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Old 02-04-2010, 01:40 PM   #1
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Default Sixers are in the lead for acquiring Stoudemire

(Originally posted by Venja42 on the NBA forum)

1. Amare Stoudemire, PF, Suns
In the Stoudemire saga, all of the following are true:

A. The Suns are trying to trade him;

B. The Suns are trying to sign him to a long-term extension;

C. Stoudemire is talking about "opting in" to the last year of his contract.

Let's break it down:

The Suns are still in active trade talks for Amare, with discussions initiated by both the Suns and other teams. The latest is that the Suns have talked to the Philadelphia 76ers about a swap of Stoudemire plus filler for Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert.

While there are a lot of deals the Suns wouldn't do, this is one in which they're interested. It's the Sixers that are holding up the process, I'm told. While nothing's imminent, if Philadelphia GM Ed Stefanski sees an opportunity to unload Dalembert and thinks Stoudemire is the best player he can get, things could get hot quickly.

At the same time, the Suns are planning to make Stoudemire a contract offer in the next few days, according to a source close to the situation. As in every contract negotiation, the contract terms (years and dollar amount) are the main obstacles -- while Stoudemire might want a max contract, that's not what the Suns want to offer.

But I've been told there's another snag: Stoudemire wants a commitment from owner Robert Sarver that the Suns will continue to spend to get back into contention. Stoudemire doesn't want to commit to a team that's going to be in the lottery in future years. So unless the Suns blow Stoudemire away with their offer, they'll reach an agreement only if he is persuaded that the Suns are committed to further spending.

Another twist: Stoudemire came out Wednesday claiming that he was leaning toward not exercising the early termination option on his contract. While he talked about the financial benefits of doing so (he's due $17.7 million next season in the final year of his contract), there's another reason Stoudemire went public about this: He wants some control over where he might be traded to. Philly -- a struggling team that sees Stoudemire as more an asset with a potentially expiring contract than as a cornerstone -- would likely be less interested if Stoudemire were planning to play out his contract. Therefore, when Stoudemire heard about the possible trade with the 76ers, he expressed his reservations about being traded to Philadelphia by going public with his musings about staying with his contract. In other words, he's sending a warning to teams that might see him as nothing more than an expiring contract.

That aside, it seems likely Stoudemire will exercise his option to terminate his contract. If he doesn't, he's betting that he can (A) stay healthy and (B) fare well under the next collective bargaining agreement, which might be the rules of the game that shape Stoudemire's next contract if he doesn't exercise his option this year. Given his injury history and the determination of the owners to tighten up the next CBA, that's a huge risk.
From Chad Ford, ESPN Insider.
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