NBA Free Agents 2010: The Five Best Fits for Amare Stoudemire
If guys like Drew Gooden and Amir Johnson can get over $30 million, there's no possible way Amare Stoudemire doesn't get the max.
The only questions are where and for how long (as in contract years).
Given that Amare will get what he wants, he can actually focus on what team best fits his personal needs on the floor. What club will feature him as the go-to guy? Which team will be more forgiving of his defensive short-comings? Who has the best emergency medical people availabe?
These questions (and other, more serious variations) are Amare's to consider before he puts his name on any dotted line. Here's a look at the five scenarios that fit the most of them.
New Jersey Nets
Go-to guy and unquestioned face of the franchise? Check.
Center who will cover up Stoudemire's lack of defense and rebounding? Check.
Point guard who can make Amare's job easier? Check.
There's a lot to like about the Nets both in general and for Stoudemire's specific needs. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, new head coach Avery Johnson would likely get more out of Stoudemire than any of his previous coaches in terms of overall effort.
If his effort doesn't satisfy, eager rookie Derrick Favors may provide a more negative and obligatory motivation.
The Suns can offer more money. They boast the best point guard that could possibly play with him (Nash's shooting and passing). They offer a stability with one franchise after an adolescence that featured five high schools.
Maybe Amare feels he's stayed too long.
It's just hard to fathom why Stoudemire feels he'll play better somewhere else when his production is so dependent on what the Suns do.
Why would he want to leave? Sure he's been put on the block, but the Suns have been more forgiving of his defensive disappearances than anyone except Don Nelson.
Like Joe Johnson before him, Amare feels he can do (and make) better elsewhere. And maybe like Johnson, he'll find he would be better off staying put in Phoenix.
New York Knicks
Mike D'Antoni knows Stoudemire. He knows his shortcomings as well as his talent. He's willing to overlook the former while coaxing the most out of the latter.
That's what D'Antoni does, and it fits Stoudemire's attitude to a T. "Let me shine on one end to the point you overlook the other end."
Also, New York is starved for relevance at this point. Stoudemire in D'Antoni's system is a big step to relevance, if not contention. After years of Al Harrington and Eddy Curry, it's doubtful Knicks fans would complain.
If New York can land a decent point guard (Raymond Felton?), even better.
It's surprising the Bulls haven't put more into chasing Stoudemire. He's the interior scorer they've needed for half a decade now.
Chris Bosh's stats are slightly better, but wouldn't a Rose-Stoudemire pick-and-roll send fear lancing through opposing defenses? Plus, on defense, Joakhim Noah is there to do the dirty work Stoudemire refuses to do.
As for coaching, Tim Thibodeau is a defensive guru, so there's at least a chance Amare could marginally improve in that area.
Only problem here would be the lack of outside shooting. Chicago will try to address that with whatever remaining money/assets that have left.
Amare doesn't get the alpha dog status he seems to crave here, but he does get a bona fide coach who would make him work hard for an entire season.
Maybe that's why I've got this as one of the less likely teams to sign him. Still, it's a good fit for a few reasons.
D-Wade draws a lot of attention, but is a willing passer sure to guarantee Stoudemire a few bunny highlights a game. Don't forget that Amare is from Florida and works out there in the offseason. Also, don't underestimate the lack of state taxes—when you're talking millions, that's a big chunk of change saved.
What's doubtful in this scenario is what players would surround a core of Wade, Stoudemire and maybe max guy number three. Miami's got a lot of question marks, which makes this match a big one as well.