Amar'e Stoudemire: Why He Deserves To Get Paid...

Jess RootCorrespondent IJune 9, 2010

PHOENIX - MAY 25:  Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to a play against the Los Angeles Lakers in the third quarter of Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at US Airways Center on May 25, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

So the latest Amar'e Stoudemire drama is the result of things he said to reporters at his basketball camp. Here is some of it, even if you have already heard it/read it/talked about it:

On playing out the final year of his contract: "There's no chance of that at all."

On whether he desires a maximum contract: “The most important factor of playing for an organization is to be able to be totally comfortable and give them 100 percent. That’s what I’ve done my whole career, so it’s only right to look for a maximum contract.”

On why he feels he should get one: “As concerned as I am with my own stats, I never read my rebounding totals, which are as much my 100 percent as Rob Sarver’s spending habits are his 100 percent. I guess that’s why I’m comfortable asking for the max, because Sarver would be hypocritical to ask me for more rebounds without giving me more money.”

Also: “I guarantee there’s a lot of interest, just from the fact of the trade rumors that were going on that (teams) were possibly making trades to get me,” Stoudemire said. “Now there’s a chance to get me without even trading players? I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a recruiting frenzy.”

As a fan, what should I think about these quotes? I know it is firing up people all over the place. The "pay Amar'e" crowd, which for a few months was as loud and present as it could be, is now more quiet and hidden after his supposed "disappearance" in the playoffs. The other crowd is getting louder, saying that he is not a max player and saying that the team should let him go.

It was just a few months ago, when the Suns were actively shopping Stoudemire in the trade market, that I addressed the idea of a player taking less money to be in a winning situation.

I determined that most of us are hypocrites when we desire or expect this out of professional athletes. I will frankly admit that I have no qualms at all about what Stoudemire is saying and doing.

I am, though, confused about the money/rebounding/effort comment. Is he saying that Sarver hasn't been an aggressive spender just like Amar'e hasn't been an aggressive rebounder, or is he saying that, like Sarver, he has already been giving a full effort in rebounding?

I hope it is the latter, but would not be surprised at the former. I guess he wants to save a little for the new contract to show he will still get better.

Getting to the big question, does Amar'e deserve a max deal and should the Suns pay it?

The way I see it, the Suns simply need to do it if that is what takes to keep him. I would prefer to pay him less money, but I would rather he be on the team than somewhere else. Here are my reasons:


Reason 1: The truth is that he is a special player and an elite at his position. As much as we would like him to rebound a little bit more or to defend better, who else could we get to replace him?

Chris Bosh? He is labeled as soft, and compared by Shaq to RuPaul.

David Lee? He rebounds, but is (gasp) WORSE defensively than Amar'e and is not a talented offensive player.

Carlos Boozer? He, like Amar'e, has injury concerns, and has never played in an offensive system like the Suns'.

KG or Tim Duncan (obviously not going to happen)? They have only another year left probably, in being elite.

Dirk Nowitzki? As appealing as it is, he is neither a great rebounder, nor a solid defender, but is better offensively.


Reason 2: Stoudemire is great. He, with Steve Nash, has taken the team to the cusp of greatness. We all saw what he did for the final two months of the regular season. It was crazy good.

Now, just consider this. Stoudemire has yet to show us all that he can do. He has yet to be given the responsibility to be the man on the team. The offense is not run through him; everything still depends on Steve Nash. We fans have yet to see his best offensive stuff. That will come.


Reason 3: His ability to defy odds with his body has long been established. He came back from microfracture surgery on his knee and from a detached retina. Both were considered career-threatening. There are worries about his knee, because after microfracture, it eventually has issues again.
Stoudemire has shown an ability to overcome these things. If it happens, I expect nothing less than a full recovery.


Reason 4: The market is what it is, so to keep him, it will take probably a max contract. Personally, I wavered for a while, but I have already stated that I am all in when it comes to Amar'e. I want him on my team. If it takes a max deal, then get it done.

Based on his own words, I can infer that he will not be Erik Dampier. Dampier and many other players get complacent when they get a long-term deal. Stoudemire indicated that he will feel comfortable giving 100 percent if he is taken care of.

Add that to the fact that he has always expressed a desire to be one of the greatest ever, and you can expect him to be even better after getting the deal he wants. We then would viably be able to expect greater individual defense and increased rebounding. And I think we would get it from him.

At the end of the day (isn't that everyone's favorite new phrase?), I want Amar'e back. I hope he is back. I also know that it is not a sure thing.

However, I will only accept Stoudemire signing in another city if one of three things happen: either the Suns pull off getting Nowitzki, getting Carlos Boozer, or they make a move to get Joe Johnson.

Only they would ease the pain of losing one of the NBA's best talents. I hope it doesn't come to that.


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