Multiple sources have reported that Amare and his Happy agent met for three hours yesterday with Alvin Gentry and Robert Sarver. They will meet again today in Los Angeles where Amare apparently has an office. That they meet so long and they continue to meet today is in fact a very interesting development.
The Arizona Republic reports that the Suns are offering four years at max salary (approx. $80m) which is certainly less than Amare could get in the open market. As a free agent, other teams can offer Amare a five year deal with 8 percent annual raises for a total of about $101m.
If the Suns were to offer Amare five years as well (approx. $104m) as the Republic reported the Suns might consider, then the ball would be in Amare's court to go out and try and get another team willing to give him six years (approx $132m).
The problem for Amare is that to get six years from another team, the Suns would have to be a willing participant in a sign-and-trade since only the Suns can offer Amare six years and 10.5 percent annual raises as opposed to a new team which can offer five years and 8 percent increases.
So basically for Amare the situation is this:
- If the Suns are only offering four years than Amare would clearly opt out and find another team that would give him five years with the 8 percent increases giving him about $18m more on the contract than the Suns offer
- If the the Suns are in fact willing to go to five years, than the situation becomes more complex for Amare because he would have to both find another team willing to give him six years AND get the Suns to agree to a sign-and-trade
The fact that these conversations are still going strongly implies that the Suns have in fact indicated their willingness to go to five years, otherwise there would be little to talk about.
Amare has teased Suns fans since his rookie season with periods of MVP level play followed by inexplicable slumps of inconsistent effort. For the past two years Amare has been on the trading block more times than we can count. And now, down to the final hours of the last act the tease continues.
The Suns have until 9pm Arizona time today to extend Amare or he becomes a free agent (unless he picks up the player option on the final year of his existing contract and chooses $17.7m for one year over the multiple year deals he's already been offered).
The good news for fans sick of the roller coaster is that one way or the other we will know for sure where Amare will be spending the next few years within a couple of days.
Until that happens, everything else is just reading the tea leaves and sorting through the disinformation being spread by both camps.