Heat ‘coming hard’ after Stoudemire

Just two days away from the trade deadline, Marc Stein says that the Miami Heat are stepping up their efforts to acquire Amare Stoudemire.

The Heat emerged from the All-Star break even more determined than they were before to find a third team to help them broker an Amare deal before Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline.

Miami is “coming hard” after Stoudemire, one source said.

Although the Heat have first-round picks available to sweeten any Stoudemire deal — with the Suns hoping to come away with at least one first-rounder if they decide to trade Stoudemire this week — sources say Phoenix has no interest in taking back Jermaine O’Neal’s hefty expiring contract because, at $23 million, it requires more players to be worked into the deal than the Suns are comfortable with.

Yet one source insisted Monday night that the Suns have not ruled out taking back forward Michael Beasley as part of a Stoudemire deal.

The Suns seem to be more interested in J.J. Hickson than Beasley, which is a little odd. Beasley does have some off-court issues, but he seems to have straightened those out and he’s having a very nice sophomore campaign (16-7 on 46% shooting). His 3PT touch has mysteriously disappeared — 41% last year vs. 28% this season — and he is still a work in progress defensively, but he’s one of the best young scorers and rebounders in the league.

Ric Bucher writes that the Suns aren’t alone in their disinterest in Beasley.

“While other pieces would’ve had to be included, the trade essentially would’ve sent Beasley to Philadelphia, Iguodala to Phoenix and Stoudemire to Miami. The deal broke down, sources say, because Philadelphia wasn’t overwhelmed by the prospect of rebuilding around Beasley. This isn’t an isolated case: the Heat appear to be the team most enamored with Stoudemire, but their trading chips are Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal, aka, a big, fat expiring contract. So far, no one has been willing to bite — underscoring why the Heat tried so hard on draft night in 2008 to trade down and take the player they really wanted, O.J. Mayo.”

That last sentence underlines an interesting point. The Heat felt obligated to take Beasley with the #2 pick because he was widely considered the second-best talent in the draft. But if they really wanted Mayo and couldn’t find a trade partner, then they should have drafted the guy they really wanted.

According to Stein’s source, the Suns haven’t ruled out a Beasley-for-Stoudemire swap, so that still may end up being the best deal that Phoenix can get.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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