Amare Stoudemire Remains a Sun (for now); Phoenix Readies for Playoff Run
With all the hype surrounding Amare Stoudemire and whether or not he would be traded before Thursday's deadline, most assumed that STAT would be wearing another team's jersey to start his next game. Stoudemire played (& played well) last night @ home in a win for the Suns (vs. Atlanta) - this continues a streak of Amare scoring over 20 pts (now 9 straight games).
Even w/ his name being mentioned in trades w/ the Cavs & Heat for the past few weeks - he still remains a Sun & he's handled everything w/ extreme professionalism. He really has grown up Suns fans.
Despite all the trade rumors, however, Steve Kerr and the Suns thought they were better off holding on to Amare for the rest of the season. There were no moves that would've made the team better this year or in the future. Sure, they probably could've gotten a small amount of cap relief, but they would have essentially being saying to fans - "we quit". A quitting philosophy wouldn't bode well w/ fans or the current roster, including 2-time MVP Steve Nash. The Suns are competitive and capable of beating anyone in this league, w/ the possible exception of the Lakers - there's really no reason to think they can't get into the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs or further. Assuming each round is worth a couple extra million dollars to the team, they should make enough to help cover the salaries & decide over the summer what to do.
Phoenix has been a bit of a roll lately w/ the core unit of guys on the roster - this recent surge had to influence Kerr's decision to some degree. They are currently 6th in the West, which considering the talent some of the other teams have, is really not all that bad. The Top 3 positions are already set - Lakers, Nuggets & Mavs (in 4th, but will move back up). At least 7 other teams are vying for the next 5 playoff spots and projected seedings change almost on a nightly basis.
There's no telling what the summer will bring for Amare Stoudemire or the Suns, but Amare trade rumors are sure to pick up steam again once the NBA Finals are over. There are a handful of teams w/ a lot of money to spend so Stoudemire will have numerous lucrative options to pursue. The Suns could re-sign him also, but since they aren't looking to give him a max deal for the # of years Amare & his agent are looking for, it's quite possible he will be playing elsewhere in the 2010-2011 season.
Here's one fan who is glad the team didn't trade Amare, but is also hopeful they re-sign him during the offseason as well. I think he fits well w/ the team's playing style & would be sorely missed if he went elsewhere.