October 2006 - Posts

In the ongoing saga of Amare Stoudemire and his surgically repaired knees, the Phoenix Suns are reporting that STAT will come off of the bench to start the season.  Amare's offseason has been filled with good days and bad, so he doesn't seem to be comfortable playing a lot of minutes yet.  With the amount of money the Suns paid him for the future, they should be letting him come back slow as well.  If he comes back too quickly, he could end up like Chris Webber or Penny Hardaway.

Stoudemire will come off the bench to start the season, with D'Antoni expecting to play him 15 to 20 minutes a game.

Stoudemire was an All-Star in 2004-05, and a dominant force in the Suns' Western Conference finals series against San Antonio. But Stoudemire missed all of last season, except for an aborted three-game comeback, because of microfracture surgery on his left knee. He later underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to address wear and tear that occurred during his rehabilitation.

That has led to an uneven recovery, with recurrent pain sending him to the sidelines from time to time. Each setback is closely watched and Stoudemire has grown weary of the scrutiny.

Steve Nash has noted that the offense has changed over the past two years, but Stoudemire said that adjustment is no big deal.

"It's a little different," he said. "It's just that I haven't played in a year. It's not really hard to fit into this offense. It's not hard at all. It's just that I haven't played in a full year, so it's just a little rust." - Associated Press, FoxSports.com

The Suns are the early favorite to win the NBA Championship (along w/ the Spurs), but everything hinges on Amare's return and his ability to contribute late in the season.  If he's there, the Suns should be in the NBA Finals; if he's not there, another Western Conference Finals could be in their future, but they'd have to get through San Antonio or Dallas to get there (new rules allow best teams to meet up in the later rounds).

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Amare Stoudemire #1 Jersey - Home/White

Starting out the 2006-2007 NBA season, two superstars will be changing their jersey numbers; both as a reflection of “starting over” or beginning a new chapter in their basketball careers.

Amare Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns

“The fresh start Amare Stoudemire hopes to make next season doesn't stop at the knees. Stoudemire, never shy about proclaiming his potential for greatness, will be wearing a new jersey in 2006-07 -- No. 1 -- after a '05-06 season in which he was limited to three games because of two knee surgeries.“ - Marc Stein, ESPN.com

Kobe Bryant #24 Jersey - Road/Purple

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers

“Bryant began his career at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pa., wearing No. 24. But by 1996 -- the year he led the school to the state championship -- he had switched to No. 33, the number his father Joe "Jelly Bean" Bryant wore in high school.

In order for a player to change jersey numbers at will, he either has to change teams or have the team inform the league of the decision more than six months in advance. Players who stay with the same team must have worn the same number for four seasons or longer. Sources say the Lakers informed the league of Bryant's wish to change his number by this year's March 3 deadline.“ - Darren Rovell, ESPN.com

League rules dictate that Stoudemire and Bryant will have to keep their new numbers for a minimum of three seasons.

Ok, so you want to know where you can get the new Adidas NBA 2006-2007 jerseys, including Amare Stoudemire and Kobe Bryant?

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Suns forward Boris Diaw reached an agreement on a 5-year contract extension worth an estimated $45 million.  Signing Diaw was a priority for the Suns organization this offseason, and it appears that they've succeeded.  Diaw is a versatile player that helped Phoenix earn a spot in the playoffs last year and reach the Western Conference Finals.

Diaw confirmed the agreement after the Suns beat Sacramento in a preseason game on Thursday night. He did not comment on the terms, but a source told The Associated Press it was worth $45 million.

"We didn't sign anything yet but we're going to make it tomorrow," Diaw said.

The Suns scheduled a 4 p.m. EDT news conference for Friday.  The deal was finalized Thursday, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, who asked not to be identified because the team was not scheduled to officially announce the extension until Friday.  The agreement will keep the 6-foot-8 forward under contract through the 2011-12 season. It was first reported by Phoenix radio station XTRA Sports late Thursday afternoon.  After Saturday's preseason game against Sacramento, Diaw confirmed that a deal had been reached.

The 24-year-old Frenchman came to the Suns as part of the trade that sent Joe Johnson to Atlanta a year ago and responded with a standout season that earned him the NBA's Most Improved Player award. He moved into the starting lineup in place of injured Amare Stoudemire in the preseason and averaged 13.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists in the regular season.

Read the full story from FoxSports

This move will allow the Suns to keep their core of players together for a little while, but the salary cap will be an issue here in another year or so.  One of the core will have to be traded away or Phoenix will be paying the luxury tax for every $1 over the cap they are. Ownership isn't likely to fork out that kind of money, especially if they don't win the championship this year.

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In their second preseason game in Europe, the Phoenix Suns dropped a close one to the Philadelphia 76ers, 103-100.  Philadelphia rookie Rodney Carney hit the game turning 3 pointer to give Philly a 102-100 lead. Rick Brunson sealed the victory with one of two free throws for the 76ers.  The Suns led by 22 points at one time, but just couldn't pull out the victory. Amare debuted his new #1 jersey in the game... this will be a must-have jersey this year in my opinion.  The Suns play Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv at 9am today - the game can be seen on NBA-TV.

Shawn Marion led the Suns with 25, Barbosa had 20, Steve Nash had 15 points and 9 assists, while Boris Diaw added 10 points and 12 rebounds. Stoudemire finished with 6 points, 6 rebounds and 5 turnovers in 19 minutes of play.

Recent Amare Stoudemire news...
Amare has reportedly been having good practices this week and did play in the game against the 76ers.  While he's by no means “fully recovered”, at least STAT was able to get through a couple practices and participate in a live game with the rest of the team.

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