A few weeks back I blogged that Cleveland was a top destination that we could very well see Amare Stoudemire end up before the trade deadline. Talks have escalated, a deal has become more serious, and yes the ESPN.com reports are in fact right on with the situation. The Suns are close to sending Amare Stoudemire to Cleveland in exchange for Zydrunas Ilgauskas and J.J. Hickson. But one thing ESPN reports won’t tell you is the major holdup in the discussions.
My sources close to situation tell me the hold up is Phoenix wanting Cleveland to also take on Jason Richardson in the swap. This amounts to three key problems in a successful scenario that both teams are willing to make.
1) The Suns dealing Richardson frees up more cap space but the Suns still would have to get additional player(s) back in order for the money to match.
2) Cleveland isn’t really interested in Richardson nor do they have the right players they’re willing to send to Phoenix to make the deal work.
3) This being the stand still issue has led Cleveland in search of a possible third team to become involved. As the search for a third party, Cleveland is remaining in talks trying to convince the Suns to take the current deal as the Cavs themselves could clear at least 10 million of the payroll, but my sources say they don’t think Phoenix would accept. The Cavs offer is still on the table for the Suns to agree upon.
Amare Stoudemire is the by far the most talented piece on the trading block that Cleveland could bring in for a championship run as well as use to help keep LeBron in his home state of Ohio this offseason. Obviously the first two teams that come to mind in a possible 3-team-deal are Philadelphia and Miami. It’s also worth noting that the talks between those teams with the Suns aren’t dead discussions, but they certainly are not as hot and as serious as the talks with Cleveland. If a trade with Cleveland were to occur (with or without Richardson), my sources say the Suns would immediately waive Ilgauskas which would allow him to resign with Cleveland. Believe it or not, one source even told me the Suns do think Hickson can be just as good if not better than Amare.
As for the Philadelphia and Miami talks, Amare to Philly is much more of a possibility then to Miami. Phoenix has yet to rule out getting Iguodala and Dalembert. But a source told me that holdup is also the Suns wanting to add Jason Richardson into the deal in which the Suns would also want Marresse Speights included into the deal. Adding Speights & Richardson is the main hold up in those discussions. Talks have surely cooled but aren’t dead yet.
The chances of Amare ending up in South Beach aren’t looking so hot for the Miami Heat. They proposed their best offers to Phoenix and have been shot down numerous times. The main problem is the Suns aren’t interested in Michael Beasley. The Suns pride themselves on their locker room type guys and Beasley definitely doesn’t fit that picture, especially when building a foundation for the future. (That’s why Hickson is so appealing to Phoenix, he’s a great locker room guy as well as a ballplayer).
The Bottom Line
The likelihood of Amare Stoudemire being traded before the deadline all depend of whether or not a team is willing to also take on Jason Richardson. One of my sources feels a trade without Richardson makes an Amare trade before the deadline, 50/50. An Amare trade which includes Richardson increases the chances to 70/30, but Richardson makes any deal that much more complicated.
As the complications and proposed deals continue to develop, you can be sure you’ll hear the latest close to the situation news right here from the OuttaTownClowns. Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter @outtatownclowns, or you can follow Ross Geiger, the author of this article @RossGeiger
Here’s a nice lil video of both Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire speaking upon the rumors during All Star Weekend