I’ve already made my thoughts on Amar’e Stoudemire pretty clear. I believe there are flaws in his game and I would really hate for the Bulls to give him a huge, long-term contract. And I’m not the only person who doesn’t think STAT is worth a max payday.
Could Stoudemire help the Bulls? Absolutely. The Bulls need a frontcourt scorer, and Amar’e would fill that need. Adding him to the roster would make the Bulls a better team…but almost certainly not as good as they could be.
Just look at Stoudemire’s performance against the Lakers in the 2010 Western Conference Finals. Sure, he scored 25.0 PPG on 52 percent shooting while earning almost 12 free throw attempts per game. That said, his efforts were rather one dimensional.
Amar’e is the biggest, strongest, most athletic member of the Suns, but he averaged only 6.0 RPG versus L.A. In the Suns’ four losses, he grabbed 3, 6, 4, and 4 rebounds. In Game 6, during which the Suns were eliminated, Stoudemire finished with 2 defensive rebounds. Mind you, this was the biggest game in the biggest series of his life.
These things concern me.
What’s more, Amar’e dished out only 3 assists (versus 16 turnovers) in the series, including zero assists over the final four games. The only thing he had eyes for was the rim. To a certain extent, that’s understandable. After all, scoring is his primary duty. But Stoudemire faced or dribbled into a lot of double and triple coverage over those six games. When that happened, he was thinking “shoot” and not “hey, maybe one of my teammates is open now.”
Again, these things concern me.
Of course, it may not matter for the Bulls.
After the Suns were eliminated on Saturday night, Stoudemire told Fanhouse: “I didn’t know how to feel. As I was walking out, I was thinking it could be my last time walking through this tunnel with the Suns uniform on. I’ve been here my whole career, so I definitely had that feeling. But there’s a good possibility that I may be back.”
Stoudemire added that staying in Phoenix is “the ultimate plan, that’s the goal. But if it doesn’t happen that way, then on to Plan B.”
What’s Plan B? Well, check out these facts: Amar’e is from Florida, has a house in Miami and says he’s friends with Dywane Wade. And we all know the Heat have even more money to play with than the Bulls do. I’m just sayin’.
Of course, Stoudemire isn’t the only free agent with ties to South Florida…
Let’s see: Boozer’s family lives in the Miami area. Also, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinal, “Boozer speaks regularly with Arison, the Heat’s vice president of basketball operations Nick and son of Heat owner Micky Arison.”
Furthermore, Boozer told the South Florida Sun-Sentinal: “Me and D-Wade are really close. One of our good friends is [Heat coach] Erik Spoelstra. He comes to talk to our camps.”
So not one but two big name free agent big men seem to have eyes for Miami. Which also effects Wade, who will likely stay in Miami if Heat GM Pat Riley can land another All-Star to play alongside him. Of course, Wade has been pretty lukewarm about the idea of returning to Chicago and recently took some shots at the organization’s loyalty, so he seems to be both crossing the Windy City off his potential destination checklist and undermining the Bulls’ desirability to the other free agents.
However, Boozer — and just about everybody else — realizes that nothing will be settled until Free Agent Number One makes his decision: “The summer is going to get kicked off in free agency wherever LeBron goes. Once he decides what he’s going to do for the rest of his career, it will be easy for the rest of us to figure out what we’re going to do.”
Speaking of LeBron…
His silence about his future has been positively deafening. For all we know, James might want to retire from basketball to pursue extreme ironing. Doubtful, I know, but LeBron hasn’t given us any better idea about what his future may hold.
One thing we do know, however, is that The King could make it rain in Chicago.
Mike Colias and David Sterrett of Crains Chicago Business explain the type of impact James could have in Chicago: “Broadcast execs are giddy over the prospect of ratings and ad sales leaping back to Michael Jordan-era levels. Apparel shops, ticket brokers and bar and restaurant owners say the 25-year-old megastar would spark a frenzy of spending by local high-rollers and out-of-town professionals. Tourism officials gush over the exposure Chicago would get from near-constant national telecasts. The LeBron effect could add up to as much as $2.7 billion if he plays here for six years, estimates University of Illinois at Chicago economist John Skorburg. The catch: He’d have to take the Bulls on deep, annual playoff runs, sprinkling in at least a few NBA championships along the way.”
I’m not sure that we needed business experts to tell us LeBron would mean fat cash for Chicago, but at least we can assign a number to our speculation now. I doubt that information will have any impact on LeBron’s decision though.
One thing that might effect LeBron’s decision — according to Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald — is Chicago’s coaching vacancy: “A new rumor, though, has [William] Wesley pushing Lakers assistant Brian Shaw for the Bulls under the idea that James is intrigued by the triangle offense. Shaw is in his fifth season working under Phil Jackson. The Bulls are going to wait until the end of the Finals before moving forward on their coaching search. Right now, Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau and ex-Blazers and Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks are the leaders, but Shaw has time to join the race.”
After watching what happened when rookie head coach Kurt Rambis — another former Lakers assistant — tried to institute the triangle offense in Minnesota last season, I’m not sure I like the idea of Shaw starting it up in Chicago. Of course, Rambis didn’t have LeBron…