The Phoenix Suns have gone past the point of no return this time.
After two years filled with rumors, innuendo, trade discussions, fans questioning Amare’s talent and 10 thousand Tom Leander catchphrases, the Suns have to trade Stoudemire, or as Leander would call it “Evaluate and Detonate.”
It doesn’t have to do with money, talent, or pending free agency. It doesn’t even have to do with Robert Sarver or Steve Kerr, at least not this time.
No, the reasoning is quite simple. So simple in fact, that it was the plot of a Hollywood romantic comedy (If you’ve seen Valentines Day, Leap Year, or even Couples Retreat, you realize just how rudimentary that is.)
The Suns and Amare Stoudemire have entered into the break-up zone. Deep down, both parties know it’s over. They see how they could be better without the other, but haven’t quite ended their relationship it yet.
If the Suns keep Amare Stoudemire for the remainder of the season, they basically will be acting out the NBA’s version of the film The Break-Up. (Guy Translation: You know that bad movie with Vince Vaughn where you got to see Jennifer Anniston’s butt?)
Jennifer Aniston character (Amare Stoudemire), decides that she isn’t respected and feels neglected by her boyfriend played by Vince Vaughn (Phoenix Suns). In an attempt to make him jealous, Aniston decides to talk about breaking up with Vaughn (Suns fans, think about Amare’s summer media tour). Neither Aniston nor Vaughn really want it to end, but they are both stubborn and don’t back down.
This is where the Suns and Stoudemire find themselves. They both have explored and discussed other options and both seem hesitant to make it official. The reality is that because of financial advice both sides have received, things will end soon. The only question is whether it’s now or at the end of the season.
In the movie, Aniston and Vaughn share a high-priced condo, which both refuse to vacate after they “break-up." They spend three painful months dealing with the reality that they have to see their “ex” everyday and live in close quarters. Eventually things get ugly, pranks are pulled, and harsh words are exchanged. The entire situation gets messy and awkward, forcing both to officially split and find separate places.
For the Suns and STAT, that high priced condo is the US Airways Center and those “painful months” are what they’ll experience if a trade isn’t made.
It just can’t end well if Stoudemire is in Phoenix come 1:01 PM local time Thursday. It’s postponing the inevitable and, unlike the movie, won’t lead to anything even the slightest bit funny. (Plus you won’t even get the little carrot of Jennifer Aniston to watch when things get bad.)
You can just see it now: The Suns are looking to have a party—the Playoffs—but their roommate, Stoudemire, decides to throw a wrench in those plans by loafing around the “house,” preventing them from being able to do it.
That kind of thing is slightly funny when it’s Vaughn drinking beer in his boxers and playing X-Box. But not so much when it’s Amare not playing as hard as everyone knows he can, and the Suns missing the postseason for the second season in a row.
The transition period is going to be awkward for Suns fans regardless of how things go down. Why make it even more so by keeping Stoudemire around as a reminder of what they’ve lost?
Like Vince Vaughn’s career when he started doing romantic films, the Phoenix Suns are at the point of no return.
The team and Amare Stoudemire are breaking-up, it’s just a matter of figuring out who Phoenix’s “rebound(er)” will be. J.J. Hickson, anyone?