Reports today were that the Suns offered Amare Stoudemire a deal that was fair and reasonable and both protected the team and gave Amare a legitimate opportunity to stay in Phoenix, which he had said was his goal all along.
All indications are Stoudemire rejected that in favor of a fully-guaranteed five-year contract with his former coach who never had a good relationship with him, on team with an empty roster.
As one friend tweeted me, "He wants to be the man on a team ... do you think he meant the ONLY man on the team?"
An initial four-year guaranteed offer was replaced by Robert Sarver on Thursday with a five-year offer with the final two years being guaranteed upon Stoudemire meeting very reasonable minutes goals. He would only have to average about 27 minutes per game to have those final years kick in.
Amare's averaged 34 minutes per game in his career, which means (at that average) he could have missed up to 17 games and still meet the incentive.
The Suns had said their biggest concern was Amare's long-term health given his medical history, which prevents his contract from being protected by insurance. They backed that up by (reportedly) making an offer that gave Amare the chance to earn his five years if he could stay on the court.
That he turned down that offer and appears to be nearing completion on a five-year contract with the Knicks shows that at the end of the day, money talks.
Amare's been a great player in Phoenix and a fantastic citizen. In my dealings with him, he's always struck me as a genuinely decent person who cares about his team and his fans. He's worked as hard as anyone in the league at getting better and I believe he wants to win. He just apparently wants a fully guaranteed contract more than he wants to try and continue to win in Phoenix.
The Suns did their best to keep him and to protect the franchise from a contract that could have dragged the entire organization down. Amare did what he felt he needed to do. I have no finger of blame to point in this.
I wish Amare nothing but the best; now it's time to move on.
Welcome to the Hakim Warrick era, may it only last one season until the Suns have cap space and flexibility to find another All-Star-caliber frontcourt player, which as the Chicago Bulls can tell you is easier said than done.