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Amare Stoudemire Opts To Opt Out And Seek Max Deal, Maybe

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As with everything Amar'e Stoudemire says, there's a grain of salt that needs to be ingested with the consumption of said sayings.

In this case, however, Stoudemire seems fairly clear about one thing: he will not be picking up the option he holds for the final year of his contract, which would pay him ~$17.7m next year.

He told reporters at his basketball camp today:

Twitter / Sports 620 KTAR: Intrepid @ Amare's basketb ...
Intrepid @ Amare's basketball camp: "There's no chance of that at all" referring to him picking up his player option next season.

Twitter / Paul Coro: Stoudemire said there is " ...
Stoudemire said there is "no chance" that he will play next season for the option year of his existing contract with Phoenix.

This comes as surprise to absolutely no one. It never made sense that Stoudemire would pick up that final year and risk missing out on the biggest free agency spending bonanza in the history of the known universe. He might have hinted at picking up that option in the middle of the trade deadline silliness, but no one really believed that was more than a negotiating tactic.

Opting out of the final year of his deal makes Stoudemire a free agency as of July 1st. Here's where things start to get murky.

The official tweet suggests that he supposed that he might have a deal done before July 1st:

@Amareisreal said that his deal could be done before July 1

But the only way that happens is if he signs an extension and doesn't become a free agent. The max extension the Suns can give him to his current deal would be three years in addition to that final year that he just said he was opting out of. That's a bit of semantics, but the reality is that an extension gets him four more years, while as a true unrestricted free agent, he can go for the max -- six years.

Here's what he had to say about that:

Twitter / Paul Coro: Stoudemire said extension ...
Stoudemire said extension negotiations with the Suns are planned. "It's only right to look for a maximum contract," he said.

Twitter / Sports 620 KTAR: Intrepid @ Amare's basketb ...
Intrepid @ Amare's basketball camp: was asked if Suns offered max $$ + max yrs would he sign w//Suns, "theres a very great chance of that"

So what have we learned today?

In summary, we learned that Stoudemire won't be picking up the final year on his existing contract without some kind of longer term deal in place with the Suns. That's news in the sense that it's the first time he's said it that clearly, but not news in the sense that we all knew it would go down this way.

As for the max contract? Well, of course he's going to try and get the most money he can and in this free agency climate, with so many teams having so much money to spend, he's probably going to get such an offer.

It will be up to the Suns to decide if they want to offer the max and if not, they will have to negotiate the best sign-and-trade deal possible. Stoudemire can only get a six-year true "max" deal from another team if it's part of sign-and-trade where he first signs with the Suns and is immediately traded to another team.

In short, stay tuned because it's going to be a bumpy ride for the next four to six weeks until this all resolves itself one way or another.


If you want more background on why Amare had to opt out, read this - I wrote it back in February.