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Opening the floodgates of the 2011 NBA Trade Season…

November 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Last weekend the Raptors and Hornets completed a five player deal that sent Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless to New Orleans for Jarret Jack, David Anderson and Marcus Banks. I would spend some time breaking it down, but ahhh, seriously the trade involved Jack and Peja, who cares. If you really want some analysis, here’s John Hollinger’s take (insider, sorry).

No, what interests me isn’t the trade itself, but rather that it was the first deal of the NBA season, which is exciting because the NBA is a trade happy league and it usually requires one deal to break open the flood gates. This year should be a particularly interesting trade campaign, as the looming lockout means teams have divided into two camps: prepare for the lockout by minimizing salary and shedding long-term contracts. On the other side of the ring, are those teams that have decided “F*** it, they’re still awarding a title for 2010 and we’d like to win it…”

We all know that Carmelo Anthony might be moved, but also look for Philadelphia to strongly consider dumping Andre Igoudala, watch for Orlando to be aggressive in upgrading their roster, Dallas and Houston cannot help but make an in-season trade, and with the luxury tax expected to be around 68 million, you have 12 teams that will be looking to shed some salary. So, with all of that in mind, it’s time to do my first trade column of the season. As usual, these are based on nothing but the strange voices in my head; they aren’t rumors; they aren’t whispers; they probably aren’t even good ideas, but now, thanks to magic of the interweb, they’re being read by you.

Trade 1:

Philadelphia sends A. Iguodala and L. Williams to Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City sends M. Peterson, J. Harden, and E. Maynor to Philadelphia.

Why it Works For Oklahoma: The framework of this deal was proposed by Simmons in a BS Report chat with Joe House a few weeks ago. What the deal does, is give the Zombie Sonics that legitimate third piece around which a championship squad can be built. It’s the piece that most observers think that the Zombies missed out on when they picked Harden over Steph Curry. Of course, as I’ve pointed out in the past, it’s also the piece that they missed out on when they took Jeff Green over Joakim Noah. Iguodala is a great defender, he can score, but in Philly he’s been pressed into being a number one option, which he isn’t. For Team USA this summer, Iggy showed what he can do when a team has a clear number one option and he’s only required to defend and make open shots. And, of course, I don’t need to tell you who Team USA’s number one option was…

Why it Works for Philadelphia: This deal saves Philly 8 million dollars in what is shaping up to be a long, lost season in the City of Brotherly Love. It also sets them up well for a post lockout league with a reduced salary cap, as they shed two deals worth a combined 56 million past this year. Finally, the 76ers get two young pieces to add to their developing nucleus of Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, and Thaddeus Young. So, if the cap is prohibitively decreased, they would be in good long term shape.

Why it Doesn’t Work for Anyone: Despite their early season struggles, I doubt that Oklahoma executives want to take on any salary that might complicate their post lockout future. And, despite their early season struggles, I doubt that Philly executives want to tell fans they’ve traded their best player for James Harden. Even if it does make long term sense.

Trade 2:

Memphis sends O. Mayo to Chicago
Chicago sends K. Thomas, K. Bogans, Chicago’s #1 this year, and the #1 Charlotte owes the Bulls.

Why it works for Memphis: Well, I wouldn’t do it, but then I think Mayo’s got a solid career in front of him as a strong defender and shooter. Memphis probably does too, but they did drop him from the starting lineup, so who knows… What this trade gives them, is a veteran presence in Thomas who might help their youngsters. Likewise, Bogans is a tough defender and has played for Stan Van Gundy and Greg Popovich, two coaches who know a thing or two about winning. So maybe they help bring some accountability and toughness as the Grizz try and make their first playoff appearance since 2006. Then there’s the money, this deal saves Memphis 2 million this year and chops about 3 million off of next year’s cap. And, we know that Memphis’ owner Michael Heisley is cheap, so that might get the deal done by itself. Finally, there is the picks. The one from Chicago isn’t of much value, but that one from Charlotte has decreasing protection which leaves it unprotected in 2016. With Charlotte, that could turn out to be of real value.

Why it works for Chicago: Hundreds of words have been spilled over the Bulls bringing in Carmelo Anthony, but I don’t think they need Anthony. When Carlos Boozer returns, the Bulls will be able to generate enough offense from him, Derrick Rose, and Luol Deng, that I don’t see the need of upgrading Deng to Anthony. What they do need, is to upgrade at shooting guard, where right now Bogans and Kyle Korver are the primary players. Mayo is exactly the type of guy the Bulls want. He’s capable of being a good defender and while he’s not always that right now, with the help of Tom Thibodeau, I imagine he’d get there, plus he can shoot. The Bulls already look formidable, but with Mayo, I’d give them a real shot of knocking off the Celtics or Magic in the Conference finals.

Trade 3:

Orlando sends M. Gortat, M. Pietrus, V. Carter, and a future #1 to Denver.
Denver sends C. Anthony, K. Martin, and R. Balkman to Denver.

Why it Works for Orlando: It might only be a rental for the playoffs, but this deal upgrades the Magic from Vince Carter to Carmelo Anthony. Making that upgrade costs Orlando a lot of money (see below), but doesn’t cost them much off their actual roster.

Why it Works for Denver: This deal saves Denver six million in salary, which since Denver is well into tax territory, means that it actually saves the team 12 million. If Orlando tossed in the maximum 3 million in cash considerations, Denver has now saved 15 million, basically meaning that they get Vince Carter free for the rest of the season. Marcin Gortat is seen as a young center with great potential who’s only major fault is that he isn’t Dwight Howard. This probably isn’t a deal Denver makes today, but if in February the Nuggets know that Anthony is gone, then they will probably look to get something, anything, for him. Each day that passes, the offers for Anthony lose a little value, especially if he’s unwilling to sign an extension when traded. So, by February it will be about who’s willing to trade for Anthony even though they know he might leave in four months.

What makes it even better: This trade is a win for Orlando and it’s something Denver would never consider if they weren’t staring down the barrel of the losing your star for nothing gun, but think about how much better this deal would be for Orlando if they followed it up with this move…

Trade 4:

Orlando sends J. Nelson, R. Anderson, D. Orton, Malik Allen and the draft rights to F. Vazquez to Phoenix.
Phoenix sends S. Nash and G. Hill to Orlando.

Why it works for Orlando: Duh…

Why it works for Phoenix: It doesn’t, I mean not really. If I were on PTI playing odds makers, I would put the odds of Phoenix trading Nash this season at less than ten percent. I understand that they’ve made terrible moves that have relegated them to somewhere between the 7th and 9th seed in the West and that Nash is really the only asset they can move to jump start their rebuilding, but… I just don’t think that Robert Sarver signs off on trading his golden ticket this year. Maybe next summer, but even then I think it’s more likely that a trade comes sometime next season. Still, if they did decide to take the plunge and shop Nash, this isn’t the worst trade in the world. It gets them a good young forward in Anderson and two projects with upside in Orton and Vazquez.

Why those moves would just be insane: Just put aside reality and picture it for a minute: After those two trades, Orlando would have two months to get all those pieces on the same page, it might be too tall a task, but if they pulled it off then their lineup would look like this:

Starters:
PG – S. Nash
SG – G. Hill
SF – C. Anthony
PF – R. Lewis
C – D. Howard

Bench:
Guards: C. Duhon, J. Williams
Wings: J. Reddick, Q. Richardson, R. Balkman
Bigs: K. Martin, B. Bass

Since teams in the playoffs only ever go eight deep anyway, then the Magic would have Duhon spelling Nash for 15 minutes in the playoffs, Reddick coming in to spell Hill and Anthony (with Hill slipping to the three when Carmelo sits), and Martin covering the minutes of Howard and Lewis.

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Trading Albert Pujols for Ryan Howard…

March 14, 2010 Leave a comment

There’s a report on ESPN today that the Philadelphia Phillies have been having internal discussions about trading star slugger Ryan Howard to St. Louis for Albert Pujols. That’s strange, because I’ve been having internal discussions about trading my bicycle for a Ferrari. I mean, I think it would be a good deal for the local dealership, because my bike has a really nifty basket on the front and it even has a pink Barbie Bell.

I know, I know, Ryan Howard is a really great player. He’s an MVP, he’s averaged 49.5 HRs in his four full seasons, and he’s won three RBI titles. Plus, he’s only been in the majors for five years, so he has a long career ahead of him. Thus, if St. Louis has doubts about whether or not they can sign Pujols, it would be smart for them to swap him for Howard, right?

Well, actually no. It would probably be one of the worst trades St. Louis could make. Right off the top, much like Minnesota with Joe Mauer, I’d be surprised if St. Louis didn’t come to a deal with their iconic player. In the article Buster Olney (who, don’t get me wrong, is a great baseball writer) mentions that Howard is from St. Louis and that’s really great, but Pujols has been the best player in baseball for the last six years, while wearing a Cardinals uniform. That’s a little more relevant to fans than where a kid went to grade school. He also equates it to the Twins moving Johan Santana and the Jays moving Doc, but the difference is that in those scenarios, those teams knew they had to move a player who was absolutely going to leave the following winter. Thus far, there is no sense that the Cardinals will lose Pujols, so I would imagine that they’ve barely begun to ponder the doomsday scenario of having to get equal return for the best player in baseball.

Having said that, even were the Cards to decide that trading Pujols was the only recourse, then moving him for Howard makes no sense. When Howard was a young buck, he was blocked from joining the Phillies by Jim Thome. Why does this matter? Because despite only four full seasons, Howard is actually a few months older than Pujols.

Which brings us to the talent. Without hyperbole, Pujols is the best player in baseball (with apologies to Mauer, and Hanley Ramirez), while Howard is the most overrated player in baseball (with apologies to almost everybody that Dayton Moore signs). To the casual fan (or the fan still using the triple crown stats), Howard seems like the preeminent slugger in MLB. His four top five MVP finishes certainly prove that mainstream journalists think he’s pretty good, and that’s because Howard does two things really well. One he hits a lot of home runs. Two, he hits behind Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Chase Utley… what’s that? That’s not a skill that he has? Well, congratulations… You get it, now why can’t MVP voters?

Ok, yes I’m being a bit factious, but the RBI thing is so beyond debate at this point, that it’s kind of like arguing who won their breakup, Britney “I can’t find my underwear or my children” Spears or Justin “Dick in a Box” Timberlake.* Howard gets an inordinate amount of credit for hitting home runs, which is good, and batting behind Utley and company, which is contextual. He strikes out in record setting numbers, he doesn’t run the bases well, his defense is suspect (although much improved in 2009), and most importantly, he’s only average at getting on base.

*(If you’re new to this, then that’s fine, but lets just say that RBIs are what’s known as a context driven stat, so they don’t tell you much about someone as a hitter, other than that his teammates were on base. Want to know more? Well, it just so happens that the great and mystical Joe Posnanski wrote eight billion words on this topic yesterday)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that Howard isn’t a good player, certainly he is. It’s just that most Howard fans think those 140 RBI seasons mean he’s a top ten player in baseball, when he’s barely a top ten player at his own position (and since I know you’re going to argue this one, here’s an unofficial off the top of my head list: Pujols, Fielder, Cabrera, Teixeira, Gonzalez, Youkillis, Lee, Howard, Morneau, and Votto… although I might be forgetting someone and Votto might actually be too low). So, basically we have an inferior player, who’s slightly older, which would be fine, if Howard were signed to Evan Longoria’s contract (the best in baseball), but he’s not.

This year, King Albert will make 16 million, while Howard banks 19. Next year the Cardinals will have a 16 million option for Pujols, while the Phillies will be shelling out 20 million for Howard. Of course, the big reason that the Cards might have to move Pujols, is that in 2012, Albert is a free agent… but so is Howard.

I doubt that St. Louis has even considered the possibility of trading Pujols, let alone considering what they might want in return for him, but I can guarantee that unless Cards management wants to be looking for employment outside of baseball, there is no scenario in which they would consider moving Albert Pujols for Ryan Howard.

So, the Phillies can internally discuss it all day long, but that and five dollars will get them a coffee from Starbucks. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to bike downtown to pick up my new Ferrari…

Drops of Rain on the NBA…

February 14, 2010 Leave a comment

(Is there anything worse than writing 2000 words on the NBA trade deadline, predicated on how no trades have happened, not quite being able to finish it, going to work and while flipping burgers finding out that a trade happened? Well, probably, but I still am not re-writing this, so there…).

The NBA trade deadline is less than a week away and thus far it has been all quiet on the Western front (and the Eastern front as well). Rumors are flying around faster than brand new Toyotas, with names like Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Andre Igoudala, Marcus Camby, Antwan Jamison, Caron Butler, Michael Beasley, everybody on Detroit and everybody not named Rose or Noah on Chicago, being mentioned in speculation.

In many respects, this season is almost a perfect storm for potential trades. There are six or seven teams who believe that they have a legitimate shot at a title and thus would be willing to pick up a piece that puts them over the top. There are another 15 teams who think they might be able to make the playoffs, including franchises like Charlotte, Milwaukee, and Memphis for whom a playoff appearance would warrant making a deadline move. There’s also this little matter known as the pending Summer of LeBron (more on this next week), which has some franchises searching for that extra little cap room, like I search for change in the couch cushions. And, perhaps worst of all, there’s the pending economic doom, which has most of the teams trying their best to get under the luxury tax line.

And yet, until now there has been nothing. The quiet before the storm, just waiting for that first drop of rain. All of the NBA executives are together as the NBA celebrates itself this weekend in Dallas, so hopefully before Sunday night we will see some precipitation.

Or maybe all this storm potential is just that, potential and nothing will come to pass… but that’s just not as much fun to think about. So, lets do a little breakdown of the major players and maybe even a couple trades I’d like to see.

Five teams who have to buy:

1) Cleveland – What the Cavs need is to acquire a 25 year old allstar whom they can use to entice LeBron to re-sign, but assuming that New Orleans isn’t going to sending Chris Paul Cleveland’s way, then what the Cavs need is a stretch four to give LeBron (and too a much lesser degree Shaq) space. What they don’t need is Amare Stoudemire who has already shown to be a bad fit beside Shaq, but I’m just a fry cook for McDonalds, what the heck do I know.

2) Boston – The Celtics came in to this season thinking they’d shorn up their problems from last year, but Rasheed Wallace is twice the player he used to be (not in the good way) and the Big Three are beginning to look a little more like the golden girls. As rumor has it, the kids are acting like petulant teenagers by creating tension in the locker room, so despite championship aspirations, Boston is looking susceptible to a first round upset.

3) Dallas – Say what you want about Mark Cuban, but you know that if he can improve the Mavs, it will not matter what it costs to the bottom line. Look for Dallas to try to move Josh Howard who has become more interested in herbal supplements than basketball.

4) Portland – After losing both Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla in the span of a week, the Blazers have been looking to add a big man to match up with the Lakers’ size in the playoffs. Unfortunately, they have no interest in giving away any of their young pieces, so they will hope to entice a team looking to shed salary.

5) Orlando – The Magic made their big move in the Summer and while Vince has looked uncomfortable until this past week, I think they intend to forge ahead with this team, unless the Cavs were to add a piece, then you’d better believe that the Magic will match.

Five teams who have to sell:

1) Washington – This team is junk, honestly the stuff you dig out of the back of the garage junk. Over the last two years, they’ve paid close to a hundred and fifty million dollars to be the worst team in basketball. Seriously, the Nets are on the verge of becoming the worst single season team ever, but because they won 34 games last year, they still have more wins over the last two years than the Wizards. Obviously Gilbert Arenas isn’t going anywhere just now, but if they don’t move every other desirable player on their roster then the entire management team should be fired. No, I mean it, canned like tuna. What’s that? They want to keep Antawn Jamison? You mean the 33 year old who will make 28 million over the next two years? Seriously? You think he’s part of the rebuilding effort? Send him to Cleveland for the cap space, JJ Hickson, and a freakin’ draft pick. A 20 win team does not need a player like Jamison making the money he’s making. If management seriously thinks they should keep him, then whoever is owning this team when the late Abe Pollin’s estate is settled should come wielding dynamite and a hoover.

2) New York – It’s no secret that the Knicks are doing everything they can to move either Jared Jeffries or Eddy Curry, but of course those two are ridiculously overpaid (and in the case of Curry useless), so… if Donnie Walsh can move either of them, then Obama should have him come and work out a deal for health care…

3) Chicago – Unlike the Knicks, the Bulls have a legitimate chance to add two pieces this summer, but to do so, they need to first move Kirk Hinrich’s contract. Despite three years of mediocre performance and a nine million yearly salary, Hinrich is still desired by teams for his defense and the belief that he can shoot. The Lakers have been mentioned for weeks, but the defending champs’ management might need Cleveland to make a big move before they decide to tinker with what’s working.

4) Philadelphia – The 76ers were so desperate for attendance, that they brought Allen Iverson back in hopes that the former star would bring some butts to the arena, unfortunately it just made them the butt of the joke (ughhh…). Now, they are so desperate to clear salary that they are willing to move Andre Igoudala if someone will take Samuel Dalembert with him.

5) Indiana – Their payroll is 66 million and they’re in last place in their division. They have Troy Murphy, other teams want Troy Murphy… Yaaaaaaaawn… You get the picture.

Five teams who are sitting on the fence:

1) San Antonio – The Spurs made their big move this summer, by acquiring Richard Jefferson from Milwaukee. Thus far, that’s worked about as well as the hair plugs I’ve been using. Worse Manu Ginobili is a shell of his former self, and Tony Parker looks sluggish. So the Spurs need to decide whether they think they can rediscover their swagger, gel and compete for everything, or whether they want to back off and move some pieces to retool for the future.

2) Phoenix – The Suns are a strange case. On the one hand they’re cheaper than my Scottish uncle Murray, but on the other they occasionally do things like trading for the Big (Idea Stealing) Cactus. Thus, if they move Amare, we can’t be sure what that will mean. Will they move him for nothing (ie what Cleveland’s offering), for young guys (Miami’s Michael Beasley), or for an intriguing package of win-now talent (Philly’s Igoudala and Dalembert)?

3) Utah – The belief was that the Jazz wanted to move Carlos Boozer to get under the luxury tax, but they’ve maneuvered themselves close enough to the line that if they move Boozer, they might be looking for talent more than tax relief.

4) Detroit – After trading Chauncey Billups last year to get a bundle of cap space, this summer the Pistons used that room on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva… Yeah, only Joe Dumars is surprised that it hasn’t worked out. We know that they are trying to move Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, but are they looking to add significant pieces, or retool for the future?

5) Houston – Daryl Morey might be the best GM in the game, or maybe I just read too much Simmons. Either way, Morey might be looking to add the right guys to make a playoff run this year, or he might be looking to clear cap space for this summer. What we do know is that Tracy McGrady is very much available, which brings us to…

Five players that will move:

1) T. McGrady, Rockets – McGrady’s time with Houston is done. He has stopped traveling with the club and is just sitting at home wondering what’s next. Will New York convince Houston to take young pieces in a package that includes Jeffries? Will Philly give up Igoudala? Will American Idol survive without Simon? Who knows, only time will tell.

2) A. Stoudemire, Suns – There’s so much smoke surrounding Stoudemire that it’s beginning to seem that the Suns will move him. While the rumored Cleveland deal doesn’t make any sense to me, a trade with Miami for Michael Beasley and change benefits both teams.

3) M. Camby, Clippers – Now that Mike Dunleavy has fired himself, I can’t imagine he cares whether his interim successor has a defensive ace at his disposal. So look for the much in demand Camby to be moved for future help.

4) C. Butler, Wizards – Word around the league is that the Wizards are much more likely to move Butler than Jamison, but as I might have mentioned above, I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t move both of them.

5) K. Hinrich, Bulls – This is Hinrich’s PER from three years ago: 13.41. Outlier? Bad year? Battling an injury? What about last year? 13.97. Ok, well his defense brings some value, so as long as he’s close to that mark then he has value, so what is it this year? 10.47. Really? And still teams have interest in him? Ughhh…

Five deals I’d like to see:

Heat Get: A. Stoudemire (Suns).
Clippers Get: U. Haslem (Heat), E. Clark (Suns), D. Wright (Heat) and Miami’s 1st round draft pick.
Suns Get: M. Beasley (Heat), M. Camby (Clippers).

Nuts and Bolts: The Suns obviously want to move Stoudemire, so this deal allows them to give him up while possibly improving the team. Camby provides the shot blocking defensive presence they’ve never had, while Beasley gives them youth and helps replace some of the scoring they lose. The move is cost effective and provides flexibility this summer. For Miami, this is the stud they’ve been looking to pair with DWade, plus they shed a little more payroll for the summer. Finally, the Clippers keep the salary cap relief from Camby’s expiring deal, while also picking up a pick and a young forward with marginal potential.

Spurs Get: C. Maggette, V. Radmanovic, A. Randolph
Warriors Get: R. Jefferson

Nuts and Bolts: This trade is a no-brainer for the Spurs. They move Jefferson who just hasn’t managed to fit in, and in return they receive Randolph and Maggette, who is slightly overpaid, but is an underrated scorer. Randolph is the real prize. He might drive Popovich mad, but he’d also flourish into a potential allstar. Why would the Warriors do this deal? No idea. Who knows why the Warriors do anything…

Rockets Get: A. Jamison (Wizards), J. Jeffries (Knicks).
Wizards Get: C. Mobley (Knicks), J. Hill (Knicks).
Knicks Get: T. McGrady (Rockets).

Nuts and Bolts: This is the deal the Wizards should be making. Mobley’s contract is being paid by insurance and Hill is a rookie with some upside. The Knicks obviously are paying a steep price for cap space this summer, but that’s just the way it works. For the Rockets, they add a scorer and a multi purpose defender. It costs them space this summer, but with Jamison they probably make the playoffs this year, and his shooting makes him a perfect forward to have beside Yao next year.

Lakers Get: J. Calderon (Raptors)
Raptors Get: A. Igoudala (76ers)
76ers Get: D. DeRozan (Raptors), A. Wright (Raptors), J. Farmar (Lakers), A. Morrison (Lakers).

Nuts and Bolts: Calderon is a point guard who can actually hit an open jumper and while my grandma could drop 40 points on him, the Lakers have the defenders to compensate for that. For the Raptors it’s a bit of a gamble, as they give up a tremendously talented youngster in DeRozan, but Igoudala gives them a massive upgrade in the backcourt for these playoffs, and he also makes their case stronger this summer when they try to keep Bosh. Finally, while it doesn’t get rid of Dalembert, it’s a good deal for the Sixers, as it clears over 40 million from their payroll, and returns a young player who might one day be better than Iggy.

Suns Get: L. James (Cavaliers), K. Durant (Thunder), C. Bosh (Raptors).
Raptors Get: A. Stoudemire (Suns).
Cavs Get: J. Richardson (Suns).
Raptors Get: L. Barbosa (Suns).

Nuts and Bolts: What? You never dream of what you’d do with mind control powers?

Moving Amare…

February 2, 2010 Leave a comment

The conventional wisdom for the last year has been that the Suns were looking to move Amare Stoudemire, lest they lose him for nothing next summer. However, what if the reality is actually the opposite? What if the Suns are looking at moving Amare for fear that in June he decides to stay?

Yes, this summer there will be a litany of teams who strike out on the LeBron-Wade-Bosh troika and hastily rush to spend their money elsewhere, settling instead for the “Joe Dumars special”. And yes, until the market crashed Amare was seen as a max contract player, but… The NBA is different now.

Teams are legitimately more concerned with their bottom line than with their talent. Franchises are really struggling, not just to make money, but to avoid hemorrhaging money. Plus, there are also serious fears over what the next labor negotiations will do to the financial landscape in general and the cap specifically.* Amare, with his injury history, his questionable attitude and practice habits, and his severe allergy to rebounding and defense, is not the stud he once was.

*(For an excellent recap of the fears GMs have over what will happen to the salary cap after the current collective bargaining agreement expires, check out Ian Thomsen’s article on the pending labor negotiations.)

If teams start pinching pennies, Stoudemire might have real difficulty getting a max deal. Assume that Stern succeeds in implementing a hard cap (doubtful) or reducing the current cap (basically a guarantee) and simultaneously reduces the maximum contract dollar and length (both probable). All of the contracts signed this summer will be grandfathered in, but if the max number is going to significantly drop, then you’d better be sure you signed the right guy to be your grandfathered contract. I think there is a strong possibility that a GM will seriously rue having committed six years and a 130 million to a diminishing Amare.

Now, five years ago there was Isaiah Thomas, Kevin McHale, Rob Babcock, Billy Knight, and Wes Unsled who all would have ignored the signs and dropped a buck fifty on Amare, but now…? I don’t know. Maybe Chicago doesn’t get one of the big three and, wary of the PR hit of not using their cap space, dumps the truck in Amare’s yard. Yet, after the public lambasting that Dumars has taken for doing something similar last summer, GMs seem to understand better than ever the implication of cementing your cap space on the Charlie Villanueva’s of the world.

So, if Amare isn’t set up for a big pay day, might he take a one year deal and try to improve his stock for 2011? Because here’s the thing, Amare has a player option with the Suns for 16 million next season. Phoenix, the George Costanza of NBA teams, is well known for cutting costs at every corner, so what if the Suns are assessing the NBA landscape, seeing that the offers that Amare’s expecting might not exist, and fearing him picking up that option?

The Suns might be legitimately looking at moving Amare from a talent standpoint, but… I’m just saying that if you see Stoudemire traded before the deadline for Brad Miller and Jerome James, well…

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