It's safe to say that NBA fans have been hearing some pretty outrageous trade rumors over the past few weeks. From Rajon Rondo on the trade block to Ray Allen on the trade block, to even the "possibility" of the Mavs getting Chris Paul from the Hornets...
All I can say is "yeah, right."
Now the Amare Stoudemire rumors are surfacing again. I heard one the other day that almost made me cringe: Amare for Al Jefferson and one of the Minnesota Timberolves' first-round draft picks.
Why on Earth would the Wolves even consider doing this trade? I understand that Amare is a great player, but he comes with baggage that Jefferson doesn't have, and the two guys' skills aren't exactly equal, anyway.
Al, along with Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff and draft picks, was included in the 2007 blockbuster trade that brought Kevin Garnett to Boston. It was known even then that Jefferson was to be the cornerstone of the Minnesota franchise.
And how's this for character? Though he could've gotten a max deal recently, he chose not to, citing that he "had not proven himself yet." That says a lot right there.
Jefferson has since put in a large amount of extremely hard work to become the franchise player the Wolves envisioned him being. He averaged a career-best 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game while starting all 82 games of the 2007-08 campaign.
The 2008-09 season was looking ust as promising for Jefferson, as he immediately began improving upon his career season. He was averaging 23 points per game along with 10.9 boards and 1.7 blocks before he went down with a torn ACL in a game against New Orleans.
It was reported at the beginning of this week that he is ahead of schedule on his rehabilitation and looks to be ready for the start of the 2009-10 season.
Amare, meanwhile, is coming off a pretty tough season, one in which he publicly stated that he was frustrated with his role in the Phoenix Suns offense and was declared out for the season after suffering a detached retina, something he had surgery on in the previous offseason. He was the subject of many trade scenarios as the Suns organization looked to drastically cut back on the team salary.
Although both players are very good, Jefferson stands out as the player that a team should covet, not look to move. Jefferson is a humble, hardworking, and soft-spoken player who is dedicated to playing team defense and crashing the boards. Stoudemire has been criticized for not playing enough defense and not grabbing the amount of rebounds that he is capable of getting (as evidenced by his mere 8.1 boards per game average last season).
Stoudemire is also set to make $15 million next year, while Jefferson is set to make $11 million. Jefferson's contract is longer, but while Amare's is up in a year, he will be looking to make even more money than he is making right now, not less.
I don't see why this move would make sense for the T-Wolves. They already have the player that they can build (and are building) their franchise around. Pulling the trigger on this trade would be a setback for a team that has been at the bottom of the NBA standings for years.
Bottom line: Don't jump at the opportunity to get Amare, Minnesota. You have a franchise player who is already mature enough to carry your organization. You wanted a replacement to KG, and you have it.