NBA AM: Don’t Count On A Stoudemire Trade
Amar’e Won’t Be Traded: When the expectations around you are as high as they are for the New York Knicks, there will be rumblings when you underachieve. The Knicks are sitting at 5-4 on the season – 2-2 at home – and the natives are growing restless.
The biggest issue facing the Knicks is the lack of depth, something the team traded away in order to assemble their Big Three of Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire. They simply have no money to spend on support players and even less in terms of youthful draft picks because those were the meat of the Anthony deal almost a year ago.
The mediocre start has had some in the media questioning whether or not the Knicks would make another bold move. Just prior to the start of the season the team was linked to an offer involving Amar’e Stoudemire and former Hornet, now Clipper, guard Chris Paul.
The deal obviously went nowhere, but with the Knicks continuing to look average on the floor, more people are speculating on where the Knicks go from here. Now there are reports of the Knicks having interest in Orlando’s Dwight Howard, with Stoudemire again being the name mentioned as trade bait.
First, the Magic have ZERO interest in Stoudemire according to sources close to the situation.
Second, the Knicks and Magic have had almost no contact on the trade front.
Every team has called Orlando regarding Howard, but the Magic have not engaged the Knicks on anything. Knicks’ Director of Pro Scouting & Free Agency John Gabriel does his scouting out of Orlando, so he is at virtually every Magic home game. The conduit for a discussion is there at almost every game. They just are not talking about a Howard/Stoudemire deal.
Amar’e may be the popular name to toss out, but the truth of the matter is his contract is all but untradeable. Only a small handful of owners could afford that deal on a good day, let alone if injury strikes.
Stoudemire is owed $18.21 million this year, $19.94 million in 2012-2013, $21.67 million in 2013-2014, and $23.41 million in 2015-2016 for a total of $83.23 million – all of which is uninsured because of Stoudemire’s multiple knee surgeries.
Outside of the Knicks and maybe the Lakers, most franchises cannot afford the risk associated with Stoudemire, making him highly unfavorable in trade.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement would not allow the Amnesty provision to be used on Stoudemire if acquired in trade. Once a player is traded he is no longer an Amnesty-eligible player.
The new Stretch provision, which allows teams to spread out the payments on bad contracts to lower the cash-flow impact of cut players, only applies to new deals.
And in 2013 when Stoudemire is just turning 31 and owed 21.67 million the new luxury tax will kick in, making his deal extremely expensive to a team over the tax line.
Acquiring Stoudemire is very, very risky.
Most teams have no issues with $83 million, because they are insulated with insurance. Not the case with Stoudemire. Knee surgeries on both knees and back issues are huge red flags, especially in the face of a massively restrictive tax system on the horizon.
Knicks sources say the idea of trading Stoudemire is more “media-born” than anything, but there is no doubting that the Knicks are looking for answers. The problem in New York is when you are underachieving the magnifying glass that follows the Knicks amplifies everything. Until the Knicks turn around their very average season, speculation about trade comes with the territory.
Stoudemire is averaging 21.0 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, which is not terrible. The problem is he is shooting just 41.8% from the field and that might be related to bad guard play more than a decline in Amar’e.
You have to wonder if the Knicks are regretting cutting Chauncey Billups.
For the record, the Knicks are three games behind East-leading Miami, so the world is not lost in New York; however, the Knicks were expected to compete at a lot higher level than they are, so time will tell if the Knicks start to panic.
Warriors Need More From Monta: The Golden State Warriors are in a familiar place. They are woefully average and missing a core player.
Stephen Curry is going to miss considerable time due to chronic ankle issues, so the leadership role again falls on Monta Ellis. While Monta has matured as a person and a player, he is not always the most vocal leader on the floor and that’s something that’s obvious when the Warriors play.
First-year head coach Mark Jackson doesn’t see any issues with his leading scorer, believing the Warriors issues are more about learning to play together and making better decisions.
“He’s doing a great job,” Jackson said to Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com of Ellis. “He’s averaging 8.5 [now 8.1] assists for a reason — guys are finishing plays. They’ve done the job. We’ve put ourselves in position to win ballgames. Demanding guys step up is securing the basketball and getting stops, executing fastbreaks when you have numbers down the stretch, paying attention to details defensively to close out ballgames.”
“That is every bit as important as other guys stepping up. So across the board we’ve got to do a better job.”
Some have wondered when Ellis will step into the leadership role on the floor and that maybe it’s time for Monta to call out some of his guys.
“He’s done everything I’ve asked him to do. He’s been an incredible leader,” explained Jackson. “What I love about him most is he holds himself to a standard. So the first thing he’s thinking (Saturday night) is “I’ve got to make that shot.”
“Second thing he’s thinking is “I should have gone earlier. It’s I, it’s me, it’s my fault. We were in position to win the ballgame. Real leaders, real great players own up to their part of the responsibility and that’s why I love him.”
Jackson also revealed that while Monta isn’t screaming at or challenging guys on the floor during games, he does challenge his team in huddles and in practice.
“He’s been an incredible leader on this basketball team,” explained Jackson. “Whatever he sees he speaks out against it. He challenges guys, challenges himself. He’s been as good a leader as I’ve seen.”
With Steph Curry on the shelf indefinitely, the Warriors will go where Monta Ellis leads. It’s a tough spot for Monta, but if the Warriors are going to be more than fodder for playoffs teams to chew on, Ellis has to do more than score. Based on his 8.1 per game assist average, he is trying to lead.
The questions is does he have the horses that want to follow?
Kobe Still Kobe: A lot was made about the Laker’s decision to hire head coach Mike Brown, mainly because franchise cornerstone Kobe Bryant was not consulted on the hiring.
Most viewed that as a slight to Kobe, but Bryant has tried to dispel the idea that he and Brown are not on the same page. In fact Bryant may have found a coach that’s as consumed with basketball as he is.
“He’s like me,” Bryant said to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo!. “He doesn’t sleep. We talk all the time, and about everything: What we need to do, how we need to adjust. Constant communication.”
Lakers fans have been waiting for the next trade to drop, seeing the Lakers as somewhat flawed as Lakers fans tend to do.
The Lakers are sitting on an $8.9 million traded player exception, and have made it clear that they would use it on the right player.
The problem is most teams are still evaluating their roster as the NBA just logged ten games.
Despite the compressed season most teams don’t jump out of a roster ten games in, and the kinds of players the Lakers would covet would means breaking up a team and it’s just too early in the season to expect that.
The Lakers were linked to Chris Paul and felt they had a deal to land him only to see him land across the hall with the Clippers.
The Lakers have permission to talk trade scenarios with Dwight Howard and his agent, however the Lakers have made it clear they will not trade two all-star caliber players such as Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol for Howard, and that’s believed to be the asking price in Orlando.
Bryant is not sold that the Lakers need to make a change, throwing his support behind his own guys. Guys he knows and trusts.
“We have our own Big Three,” Bryant said. “Andrew. Pau. And myself. Those are three bona fide All-Stars.”
Sources say Bryant was not thrilled when the team tried to acquire Chris Paul and has been a voice of caution on overpaying for Dwight Howard.
Laker management tends to do its own thing regarding trades, but for Bryant’s dime he likes the guys he has and wants to see addition, not subtraction.
Bryant is battling his own limitations with a torn ligament in his wrist, an injury he says he will continue to play through.
Most players would have been shelved for months with this kind of injury, but Kobe continues to fight through it and is still logging respectable numbers.
Kobe is averaging 27.6 points per game on 44.3% shooting from the field, which is down just 0.8% from last season and down 1.1% from his career average of 45.4%.
Bryant is taking three more shots per game on average than last season, so his volume is up slightly. The biggest area of weakness is Kobe’s three ball which is going in 20% of the time, mostly because of forced shots.
Bryant says despite his injury he is not altering how he plays.
“I shoot, I shoot,” Bryant said. “You’ve known that for 16 years. I’m not changing my game. If the defense is not doubling, I’m going to score. If I’ve got a good look, I’m going to score. My teammates know that. But I also give them the ball, too, and set them up.
“But at the end of the day, I’m a scorer first.”
“I’m going to do what I do,” Bryant said. “I’m not changing.”
The Lakers are 6-4 on the season and just two games behind West-leading Oklahoma City.
Considering the Lakers started the season without Andrew Bynum, 6-4 is more than respectable and if Kobe can keep being Kobe, the Lakers might not need a desperation play like liquidating the roster for Dwight Howard.
The smart move might be to hang tight until losing teams start selling off parts, because the Lakers have a respectable core and small tweaks might be all the Lakers need to move into the home court driver’s seat in the West.
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