NBA free agent circus set to begin!
When the clock strikes midnight in the East on Wednesday, chaos will reign in the NBA because that’s the time teams can officially contact free agents and make their pitches. And you can be assured that there will be NBA officials outside players’ homes at exactly 12:01 a.m.
However, LeBron James could well be asleep by then. He has set up “interviews” with teams beginning Thursday morning with the New Jersey Nets. But that won’t stop teams from calling his agent and still maybe ringing the doorbell tonight. Most believe the LeBron will sign somewhere by July 8 – and there continue to be rumors that he and Chris Bosh may be a package deal to either Chicago or Miami or that James will re-sign with Cleveland but for only three years. There also is a report that Toronto will do a sign-and-trade with Miami because Bosh can’t get the maximum deal without a sign-and trade. The report has Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony going to the Raptors.
Already we have officially seen Paul Pierce out of his contact with Boston, but it’s expected to be a formality that he re-signs with Boston – the Celtics also got word that Doc Rivers is coming back, so that might lead the team to try and bring back free agent Ray Allen and try one more run with the current group (although minus Rasheed Wallace and maybe an injured Kendrick Perkins) and maybe one free agent addition.
Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire also officially opted out, and it’s thought he badly wants to go to Miami, but he could be a fallback for the Knicks, who might try to target him and Atlanta’s Joe Johnson. The latter could be the first big name to sign as he reportedly wants a team to commit to him right away. Johnson would also be coveted by the Bulls, who don’t have a shooting guard of note after trading Kirk Hinrich.
Most believe that Dwyane Wade will stay in Miami as the Heat expect to land two big-name free agents to play with him. But Wade has said he will visit the Knicks, Bulls and Mavericks just in case.
Speaking of Dallas, it now has to convince Dirk Nowitzki to re-sign, but that’s also considered a formality. Owner Mark Cuban wants an audience with LeBron, hoping to work a sign-and-trade with Cleveland.
The NBA has never had a “hot stove league” quite like this, so it should be a very interesting few weeks – NBA futures will be released on WagerWeb.com shortly after all the dominoes have fallen.
Bet on NBA futures at WagerWeb.com
Amare Stoudmire “50-50” on returning to Suns
The Phoenix Suns’ championship window – if there ever was once – is likely going to slam shut if Amare Stoudmire leaves the team as a free agent in the wake of Phoenix’s six-game loss to the Lakers in the West Finals.
Stoudemire admitted that the 111-103 loss in Game 6 might have been his last in a Suns uniform.
“It did, actually,” Stoudemire said, when asked if that thought had crossed his mind. “It did. 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, who is likely to opt out of the final year of his current contract (whether he stays or not), said that he expects to join in talks with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson before free agency begins on July 1.
“I’m friends with LeBron, Dwyane, Chris [Bosh] — all those guys are friends of mine,” Stoudemire said. “So I’m pretty sure they’ll call me and we’ll talk about a few things.”
Stuudemire, who has spent all eight seasons with the Phoenix Suns after coming to the NBA directly from high school, is due to make $17 million in the final year of his contract. The Miami Heat figure to be hugely aggressive in trying to lure him.
Suns coach Alvin Gentry said Sunday that “you would expect” Stoudemire to opt out of his Contract and test the free-agent market.
“If you’re asking me, ‘Do we want him back?’ Yeah, we want him back,” Gentry said.
Stoudemire has said that he is “50-50″ on returning to the Suns.
The Suns came close to trading Stoudemire to Miami at the all-star break, but not finding a deal they liked, kept him. Phoenix went 23-6 the rest of the season and earned the No. 3 playoff seed in the West. The Suns beat a depleted Portland team in six games in the first round, then swept longtime nemesis San Antonio.
With Steve Nash now 36, one would think that he would start to trend downward, meaning it might be time for a complete rebuilding project in the desert.
This won’t help: Stoudemire’s mom arrested again
This is not exactly the news a player wants to hear before a big game, but Suns star Amare Stoudemire’s focus certainly could be a bit off for tonight’s Game 2 against the Los Angeles Lakers – bet on it at WagerWeb.com – after his mother was arrested over the weekend.
Actually, maybe it won’t affect him, as this happened Saturday and Amare went and scored 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting in Game 1’s Suns blowout loss. However, he did have only three rebounds, which is unacceptable.
Anyways, Amare’s mother, Carrie Mae Stoudemire, 54, was stopped at 3:25 p.m. after her Lincoln Navigator was straddling two lanes and going 60 mph, according to the Scottsdale, Ariz., police report. Her eyes were “watery and glassy,” according to the officer. She failed to have an ignition interlock device on her Lincoln Navigator, which she claimed was a rental. She is required to have the breathalyzer device on all vehicles until Oct. 30. She also refused to take a field sobriety test, so you can read what you want into that. She was stopped on her way to alcohol class (she claims), taken to jail and later released. And this is not the first time Stoudemire’s mom has been in trouble with the law, as she has been in jail dozens of times for charges ranging from drug possession to prostitution.
According to the report, Amare Stoudemire and another man arrived at the scene a few minutes later. Carrie Stoudemire began to yell “Amare!” and asked for a lawyer. The officer asked Amare and the other man to leave “because they were causing Carrie to act out.”
This booking photo is hilarious by the way. Anyways, Amare already made some news in this series when he called the Lakers’ Lamar Odom’s big Game 1 (19 points, 19 rebounds) a “lucky game.”
Maybe Amare should concentrate on stopping Odom and not his crazy mom – although she’s not exactly the Mother of the Year.
Stoudemire now likely to stay with Suns
The NBA’s trade deadline is Thursday afternoon, and with the Cleveland Cavaliers having traded for Antawn Jamison on Wednesday night, that likely leaves on the Miami Heat as legitimate suitors for Suns forward/center Amare Stoudemire.
Stoudemire’s agent had predicted his client would get dealt Wednesday, and Stoudemire himself rated his chances of being traded before Thursday’s deadline as 50-50. But the Cavs wouldn’t give up young power forward J.J. Hickson and instead offered a bunch of junk: center Zydrunas Ilgauskas (he went to the Wizards in the Jamison deal), Danny Green and the likely No. 30 draft pick.
Smartly, the Suns said no to that. That leaves Miami, which will base any offer likely around second-year forward Michael Beasley. The Heat are desperate to do something to placate future free agent Dwyane Wade. Stoudemire can opt out of his contract this summer as well. The Suns haven’t been interested in Miami’s offer (they aren’t big fans of Beasley), leaving the Heat to find a third party to work something out.
Stoudemire said after last night’s game with Dallas that he talked with Suns owner Robert Sarver and gets the feeling he will be staying in Phoenix past 3 p.m. Eastern trade deadline today. He is averaging 26.6 points and 11.7 rebounds over the past seven games
“I feel good. But either way I was going to feel all right,” said Stoudemire, who had 30 points and 14 rebounds in a loss to the Mavericks. “Whatever happens I’m going to remain professional, play my heart out on the basketball court.”
A summer sign-and-trade deal remains possible. Stoudemire also must decide on a $17.7 million option for 2010-11. The Suns have offered Stoudemire of picking up his option year plus two more years worth $28 million, but that was rejected. Stoudemire has hinted he prefers Miami over any destination, including staying put. Stoudemire said recently he was leaning toward not opting out of his contract – he won’t make that much in the open market next season.
“I could remain in Phoenix another five years or I could be elsewhere for another five years,” he said. “The ultimate goal is to eventually contend for a championship.”