Phoenix's best move: not trading Amar'e Stoudemire
The Quick Hit: In the cut-throat, win-now, 24-7 news cycle world of professional basketball, NBA teams face intense pressure from fans to tinker, tweak, and, occasionally, blow-up the roster.
For instance, the Phoenix Suns, partly because of fan outcry, had been flip-flopping on whether to move Amar'e Stoudemire. Hours before the February 18th trade deadline, the club told their superstar he wouldn’t be changing areas codes. Then, at the last minute, the Houston Rockets made an offer: Shane Battier, Luis Scola and draft picks for Stoudemire.
After much deliberation, Phoenix refused. As their 10-3 record since the trade deadline shows, sometimes the best moves are the ones never made.
Face it: Stoudemire is perfect for Seven Seconds or Less. There’s no expectation to defend and he can take all the shots he likes. Most importantly, his highlight reel game gets top billing for a cult favourite team capable of winning fifty games, but not an NBA Title.
Together, they’re a great guilty pleasure; an afternoon matinee, just not an Oscar winner.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, especially since Phoenix is a have-not franchise in today’s polarized NBA. Without the resources to compete and until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached, this is the best they can hope for.
The complication is that Stoudemire can exercise a player’s option and become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Owner Robert Sarver is financially strapped, so a Max’ deal with all the bells and whistles is unlikely.
Stoudemire should realize he's good, but not good enough to be The Man on any team or situation. Consider if he had been traded to Houston; his defense would’ve frustrated Coach Rick Adelman; his me-first offensive game would have alienated teammates; and eventually he would have been an unhappy third fiddle behind Kevin Martin and Yao Ming (when he returns from injury).
Perhaps, this wonderful Saturday matinee ends July 1st with Stoudemire leaving the Suns. Hopefully, both player and team realize they’re a match and agree on a fair extension.
Admittedly, the future is unknown in Phoenix. By not pulling the trigger on the Stoudemire deal, they showed, in the short-term, that sometimes the best moves are the ones never made.
Got thoughts on Phoenix not trading Stoudemire to Houston at the trade deadline? Was this non-trade best for both teams? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts. Photo courtesy of skewB.