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Rumor: Suns Back In The David Lee Hunt? Should They Be?

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Just when you think the final chapter in Amar'e's departure has been written...

The latest rumor from our most reliable source, Mr. Coro of the venerable Arizona Republic (seriously, this Internet thing is fun and all but we would be lost without the newspapers), is that the Suns might be back in line to get David Lee.

As the rumor goes, the Suns would do a sign-and-trade with the Knicks that could land David Lee in Phoenix... or Chicago.

The Knicks benefit with a small bump in cap space by starting Stoudemire's contract at a lower first-year salary because the deal can have 10.5 percent raises via Phoenix rather than 8 percent raises if done by New York.

The key for any Lee sign-and-trade deal is Lee. He gets to pick where he wants to play, and part of that will be a salary negotiation process. If Lee's value on the open market is too high due to this crazy free agent summer situation so many teams are in, then the Suns should pass.

Five years for $70 million is too much for David Lee. If, however, his market value is closer to $50 million and he wants to play in Phoenix, then this could be a good deal for the Suns.

We just don't know at this point what kind of fat contract Lee can get from other teams such as the Bulls or Heat who might be desperate if Bosh doesn't give them The Rose in this giant game of Free Agent Bachelor. Other teams such as the Warriors and Timberwolves are also reportedly interested in Lee and could have much more appealing assets to send back to New York, as well.

It's a complicated situation with a lot of parties involved. A situation that really calls for an experienced and knowledgeable front office executive. Too bad the Suns don't have one of those right now.

At a minimum, the Suns could AND SHOULD be working with the Knicks to at least get a trade exception back for Stoudemire, which could be used down the road to acquire another player via trade even if the Suns are over the salary cap. For the Suns, who will likely end up just slightly over the salary cap, but well below the luxury tax, this could be a useful tool.

The problem seems to be that without a general manager and assistant general manager in Phoenix it would appear that no one understood the rules well enough to suggest a creative deal like this. At least that's what ESPN's John Hollinger asserts in this article (Insider).

There's certainly evidence to support Hollinger's theory, given the repeated word from the Suns (via reporting citing sources) that they were renouncing Amar'e's Bird Rights when, in fact, they had no need to do so at this point in the process. Those reports never made sense when they first came out a few days ago as the Suns could simply execute the sign-and-trade prior to signing Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick. The timing and details are complicated, but surely could be worked out.

One can only hope that Robert Sarver has at least engaged the consulting services of a cap expert who can make sure the Suns aren't leaving options unexplored. That would be a unfortunate outcome of the untimely departure of Steve Kerr and David Griffin.