Trade Rumor: Amare Stoudemire makes a lot of sense for Miami
As the league goes through All-Star weekend with the February 18 th trade deadline fast approaching, now is the time each franchise gathers stock and makes the decision whether to roll the dice or stick to their guns for the remainder of the season. There will be at least a couple noticeable trades in the next week, that’s for certain. Who goes where remains to be seen.
Dallas and Washington are in serious talks about a Josh Howard and Drew Gooden for Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood deal. Houston has been toeing the line for Tracy McGrady takers for weeks, Chris Bosh’s name has quietly snuck into trade rumors, and Amare Stoudemire has been linked to half a dozen teams.
The team pursuing Stoudemire the hardest is apparently the Miami Heat. Word is Miami is willing to part with anyone on the roster short of Dwayne Wade. At 26-27 heading into the break and Wade clearly frustrated with the direction of the team, the Heat are among the franchises most likely to deal before the deadline. They’ve done so the past two years and with Wade certain to opt out of his contract at season’s end, Miami may not be able to sit pat with the current talent on the team. Beyond their perennial All-Star, the Heat are severely lacking offensive firepower and their opponents know it far too well.
Team President and GM Pat Riley has never been afraid to shake things up in Miami. He’s done so with several mega trades in the last few years that brought in Shaquille O’Neal, Shawn Merion, Jermaine O’Neal, Antoine Walker, and Jason Williams. That gun slinging strategy brought Shaq and a championship and managed to shed his massive, unappealing contract as well.
It makes sense for the Heat to pursue Stoudemire, especially when you consider the fact it won’t put them out of the free agent market this summer. With the right deals and some careful spending, theoretically Miami would be able to resign Wade and Stoudemire and still pursue a max free agent.
Michael Beasley certainly is the main chip the Heat would throw the Suns way and while at times the second-year forward has dazzled, Beasley is nowhere near the level of player Stoudemire is. Riley needs to decide if Beasley’s potential outweighs the impact Amare would bring to the team and from what’s been seen on the court this season, it shouldn’t be a tough decision.
Beasley may yet turn into an All-Star talent, but he’s a long way from doing so and Miami needs results now. If the team wasn’t barely holding onto the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference there might’ve been a different story, but that just isn’t the case. If Riley can turn Beasley into Stoudemire you can bet he will.
Stoudemire would instantly bring a legitimate second scoring threat to the Heat as well as provide them with the post presence they so desperately need. Jermaine O’Neal just isn’t getting it done, but matched with Amare he could do some serious damage. Miami’s frontcourt would transform into a force to be reckoned with overnight.
The Heat would have to give up a lot to pry Stoudemire loose though. He won’t come on the cheap and Phoenix isn’t going to be forced into making a deal before the deadline. If they can’t move Amare for good value, they’ll wait until the offseason and try a sign-and-trade if they can’t resign him themselves. The Suns have balked at the Heat’s offers so far, but that shouldn’t be the end of the discussion. Miami will probably pursue a third team to try and work out a three-way deal, but they’ll still have to part with a lot of chips. A deal would probably cost the team Beasley, Daequan Cook, Dorell Wright, James Jones, and a first round pick. That may be a steep price to pay, but if Miami’s season is all about free agency anyway it’s probably worth it.
Wade has made it clear he wants to remain in a Heat uniform, but he’s also said he wants to compete. The current team is barely doing that. If they don’t make a deal, Miami may just lose him in the summer. If Riley shakes things up and adds some talent, he’ll be showing his franchise player that the team is committed to winning and probably assure that Wade re-ups.
Assuming the Heat will be able to bring in a third max free agent on top of Wade and Stoudemire, wouldn’t that core not only be more attractive to potential targets than one that included Beasley, but also more lethal as well? If Miami and Wade are going to convince LeBron James to do the impossible and bolt Cleveland for the nightlife of South Beach, they stand a much better chance of doing so if Stoudemire is in the equation instead of Beasley.
It took Ray Allen to convince Kevin Garnet to go to Boston and a similar situation could develop in Miami. Riley knows all this. He’s been preparing for this upcoming summer for the last two seasons. He’s studied all the potential targets, gone over countless trades, and tried to figure out just what he has on this Heat team. Miami is pushing hard for Stoudemire because Riley can’t be satisfied with what he sees on the court. Even worse, an unhappy Wade has got to be chilling.
After all, if Wade doesn’t resign, bringing in a max free agent to join him isn’t really an issue for Riley. He might be packing his bags.
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