Amar’e Stoudemire helps his soon-to-be former team out by agreeing to a sign-and-trade deal with New York, netting a $16.5 million trade exception which can be used partially on Amar’e-lite Hakim Warrick .
According to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic:
The Suns could use the trade exception over the next year to acquire a player of less than or close to the exception’s value (about $13.5 million after the Warrick deal is done) without having to send any Suns players in a deal.
It was expected that New York would receive a second-round pick in such an arrangement, as well as about $800,000 in extra salary cap space this year by being able to start Stoudemire’s contract at a lower first-year salary. By Phoenix signing Stoudemire before trading him, the contract can have 10.5 percent raises to get to the same $99.7 million total as he would have by signing with New York with eight percent raises.
Amar’e’s agent, Happy Walters, pointed out:
"We really did care about Robert (Sarver) and Alvin (Gentry) and the team and how we could help any way we could," Walters said. "It doesn’t give Amar’e any more money. He actually takes a pay cut in the first year of $800,000. It gives them flexibility and hopefully it helps them in the future."
Which can be translated as "See Arizona, Amar’e is a good guy."
Coro also reports that Lee may not be entirely off the table. If LeBron signs with the Knicks then the Suns still have a chance at landing Lee:
The Suns would have to do a sign-and-trade with New York before the Knicks signed James. Even then, they would have to outdo other suitors, who might be offering Lee more money or be offering New York a better package. Golden State was close to an agreement that would send Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike to New York but Lee would have to agree to going to the Warriors. Also, Phoenix is debating whether it would give Lee a contract averaging about $13 million annually like he wants. By comparison, Steve Nash will make $10.3 million this season.