Agent expects Suns to trade Stoudemire
PHOENIX (AP)—The agent for Amare Stoudemire says he expects the All-Star power forward to be traded by Thursday’s deadline, with Cleveland and Miami the most likely destinations.
Happy Walters told The Associated Press that it would make no sense for the Phoenix Suns not to trade Stoudemire only to see him walk away as a free agent at the end of the season.
Walters said Stoudemire believes Phoenix’s game Wednesday night at Dallas will be his last for the Suns.
“It’s going to be emotional,” Walters said. “… He really does love the team and he knows he’s playing with one of the best point guards ever.”
Suns general manager Steve Kerr declined to comment on the situation. Kerr never has said the team definitely would trade Stoudemire, only that he is listening to offers.
Stoudemire, who has played all eight of his NBA seasons with the Suns, has one year left on his contract but can opt out after this season. If he decides not to opt out, he would earn $17.7 million next season.
The Suns still have several options if they decide not to make a deal now and Kerr has said in the past that no deal would be made unless it made sense for Phoenix.
Stoudemire also could decide not to opt out of the contract and take the $17.7 million, becoming a free agent after one more season with Phoenix. No team probably would match that figure in any long-term deal.
Finally, the Suns could decide to keep the team together for this season regardless of what Stoudemire decides to do.
Entering Wednesday night’s play, Phoenix (32-22) was tied with Oklahoma City for fifth in the Western Conference but was only 3 1/2 games from falling out of the playoffs in the tight race. The Suns had won six of seven overall and five in a row on the road.
Despite the agent’s claims of how much Stoudemire loves the Suns, the forward seemed ready to leave in comments he made before Phoenix’s 109-95 victory at Memphis on Tuesday night.
“A lot of teams are interested in me,” Stoudemire told The Arizona Republic. “It’s really great to know you’re wanted and that teams really respect your professionalism and style of play and feel that you can help their play.”
Stoudemire had 21 points and 10 rebounds in Tuesday night’s win.
Walters said there had been no contract talks with Phoenix since last weekend.
“We’re not that far apart,” he said, “but I think they’ve decided to go in another direction.”
The Cavaliers covet Stoudemire as the final piece to make them NBA champions. The move also would show LeBron James(notes), a free agent after this season, that the team is serious about remaining a contender.
Miami could mount a drive for the playoffs with Stoudemire playing alongside Dwyane Wade(notes), also a free agent after this season. The Heat might be able to persuade Wade to stay with the team that would rebuild around him and Stoudemire. Philadelphia also has been mentioned as a possible destination, but Walters said he hadn’t heard anything about that scenario in recent days.
Walters said he wouldn’t expect any contract talks with Stoudemire’s new team until it’s determined how well he fits in.
The trade deadline is 3 p.m. EST on Thursday.