Now that Steve Kerr is no longer GM of the Suns, rumor has it that Amar’e is finished in Phoenix. According to ESPN’s J.A. Adande: “Amare’s done. He’s gone.”
If that’s true — and, in all honesty, it’s not entirely clear that it is — the question becomes: Gone to where?
Personally, my money’s on Miami. And I’m not the only one placing that particular bet.
ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh thinks STAT would fit in with the Bulls…even he’s more Plan D, E or F material: “Who has a point guard who can man the fast break, an open slot for a scoring power forward and a long big man who can defend? That’s right, the Chicago Bulls. From an existing personnel standpoint, no team should appeal to Stoudemire more than the Bulls. With lightning-quick Derrick Rose at the point and high-energy Joakim Noah by his side, Stoudemire could slide seamlessly into the Bulls’ roster and finally give them a real scoring option on the block — perhaps the first since they traded Elton Brand almost a decade ago. But will Chicago’s new head coach and defensive wizard Tom Thibodeau tolerate Stoudemire’s listlessness on D? Long known as one of the hardest working coaches in the game, it’s hard to imagine Stoudemire responding positively to a man who expects nothing but the highest collective effort on both ends of the floor. But if anyone can design a defensive scheme more effective than the sum of its parts, it would have to be Thibodeau. That said, the Bulls could have their sights on someone else, and that would leave no room for Stoudemire.”
I’m not real big on the idea of the Bulls giving Stoudemire a max contract, and it doesn’t seem as though the Bulls are either. According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: “The Bulls have reservations over acquiring Stoudemire, who will seek a maximum contract at a time questions remain about his defensive play and recovery from microfracture surgery on his knee.”
I’m not going to lie: I have the same reservations and even though Amar’e would probably make the Bulls better in the short term, I’d rather see the front office sit on their extra cap space until next summer than overspend for Stoudemire this summer.
Remember back when Chris Bosh said he wants to play for a team where he’s The Man? In case you forgot, here’s what Bosh said: “I’m not an addition. I’m a centerpiece. I have to have that confidence in myself, and I want people to know that, because I’m not somebody that helps out. I’m the guy you get like, ‘Yo, we’re going to win a championship, you’re gonna take us there.’ I want to hold onto that because I think every kid when they dream about playing basketball, they don’t dream about being a role player. They dream about being the man. I have that position in Toronto and to give that up and go somewhere else to be an addition would kinda defeat the purpose of my dreams.”
So…is Bosh’s mindset the same now that his free agency is almost here? Apparently, it is.
According to Art Garcia of NBA.com: “Bosh hasn’t changed that stance, adding recently that he’s making his decision separate from LeBron James or anyone else. Bosh is frequently mentioned as the bronze medal in the Free Agency Olympics headlined by LeBron and Dwyane Wade. Bidders can do a lot worse than bronze. While the pairing of Bosh with one of his former Team USA teammates could form the foundation of a title contender, the 26-year-old power forward could just as easily strike out on his own. Bosh’s independent streak is a significant variable in a marketplace that so many assume will be dictated by LeBron. Bosh could be the first domino to fall if he decides to leave Toronto when free agency begins July 1, causing a ripple effect among the teams with significant cap space and those angling for a premier free agent through a sign-and-trade.”
For the record — not like I haven’t been saying this for months — I think Bosh would be a great addition to the Bulls. Short of landing LeBron, there probably isn’t another player who should be available that I’d want more than Bosh. And his whole “I want to be The Man” syndrome could work in Chicago’s favor. Even though Derrick Rose is clearly the team’s leader, he hasn’t yet ascended to superduperstardom like, say, LeBron and D-Wade. Coming to Chicago would put Bosh in a great situation talent-wise but also probably give him (in his own mind at least) a 1a or 1b status.
At any rate, it doesn’t appear as if Bosh is going to be waiting to see what LeBron or anybody else does come July 1st.
This is what Bosh recently said on SNY.tv: “Anytime you have the opportunity to play with certain guys, you have to take that into consideration. When it all goes down, [LeBron is] gonna be one of the all-time greats. At the same time, I can’t just sit around and wait. I have to be proactive with my choices and what’s gonna make me happy. I have to make sure I take my time and make the right decision.
“There are a lot of teams out there I’m considering including my home team, the Raptors. It’s gonna be crazy and confusing and I’m looking forward to it. I think each team has its own advantages over the other. New Jersey has a young core, so does New York. The coaching styles are a bit different. A lot of people are excited about the new (Nets) owner. It’s interesting. Everybody is pretty much excited about the makeup of the team and the direction the Nets are headed. It might work out; it might not. You always have to consider a lot.”
Notice he didn’t mention the Bulls? It may have had more to do with the questions he was asked than anything else, but it’s worth noting.
According to RealGM, Stephen A. Smith has some (very) minor insider info on what LeBron’s team is doing to prepare for the free agent bonanza: “From what my sources tell me, he still hasn’t made a final decision but he’s higher on New York now than he was a month ago. And the reality is that he is leaning more towards New York than he is towards returning to Cleveland … He and his people have been digging deeper and deeper … to inquire about Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni around the league. They have been asking questions over the last week, very in-depth questions, about the New York Knicks organization.”
I’d like to know what those “in-depth questions” were.
At any rate, that RealGM article had one Bulls-specific tidbit: “Smith suggests that the prospect of competing head to head with Michael Jordan’s legacy in Chicago is dampening James’ interest in the Bulls.”
That’s what I was afraid of. But who knows? Magic Johnson’s place as the Greatest Laker Ever seemed pretty secure until recently. Now that Kobe Bryant has won another title in L.A., some people — including ESPN’s Chris Broussard and even Shaq — are already annointing him the Greatest Laker Ever. So nobody’s place in history is unassailable. In theory. But Jordan’s is pretty close.
The only thing we don’t know is: Would that challenge motivate LeBron or scare him away?