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Rumor: Amare Not Top Target In New Jersey

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Just as reliable as Phoenix temperatures exceeding 100 degrees for the next three months, the Amare free agent rumors will be heating up as well.

The latest is this tiny bit of gruel out of New Jersey:

Boozer/Wesley Johnson package deal to Nets? - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN
The selection of Johnson would be a strong tip-off, sources say, that New Jersey will be chasing Boozer hardest when free agency commences, ahead of potential targets such as Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire.

From a Suns perspective, the more teams that don't want Amare, the better. It seems pretty clear that the plan in Phoenix is to sit back and wait and see if teams really are going to offer Amare the full six-year max deal.

Here's a quick recap of how things could play out, assuming (as seems most likely) that Amare becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1:

1) Best case - no other team offers Amare more than the four-year deal that the Suns reportedly feel is fair. If offers from other teams are low enough, Amare very well could choose to stay in Phoenix for a matching offer.

2) Worst case - another team offers Amare the max, which would be five years and 8% annual increases and Amare signs elsewhere and the Suns get nothing in return.

3) Mid case - multiple teams are vying for Amare and to get him are willing to do a sign-and-trade with Phoenix so Amare can take advantage of the Suns Bird Rights and get a six-year deal with 10.5% annual increases. In this case, the Suns would at least get something in return for Amare's departure, even if it's just a trade exception which can be used to go over the salary cap to acquire another player via trade.

As for Amare being seen at last night's Diamondbacks game wearing a NY Yankees hat ... well, that's nothing new. I've seen Amare wear that cap many times. Like many misguided people, he's a Yankee's fan.