Cavs, Heat, Suns and Amar'e Stoudemire's Future

Seth Cox@sethcoxtshqCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - FEBRUARY 01:  Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the Phoenix Suns during the game against the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on February 1, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  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 Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

With all the rumors swirling and the idea that Amar'e Stoudemire will be on his way out of Phoenix, it has struck me that the two franchises in the biggest chase have two of the top five players in the league already.

So why are they both so desperate to pry a 27-year-old All-Star center who only plays offense, has not learned anything on defense, and has been known to have locker room issues, away from the Suns?

Because both the Cavaliers and Heat realize that the acquisition of Stoudemire represents more than just a pickup of a good player in this league.

No, both teams realize that this is their last chance to appeal to their star players before they leave for greener pastures and better teammates in July.

The Heat are in a very precarious position in that they have a lot of cap space, but only five players, including the Wade cap hold, on the books for next year.

They will effectively have $20 million or so to sign eight other players to their roster and make a complete team.

Who do the Heat have under contract for next year? Michael Beasley, Daequan Cook, Mario Chalmers (team option), and James Jones (team option).

So if the Heat are truly going to be a large player in free agency, including re-signing Wade, they would have $5 million or so to sign an additional seven players.

If the Heat trade for Amar'e, they would need to re-sign both Amar'e and Wade, and still have only that limited amount of money to sign another seven free agents. So the question becomes: Does a tandem of Amar'e and Wade get you closer to a championship than the Heat as currently constructed?

Well, having watched Amar'e since he came into the league, I can say they would score a lot of points, but they would get absolutely destroyed on the defensive side of the floor, with only Chalmers and Wade being good defenders.

The other question is: Does trading for Amar'e guarantee you that Wade re-signs? I guess that would depend on how the year finished for the Heat, but I would say no.

Amar'e is a good guy from a public standpoint, but he has feuded with more than one teammate within the locker room. Would Amar'e be OK playing Robin to Wade's Batman?

Then we have the 10,000-pound elephant in the room, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Most people in the know believe that LeBron is leaning toward staying with the Cavs right now, as he is not only the star player, but the coach, GM, as well as head trainer and part-owner.

But will LeBron be happy playing in front of his hometown and never winning? Is his constant pushing of ownership to trade for STAT an indication of, "Do something or I am gone?" 

Before the year started I thought LeBron was as good as gone. Now I am more 40/60 he leaves, but that 40% is about where I place the Cavs' chances of winning the championship.

If they are able to pick up Amar'e, does that swing the percentages? Does that make 60/40, 75/25, or does that show LeBron that they will do whatever we can to get you help in order to win?

Then there is the team he is currently suiting up. The Suns, are admittedly in a horrible position. They have no 2010 draft pick. They have no salary cap room if Amar'e leaves after the season, and have no young building blocks.

So that should explain why the Suns are desperate to at least get something for Amar'e before he bolts in July.

J.J. Hickson is already a better defender and rebounder than Stoudemire—of course, I can roll out of bed and grab as many boards as Amar'e—but his ceiling is far below where STAT's is. The difference is you know that Hick will at least work hard to get there. Amar'e, well, he may, depending on the day.

For all the fans excited about the prospect of Amar'e Stoudemire putting on your teams jersey just remember this stat line from the Suns-Kings game:

Amar'e: 30pts 9rebs 10-16fg 10-13ft
Donte Greene: 31pts 7rebs 11-20fg

Amar'e can own any player in the game on the offensive end of the floor, but he will always give up what he takes. 

But does he get the shots with Cleveland and their half-court, plodding offense?

Will he be spoon-fed the same way without Steve Nash setting him up in Miami?

I can't believe Amar'e Stoudemire is important enough to alter the course of three franchises.

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