Golden State’s selection of Davidson point guard Stephen Curry at No. 7 was likely made for the Suns as part of an Amaré Stoudemire trade that can’t be completed until Wednesday. That is because Phoenix would be acquiring Warriors center Andris Biedrins, a base-year compensation player, as part of a Stoudemire deal that would include more Warriors players, possibly power forward Brandan Wright and/or shooting guard Marco Belinelli.

The Suns were hoping they could land Curry or Arizona power forward Jordan Hill with the Warriors’ seventh pick but had their choice after Minnesota took neither with its fifth and sixth picks.

The next day, Coro reported that the deal was all but done, but hinged on whether or not Curry was included…

Read the rest of this entry »

Why didn’t the Cavs make a deal?

On last night’s TNT coverage, Charles Barkley and David Aldridge talked a little bit about Cleveland’s attempts to swing a trade. First up is Aldridge:

“(The Cavaliers) tried (to make a trade), they really did try. They were all over the place. They tried to get Antawn Jamison from Washington, they tried to get Amar’e Stoudemire, they tried to get Richard Jefferson, they tried to get Shaq. I can tell you this, they were more interested in Shaquille O’Neal than they were in Amar’e Stoudemire. That’s a fact. They wanted Shaq badly and they really tried to get him.”

Then there’s Barkley:

“The Cavaliers made a mistake (by not making a trade)…They should have said, ‘We’re going to keep LeBron (James), we’re going to keep Mo Williams, you can have anybody else we got.’ If they would have done anything to get a big body they would have been better off.”

Rookie J.J. Hickson is just 20 years-old and has shown great potential. He’s 6’9″ (which is the optimum size for a power forward), athletic and has a few polished moves down low…

Read the rest after the jump...

Stoudemire out for regular season after eye surgery

Clearly, this is not how the Suns wanted to start the second half of the season.

The beleaguered Suns announced Friday that Amare Stoudemire was forced to undergo eye surgery to repair a partially detached retina suffered in a Wednesday night rout of the Los Angeles Clippers. It is Stoudemire’s second eye injury since October and the All-Star forward could miss the rest of the regular season.

Stoudemire’s return to physical activity has been estimated at eight weeks by the Suns. He underwent surgery Friday morning, although the club said in a statement that “recovery varies on a case-by-case basis.”

The Suns were just starting to feel a sense of optimism about salvaging something from this painful season after replacing coach Terry Porter with Alvin Gentry on Monday, ringing up 280 points in back-to-back victories over the Clippers and getting the go-ahead Thursday from owner Robert Sarver to keep hold of Stoudemire and Shaquille O’Neal after shopping both this month in an attempt to significantly reduce Sarver’s payroll.

But the injury suffered by Stoudemire when he was poked in the eye during his 42-point game against the Clippers means the Suns will have to try to make the playoffs without him, which was not going to be easy even with a healthy Stoudemire. The Suns awoke Friday as the West’s No. 9 team in an eight-team race with a record of 30-23, one game short of the eighth spot.

This is obviously a huge blow for the Suns, who made the decision to move forward with Stoudemire after trade discussions with a number of teams. It’s going to be tough for Phoenix to make the playoffs without their power forward, and even if he can return in two months, what kind of shape will he be in?

Stoudemire to stay?

That appears to be the case, at least according to ESPN’s sources.

After the Suns spent several days taking and making phone calls on potential trades for Amare Stoudemire and Shaquille O’Neal, NBA front-office sources told that Phoenix — having received a series of underwhelming proposals for Stoudemire — prefers now to leave its core intact for the rest of the season to see if new coach Alvin Gentry can do more with this group than the outgoing Terry Porter.

“I got the impression today that [the Suns] are standing pat,” said one source with knowledge of the team’s thinking.

Said another source close to the situation: “That is very accurate.”

Officials from two other teams told on Monday that the Suns’ willingness to consider offers for Stoudemire has been scaled back considerably from last week, when Stoudemire himself seemed resigned to being sent elsewhere, telling reporters: “I know for sure, wherever I go, we’re going to definitely be playoff contenders.”

At a news conference to announce Gentry’s hiring, [Steve] Kerr stopped short of promising that the Suns would sit out the deadline completely, but did add: “I’d like to keep what we have and go forward and see what we can do,” Kerr said.

Well, well, well…it appears that cooler heads may have prevailed. It could be that the Suns realized that they weren’t going to get equal value for their superstar or they may have decided that he wasn’t the problem after all. The dismissal of Terry Porter would indicate that management places a fair amount of blame for the Suns’ inconsistent play at his feet.

After all this build up, the Suns may very well decide to keep Stoudemire through the end of the season. Salary cap ramifications aside, I think this is the right call.

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