Thursday , Sep , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Amar’e Stoudemire on leaving Phoenix: ‘I wanted an NBA deal’

Managing Partner Robert Sarver offered him a five-year, $96.6 million contract with $56 million guaranteed and the rest kicking in if Stoudemire logged significant minutes in the third and fourth years.

"The greater goal was to have a sense of security. I didn’t want a football deal (with some or all of the money non-guaranteed). I want a NBA deal. That’s what I ended up getting."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: His thriftiness will finally benefit the Phoenix Suns.

For years, owner Robert Sarver hasn’t invested in his team. Initially, he had alligator arms, but recently his banking and real estate empire was hit by the financial downturn.

Bottom line: the Suns patriarch let Joe Johnson leave because he didn’t want to pay him market value and first round draft picks were given away because he wouldn’t fork out for rookie contracts.

Such an approach has hurt. Johnson is an excellent player, who righted the morbid Atlanta Hawks. The draft picks have materialized into established pro Rudy Fernandez and star Rajon Rondo.  

But Sarver was right not to break the bank for Amar’e Stoudemire, though. Sure, STAT is an athletic freak and perennial All-Star.

Still, $100 million is too much for a forward who treats defense like a contagious disease and has a history of injuries. A partially guaranteed contract made sense -even if the pogo-stick post left for the New York Knicks. 

The jury is out on Stoudemire’s replacements, though. Channing Frye is talented, but inconsistent; Turkoglu, while skilled, had a sub par 2010 with Toronto; and Warrick has never fulfilled his potential.

Sarver and the front office are thinking Turkoglu and Warrick will improve because of Steve Nash and the Suns’ up-tempo system. They’re also hoping Frye produces more regularly.   

This trio of forwards may or may not work out. However, the Suns believe they’re less of a risk than overpaying Stoudemire.

–Oly Sandor.

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