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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Chris Bosh to Miami makes too much sense

In his latest (6900-word?) column, Bill Simmons plays GM and suggests several “fake trade offers” for teams looking to save money this season.

He made an interesting point about Chris Bosh.

As I wrote in July, there’s nothing more dangerous than a GM worried about his job who dumps the team’s long-term interests to protect the short term. Everything Bryan Colangelo did this past summer screamed, “I need to keep my job!!!” Now the Raptors are hamstrung with an overpaid, below-.500 roster that doubles as the worst defensive team of this decade — seriously, what did they think would happen when Jose Calderon, Hedo Turkoglu and Andrea Bargnani were three of the team’s best four guys? — and Chris Bosh seems like a mortal lock to leave. You can’t do the Frank Drebin Memorial “Please disperse, nothing to see here, please disperse” routine. Raptors fans are too smart. They get it.

By dealing Bosh, Colangelo would be effectively saying, “I made some mistakes, we need to press the RESET button and start over.” Translation: “Fire me, I deserve it.” Because nobody would ever sabotage his job like that, he probably will keep Bosh, make a smaller trade and pray things turn around. If they don’t, the Raptors will get nothing for him. Not fair to the Raptor Truthers. At all.

If Colangelo is feeling the heat, then it is unlikely that he’ll move Bosh before the February deadline. He’s going to have a tough time getting equal value because the whole league knows that since the Raptors are losing, Bosh is likely to bolt. Why would other teams trade for a guy that they can sign in six months?

Well, one reason to believe that Bosh may indeed be on the move is that a team out there (like, say, the Miami Heat, who have their own superstar to worry about) might want to acquire Bosh now and not wait until the summer to try to sign him. In the case of the Heat, it would be doubly important because trading for Bosh would almost certainly convince Wade to stay in sunny Miami next summer. (Unless, of course, he already has other plans.)

Doesn’t a deal that would send Bosh and the bad contracts of Marcus Banks and Reggie Evans to Miami for Michael Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal’s expiring contract make a lot of sense for both teams? Yes, it’s not equal value for Bosh, but the Raptors would get a good young player (Beasley) and would save almost $10 million next season. In fact, they’d have $8 million of cap space to spend if they so choose. All of this for a guy they have almost no chance of re-signing anyway.

I know Heat fans would want to do this. What about Raptor fans?

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