Amar'e Stoudemire: Opting Out of Free Agency?

Avi ScherContributor IIFebruary 4, 2010

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 19:  Jason Richardson #23 of the Phoenix Suns moves the ball upcourt during the NBA game against the Washington Wizards at US Airways Center on December 19, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Wizards 121-95.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Amar’e Stoudemire told reporters in the shoot around before the Phoenix Suns/Denver Nuggets game that he is seriously considering postponing his free agency to take the $17.7 million player option on his contract for next season.


What does this mean for the Suns?


Will they still want to trade him?


Do they want him to sign an extension before February 18 deadline?


Steve Kerr said on KTAR radio that he will be happy if Amar’e decides to stay with the Suns and is willing to sign an extension the Suns will offer.


Also Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters said “Opting inthat’s a lot of money to walk away from.”  


So now what will the Suns do?


The Suns now have a four game winning streak, beating good teams like the Dallas Mavericks at home and the Houston Rockets, New Orleans Hornets and the Denver Nuggets on the road.


Not just did they beat the Nuggets, STAT had an amazing game with 20 points and 17 rebounds and two blocks.


The question is did he play this hard to show other teams what his worth or was it to show the Suns what they will miss?


The other option is that after Alvin Gentry sat Amar’e for the entry fourth quarter against the Mavs, he saw his teammates getting along without him, and that the defense in the fourth quarter won the game.


Maybe STAT came to he’s senses and realized that he needs to pick it up now, start doing what everyone has be saying for years, play defense!


Since the Dallas game Stoudemire stats are amazing (just three games but still…) 27points, 13.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks, which is not bad at all.


If STAT was doing this from the start there would have been a good chance that he would have gotten what he wants, the max contract.


Can Stoudemire keep this up?


If yes, then wow, I would keep him.


But it could be the case of a “…little to late”.


When the Suns were at the best in 2006/07, and  the starting lineup was Steve Nash, Raja Bell, Shawn Marion, Boris Diaw and Stoudemire, I always said that all the needed was a powerfully center that can play defense and a player that can score is enough.


Now that Robin Lopez is getting in to things, starting games and playing great defense the Suns are definitely close to what it takes to be on top again.


To keep it up the Suns needs a couple of things.

  1. Amar’e needs to continue to play like he did in the past three games
  2. A strong and more reliable SG


That’s right, most games that Jason Richardson scores less then 20 points the Suns lost. He’s taking the shots, just not hitting them.


If the Suns want to be a contender, they need to make a move and make it now. Adding a player like Andre Iguodala or Tracy McGrady instead of Richardson and Leandro Barbosa will help this team be a contender again.


Both options would work well for the Suns.


1. McGrady, 23 million, if he still has game, after this season resign him for a lower contract and have one more all-star player on the team. If he doesn’t have game, at the end of the season you clear 23millon from the cap and can try to add a big name.


1. Iguodala—a young player with a great future ahead. He is a player you can build a team around, he’s strong, and he has the total package (17.3PPG, 5.7APG and 6.9RPG). Iguodala can also play 2-4 and that will help the Suns match up with faster players.

He can play two years with Nash and Stoudemire and then rebuild around him and Lopez


The Suns today can play ball when STAT is playing his best, but it is still not enough to be a contender, some small changes (that will also save money) can make the difference.


So, if you don’t trade Stoudemire, then make a different change so you can be a contender and not just a good team that may or may not make the playoffs.


Playoffs are money, and as we all know Mr. Sarver, you need it and want it.