The Amar'e Stoudemire Saga: Phoenix Suns Are 'Plan A'

Amar'e made it clear today that his loyalty lies with the Phoenix Suns - but only if they pay him as much as possible.

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STAT Calls An Extension With Phoenix 'Plan A' And Gives More Ambiguous Hints

Near the end of his basketball academy in Gilbert, Amar’e Stoudemire dropped a few more ambiguous hints at his future plans, though there were a few juicy morsels to be chewed on.

A few of the sexier bits:

“It sounds like the Suns definitely want to make an effort. I’m just not sure what type of effort. They’re definitely looking to keep me around. So we’ve just got to figure out what the proper math is.”

“My loyalty is here with the Phoenix Suns. Once free agency starts and teams are offering me X amount of dollars, then I would definitely say, ‘You know what, Phoenix? These guys are offering this much. So if you guys want to step up to the plate, we can hit a home run.’ If not, then I could settle for an inside-the-park home run. Just as long as I make it home.”

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Grant Hill Exercises Player Option

Grant Hill made it very clear at his final meeting with the local media that he would be staying. True to his word, Hill is staying for the final year on his contract which will earn him $3.3m according to Hoops Hype.

Here is the official release from the Phoenix Suns:

16-Year NBA veteran to remain in Phoenix uniform for 2010-11 season

  PHOENIX - Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill has exercised the one-year player option on his contract and will return to Phoenix for the 2010-11 season, the club announced today. 

"We're thrilled that Grant has decided to exercise his option and return to the Suns next season," said Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr.  "He is a critical part of our success, both because of his skill as a player and also his leadership and professionalism that help guide our team.  Grant sums up what the Phoenix Suns are all about."

The 6-8, 225-pound forward is coming off a 2009-10 regular season in which he averaged 11.3 points and 5.5 rebounds, his highest rebounding average since 2002-03 and his most total rebounds (445) in a single season since 1999-00.  In the playoffs, Hill averaged 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds, second-most on the squad, in the Suns' run to the 2010 Western Conference Finals, the deepest postseason run of Hill's career.

"The decision to stay in Phoenix was easy," said Hill.  "Our team's success on the court last season was the result of the efforts of a great group of guys and I'm looking forward to building on that with them and being a part of this team next season."

"Last year, Grant explored free agency before ultimately deciding to return to Phoenix," said Hill's agent, Lon Babby.  "This season has been so gratifying for him and for the Suns that he wanted to act quickly to confirm that he will remain in Phoenix.  He looks forward to building on this season's success."

            The remarkably durable Hill, who has appeared in 163 of a possible 164 regular season games the last two seasons, is one of only 14 NBA players who have done so in that span.  After playing all 82 games in 2008-09 for the first time in his career, Hill then saw action in the first 46 contests of 2009-10, a string of 128 consecutive games, the second-longest of his career (161, Nov. 18, 1997-Jan. 22, 2000).

A 16-year NBA veteran and seven-time All-Star, Hill has played his last four seasons in Phoenix, averaging 12.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists while playing 233 of a possible 246 regular season games (94.7 percent).  Hill last season became just the 18th active player in the NBA to score 15,000 career points.

Hill is a three-time winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award (2004-05, 2007-08, 2009-10), the only player in league history to earn the honor multiple times.  Hill was also the winner of the Suns' 2007-08 Dan Majerle Hustle Award. 

Originally the third overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft by the Pistons, Hill emerged as one of the NBA's brightest young stars and shared NBA Rookie of the Year honors with Jason Kidd. He became the first rookie ever to lead an NBA All-Star fan balloting in 1994-95 with 1,289,585 votes.  Hill has been named to an All-NBA Team five times, including First Team once (1996-97) and All-NBA Second Team four times (1995-96, 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-00). 

A member of the 1996 United States Olympic Team where he helped "Dream Team III" capture the gold medal in Atlanta, Hill played his first six NBA seasons with the Pistons (1994-00) and the following seven with the Orlando Magic (2000-07) after being dealt by Detroit on Aug. 3, 2000.

The former Duke alum helped the Blue Devils win back-to-back NCAA Championships in 1991 and 1992 and is the only child of Janet and Calvin Hill.  Hill is married to R&B singer Tamia, a four-time Grammy-nominated recording artist, and the couple has two daughters, Myla Grace and Lael Rose.

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