Amar'e Stoudemire's words finally meant something, instead of nothing, when he spoke to reporters at his basketball camp Tuesday.
You just have to look beyond the words to get the real meaning.
Stoudemire: "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."
Translation: "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."
Stoudemire: "From the time I've been here, we've done great in the community, (made) three Western Conference finals, been in the playoffs and won 60 games or so in several years."
Translation: "Hopefully you won't remember I wasn't playing one of those Western Finals years, 'cause this sounds really impressive if you forget. I'm also hoping everyone will forget my stats and overall impact actually went down in this year's conference finals run, especially my less-than-seven rebounds per game. Basically, I don't want any of you to remember I'm the guy with the least 'superstar/wow' effect that wants the max. If you do remember and point this out, I'll make you look like Anthony Tolliver."
Stoudemire: "We got the fans excited about basketball again, so what I don't want is for me to have to leave and the fans are now not quite as excited about the game here. I want to keep the hype. I want to keep the fans involved."
Translation: "Even though I don't mean as much to Phoenix as LeBron does to Cleveland or Wade does to Miami, the Suns will be worse without me. You'll be lucky to make the playoffs. You know this, Robert. The fans already dislike you. Lose me, and they'll hate you. You'll be lucky to make the playoffs. You need me, Robert. Pay up."
Stoudemire: "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.... Now there's a chance to get me without even trading players? I'm pretty sure there's going to be a recruiting frenzy."
Translation: "If you thought a deal revolving around J.J. Hickson was bad, imagine me leaving for nothing and you not having enough dough to replace me. The teams that have the money I want are desperate; teams that want to become as relevant as you are now. They're so desperate, they'll give me the money you don't think I deserve. Their fans will love them while yours will hate you, Robert, and I hope you realize this. After all, you can pay me more than other teams, and that's what I want in the end—as much money as possible."
Stoudemire: (on whether he'd accept a max offer from Phoenix) "There's a very great chance of that."
Translation: "I could care less where I play, as long as I'm earning as much cash as I can. You can pay me for my All-Star level, below-my-potential play, or you can lose me and pray to the basketball gods (who treat Phoenix as a sick joke) that Dirk will take a pay cut to play for you. If that doesn't happen, you're screwed while I'm half-heartedly earning my dough elsewhere, except when my team plays Phoenix and I drop 50 points to make you look even worse."
Stoudemire: "My agent is doing a good job of keeping the line of communication open with Steve Kerr and Robert. Those guys became great friends, so I'll just sit back and let them handle it. Once it comes down to a bottom line, that's when I step in."
Translation: "One way or another, I'm getting my money. I have nothing to worry about, 'cause the ball is in my court. You've messed with me for the last three years, and now it's my turn. Payback's a b----, ain't it?"