NBA Trade Rumors: Cavaliers Talking To Suns About Amare Stoudemire

Amare StoudemireThe NBA trade rumors are only going to heat up from here, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are sure to be included in many/most of the rumors out there. We’ve seen beat writers across the country report time and again that the Cavaliers are being the most active team in seeking out a trade to improve this team before the playoffs. The Cavaliers have the assets (expiring contracts) and the desire to get something done, and now they just need to find a willing trade partner. And that’s where Danny Ferry may once again look no further than his good friend Steve Kerr.

Brian Windhorst of the Plain Dealer first brought this to our attention in Ohio last night via Twitter, but Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic is reporting the Cavaliers and the Phoenix Suns have had some discussions about a trade to send Amare Stoudemire to Cleveland. In that article in the Arizona Republic, Paul Coro certainly doesn’t make it sound like a potential trade is eminent or even likely, but the thought is interesting none the less. Coro writes:

“A league source said Golden State, Minnesota and Cleveland have shown interest in acquiring Suns power forward Amare Stoudemire.

Major hang-ups in a possible deal are the Suns’ need to get good value in return and the other team’s need to feel secure in knowing it has a chance to keep Stoudemire, who can opt out of his contract this summer.

Stoudemire has said he wants to play for a title contender but prefers to stay with the Suns, who met with his agent Thursday.”

As with most trades, there are reasons to like it and reasons to dislike it, and that’s without even questioning the likelihood of such a deal getting done. Windhorst wrote a follow up piece early this morning in which he discusses some of the reasons why a trade for Stoudemire might work for both teams. Paul Coro mentioned that the Suns need to take back good value, and that’s something the Cavaliers can’t afford to part with right now. But Windhorst touches on the financial implications of this trade and why it could be appealing for Phoenix.

The biggest reason I have doubts about this trade happening, though, is because of the fact that Amare is an expiring contract himself. This is why the Suns have to get value back for him. Otherwise, why not just wait and see if you can sign him? Well, the simple answer would be that if they feel Amare is going to leave anyway, then why not try to get whatever you can in return for him? Phoenix is currently 26-19 and 7th in the Western Conference. Blowing up a playoff team is always a bold move, but if the Suns feel they’re not realistic title contenders, then perhaps starting over is one acceptable alternative to riding out in mediocrity.

From Cleveland’s standpoint, though, trading for Amare would be especially risky seeing as how he could walk away at the end of this season. Is it worth giving up JJ Hickson for a couple months’ rental of Stoudemire? I’m not certain it is. The Cavaliers of course would love a guarantee from Stoudemire that he would re-sign in Cleveland, but Amare’s probably not going to do that unless he gets a similar guarantee from LeBron, and we know that’s just not going to happen.

For Amare, then, there are a couple reasons to still agree to stay in Cleveland. One, he would have to feel that even if LeBron left, the team could still win with a core of Amare, Mo Williams, Delonte West, Anderson Varejao, Anthony Parker, Leon Powe, Jamario Moon, Daniel Gibson, and Jawad Williams. And before anyone thinks the Cavs could still sign a free agent with the money they saved from losing LeBron, they couldn’t because that money would be going to Amare instead and the Cavaliers will not have much, if any, cap space this off season.

Which brings us to reason #2 for Amare to still stay in Cleveland, and that would be his Bird Rights. A trade for Stoudemire would send his Bird Rights to Cleveland with him, meaning the Cavaliers would have the ability to offer more money and more years to Amare than anyone else. In a year where the salary cap (and thus, max contract values) are going to decline, re-signing with the team who has your Bird Rights is an especially appealing option. So if Amare were to feel comfortable with the Cleveland roster even without LeBron (and I’m by no means suggesting he would be), then perhaps if the Cavaliers promised him a max Bird Rights contract he would give his word in return to stay in Cleveland.

These of course are all hypothetical scenarios and we have no insight into where Amare’s mindset is on this matter. But if the Cavaliers need a promise from Amare to stay, those are some reasons he might consider it without a promise in return from LeBron. From Cleveland’s standpoint, though, this could be an opportunity to lock up a young superstar to even further entice LeBron to stay in Cleveland. For the Cavaliers this deal would be a no-brainer.

Amare Stoudemire, for all his weaknesses on the defensive end, is an elite scorer from both the PF and the C position. He’s not a great post player, but he is one of the best big men in the game at working off the ball. For all the times we’ve seen LeBron hit JJ Hickson with a great pass, only to see JJ fumble around with the ball or try to put it on the ground first before going up, this deal would give the Cavaliers one of the best finishers off the pick and roll in the league. My mind is literally spinning at the thought of watching LeBron and Amare operate off the pick and roll for years to come. It would be a lethal 1-2 punch and would add some dynamics to the Cleveland offense.

Furthermore, Amare is able to create his own baskets at the rim even when he’s not just the recipient of a pass off the pick and roll. He attacks the rim with a certain ferociousness and he draws fouls en masse. In fact, this season he is drawing fouls on 18.2% of his FG attempts, which is higher than anyone on the Cavaliers other than Shaq. Unlike Shaq, however, Amare is a very solid free throw shooter, having hit on more than 80% of his attempts in 3 of the last 4 years (although he is down quite a bit to 75.7% this season).

Amare is by no means a great rebounder, having never averaged more than 10 rebounds per game in his career despite playing for a team that consistently ranks at the top of the NBA in possessions per game. However, he’s not really a poor rebounder either. Just more of an average rebounder. This season he is averaging 8.9 rebounds per 36 minutes (for comparisons sake, JJ Hickson is at 8.0 and Varejao is at 9.3). So essentially the Cavaliers would be getting an elite scorer who could help provide even more easy baskets for Cleveland and open up things for the outside shooters even more. Plus, they would be getting an adequate at best rebounder.

None the less, for the Cavaliers this is something they shouldn’t pass on if it really is a viable option. For anyone who mentions the fact that Shaq and Amare were a terrible match in Phoenix where they still had a great setup man in Steve Nash, I hear you. I really do. But this is a big picture opportunity that transcends more than just one matchup. This is setting up the Cavaliers’ future while also adding some firepower for the present. I have my doubts about these trade talks ever getting too serious, but if Phoenix ever does start to get serious about moving him, I like the Cavaliers’ chances. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting this morning that the Pistons, Bulls, Heat, 76ers, and Nets are also teams with interest in Amare, but the fact is that Stoudemire controls his own destiny here, because I doubt any team will trade for him without a promise he will stay. So from that standpoint, Amare controls his destination and I’ll put the Cavaliers’ current situation up there with any of those teams. For now, though, I will continue to keep an eye on this rumor with guarded skepticism.


(AP Photo/Matt York)

  • Jack

    Could Ferry/Kerr be the new McHale/Ainge?

  • Tom63

    If were talking big picture, if Amar’e comes to the Cavs and agrees to a long-term contract, I don’t think its possible that LeBron leaves.

  • TBrown

    Please let this happen. Please.

  • Joe H

    I’ll pass on this one

  • Chris

    I’m a little concerned about a 26 year old with microfracture surgery getting a huge contract. I like Stoudemire a lot, but doesn’t anyone see the potential for something along the lines of a Gilbert Arenas disaster?

  • Eric D

    Obviously I would love to have amare, but would we really want to give a max deal to the guy? He’s already had microfracture surgery and the eye problems. And what are we talking about dealing? Z’s expiring and Jickson or could we do a Wally sign and trade?

  • Scott

    If PHX is willing to work, Ferry has no choice but to make this move. No other All-Stars under the age of 27 will be available between now and the deadline.

  • Stinkfist

    screw Hickson, Id give up Varejao and Gibson if we could get Amare and Lebron to sign for 4+ years

  • Scott

    FWIW, the whole “sign and trade Wally” thing looks to have dried up now that he took an analyst gig.

  • Oppie

    Salivating. I agree with what Tom is saying. If you get another elite type player to add to guys like Mo Williams, Delonte West and AV, there’s no way Lebron could justify leaving, unless his ultimate goal isn’t about winning a championship as he’s said it is.

    He would get the most money in Cleveland, plus Cleveland would offer the best roster of any other team in free agency, outside the extreme hypothetical of getting DWade, Bosh, and LBJ on the same roster.

  • Andrew

    For everyone who might wonder about trading Wally, Windhorst makes it sound like that’s not gonna happen: []

    (Scott edit: Et tu, Rock?)

  • mike

    technically, amare could “walk away” but wouldnt sign and trade options still be in play? one would think amare would be open to a sign and trade possibility to get more money, no?

  • Andrew

    Also, the injury concerns people have are more than fair. It’s an issue for sure. But I can’t sit here and justify the Cavs doing nothing, especially when a talent of Amare’s magnitude is available. I’m of the opinion that this is a risk worth taking.

  • Stinkfist

    One thing I forgot, and no one has mentioned yet. Amare wants to be the star more than he wants to win. First, that mentality scares me, but second… if he can be a star on a contender, he would do that over being #2 behind the Chosen One/King James/LBJ MVP. That said, I would still give up Varejao and his frontcourt defense if we could guarantee 4 years from LBJ and Amare

  • J-Dub

    I thought they had their hearts set on a big guy who can stretch the floor? I love the idea of him running the court with LBJ, but it almost seems to me that a Jamison would help us more.

    What about Amare’s knee? Didn’t he have a fairly major surgery on it that is known to shorten careers?

  • Ricky

    I agree with Scott 100%. Its rare that all stars under 27 are available ever, let alone between now and the deadline. I’m actually not worried about Shaq and Amare coexisting, it would probably work better here than in PHX because we run less (or not at all), and Cavs the Blog this morning outlined why Amare and Shaq actually did work out well together. Shaq plays less now than last year anyways. I’m very skeptical that this happens, because we heard about this last year too, but if its possible, we have to get him

  • TBrown

    Besides the immediate implications (Ama’re would take us a step closer to a championship this year), just getting the guy would show LeBron that we’re serious about surrounding him with talent and giving him every opportunity to win in Cleveland. And if we win a ring, I doubt either of those guys would go anywhere in the offseason.

  • DocZeus

    If you told me we traded for Amare (Is he not using the superflous hypen anymore?) Stoudemire last, I would’ve been running circles around my apartment. This year? If he’s seriously on the market then he’d be the best player available not named Chris (Bosh or Paul) but I’d be torn for reasons that are not entirely logical.

  • Chris

    Problem solved:

    (No, I’m not insane enough to believe this will work)

  • Harv 21

    An alternative idea of what this may be about: Ferry may be putting pressure on the Wizards to work with him now on getting Jamison or risk losing a very good trade option. Ferry seems to be good at keeping negotiations under his hat, and this may be just for show.

  • Swig

    Since there is an established culture in Cleveland (hard work, defense, etc) backed by the star player I am less worried about Amare’s defense and/or attitude. They last couple years have shown star players are capable of buying into systems/philosophies if it results in winning.

    IF Amare is fine with being #2 it would work here.

  • Matt

    John Krolik over at Cavs the Blog had an excellent writeup of the trade..for all those looking for a “stretch” 4, Amare actually fits the bill..besides being the best pick and roll scoring big in the league, Amare has developed an extremely effective outside jumper..for long 2-point jumpers, his efg is actually better than Jamison (though, granted, he doesn’t have Antawn’s 3 point range)…this gives me hope, since Amare has drawn so much (deserved) criticism for not being a good defender…however, when he came in the league, he couldn’t shoot at all, yet he has worked hard on his jumper to make himself a complete offensive player…i would be willing to bet that when placed on an elite defensive outfit like the Cavs, he would work on his defense (an aspect of the game that Phoenix hasn’t really cared about in the SSOL era)…Z (with a buyout) plus JJ plus a first rounder (or two) for Amare….no question we have to pull the trigger

  • EZ

    I really don’t understand the whole “Amare wouldn’t play somewhere as the #2” thing. Does anybody in the NBA think the Suns aren’t Steve Nash’s team?

  • TBuck

    @ #19 Chris

    You wanna get nuts, c’mon let’s get nuts

    Sorry can’t seem to link it!

  • TBuck

    Oh. maybe I can.

  • DKH

    This thread did make me fear the offensive firepower of a LeBron/Amare pairing, but I still don’t want this trade. Stoudemire is a pretty big defensive liability, and we’ll see a lot of reboundable balls go to the other team (more than we’d have with any pairing of Shaq, Z, and Andy). He doesn’t fit with the team’s culture, and he starts to make noise when that happens (see Marion/Stoudemire a couple years ago; Stoudemire’s lucky that he was the one who got to stay in Phoenix). I don’t want that sort of nonsense to happen while the Cavs are working on a playoff run.

  • Swig

    @EZ, Nash is the biggest star, but he didn’t game fame by scoring, so they can co-exist. Plus Nash is on the way out, so Amare could see a future where he is the #1.

    /making up thoughts for people I don’t know

  • EZ

    We really have to talk about what we’re getting v what we’re losing. Assuming a Z buyout (which, given the nature of the trade and of the current Suns line-up I can’t imagine that they’d keep him) we’re trading Hickson and a high 20s first rounder for Amare Stoudemire. Hickson’s defense and rebounding don’t really project to be higher than where Amare is now and can anyone really say they predict JJ’s offense to approach where Amare is right now? Is JJ going to be an All-Star?

    We’re picking up a young front court presence a year before both of our aging centers are expiring. I can’t find a problem with this.

  • mike

    with apologies to Sasha Pavlovic, amare’s defense is his defense.

  • mike

    with apologies to Sasha Pavlovic, amare’s offense is his defense.

  • Sype

    If Lebron does leave, as much as we convince ourselves its impossible, the Cavs will take a huge risk in building a team around a PF/C with persisting injuries.

  • stin4u

    I’m not sure how I feel about this depending on who we’d have to give up. The knee is really scary to me….see Tracy Mcgrady/Gilbert “my number is the amount of games i’m likely to play” Arenas. On top of that there is always the chance Amare comes here based on the fact he says he’ll stay with the team and we get bam-Boozer’d again. I like the idea of what this would put on the floor for us but it puts me a little outside of my comfort zone.

  • Mike

    @15 – I believe that Jamison would be a better fit if the Cavs chose to keep their offense essentially the same – he’s an easy fit to what they want to do.

    But if the coaching staff was willing/able to adjust the offense and the overall gameplan to better take advantage of Stoudemire’s skill set, then I think he could help the Cavs create nightmares of opposing teams.

  • Rick

    Since the surgery hasn’t Amare’s knee been fairly durable? He missed time because of his eye injury last season, an injury that nearly blinded him actually. But his knee hasn’t given him trouble that I can find a report on.

  • Matt

    you’re right: while Amare will probably never regain his initial explosiveness, he has become rather durable and now boasts an extremely complete offensive game. In effect, the injury forced him to adapt from simply a high flyer to someone with range and an extremely affective pick and roll scorer…so the injury actually helped his overall offensive game…

  • Pingback: NBA Trade Rumors: Finnan on Amare and Jamison | WaitingForNextYear()

  • Tsunami

    Yeah draft picks aren’t even as useful to us since we are never going to get a good draft pick as long as we have LeBron.

    I would never in a million years trade Varejao (he is invaluable to the team) but I would traded Z (to buy him out). If I had to throw in Hickson I guess I would (although I think he has stud potential in 3 years).

    If the Cavs could get it to work, this would be a fairly lethal offensive team.

    Suddenly you have the best offensive SF in the NBA, one of the best offensive PG in the league, and one of the best offensive PF in the league. Couple that with a team that is defensive minded – and you could have a juggernaut if Amare can buy into the system.

  • boogeyman

    It’s only fair I mean Danny Ainge had Kevin McHale so why shouldn’t Danny Ferry have Steve Kerr? 😉

  • http://msn tom

    Take him now. He is so inconsistant and his defensive skills are pathetic.He could very well be a great ball player but needs to get over himself.

  • boss

    if he goes to the cavs wit lebron then they would be a playoff team. its inevitable

  • Renaldo

    The Cavs are STUPID if they are willing to give up Z,Shaq and JJ Hickson for an injured Amare. I can defend all three of them:

    SHAQ:Didnt they get shaq because they needed a big body to guard Dwight Howard?? Amare cant handle Dwight. Too small. :)

    ILLGAUSKAS:Illgauskas is old, but is perfect for the team because he can step out of the paint and let Lebron do his dunking thing. He can shoot consistently from mid range AND beyond the arc.Amare cant shoot like Z. So he would have to get his points form the paint, just like Shaq is doing now. And that’s OK. But when the playoffs come, Shaq isn’t going to be there to contain Dwight Howard. Superman’s going to dunk all on Amare.

    JJ Hickson: JJ has really stepped up this season. He just going to get better. Why get rid of him when he’s improving drastically??

    In conclusion, Amare is a great player, but just not the right fit for Cleveland. They made lots of changes last off season JUST for facing Orlando again in the playoffs. Shaq is needed to defend dwight, Z is needed for his shooting, and JJ is getting WAY better. WHY CHANGE THE BEST TEAM IN THE NBA???????

  • fern dog

    Cleveland is going to need all the help they can get because if they make it to the finals which i doudt the lakers are going to put them to sleep lakers1.kobe the best four championships going on five.

  • fern dog

    lakers 1