While standing in the swirling vortex of the trade deadline, Amar’e Stoudemire was nothing but professional — said all the right things off the court, on it he kept catching Steve Nash passes and throwing them down like nothing ever happened.
So where does he go from here? A trade might be nice, but what he really wants is a contract extension. Even with the Suns.
Stoudemire said negotiating an extension with the Suns remains possible. He turned down an offer for two years beyond next season’s option year.
“Obviously, I want to have a sense of security,” he said. “We haven’t got to an agreement yet, but we’re getting there.”
Stoudemire is due $17.5 million next year and it’s his choice on the option. He has hinted he may take that option, because he realizes that in this economy he is going to take a pay cut of a few million if he plays the open market.
But then there’s that pesky little security issue. If he takes his option year, he runs the risk of being a free agent in 2011, when the new Collective Bargaining Agreement could mean a much lower max (or high end) contract. Not ideal. If he opts out of his current deal this summer he can get a multi-year deal locked in at what could be a higher rate (no way the Players Association lets the new CBA change existing contracts, no matter what the owners fantasize about).
What’s ideal for Stoudemire as an extension of his current deal. The Suns may not be offering as much as he wants right now — they may never — but if he is traded somewhere this summer an extension will likely be part of the deal for him.
LeBron James says he doesn’t see Cavaliers-Warriors as rivalry
“We don’t look at it as a rival,” James said. “They’re a great team. They’ve been the best team the last couple years, last three years.”
“It’s just the next game, it’s Golden State,” James said. “They’re a helluva team, like I said the best team in the league and they’ve been that way the last three years, four years, however long it’s been, I’m not quite sure. But, listen, you guys know, we don’t put all our eggs in one basket for one game.”
LeBron just doesn’t want the Cavs to become comfortable. They’ve beat Golden State in four straight games – the last three of the 2016 Finals and on Christmas – and could extend the streak to five today. Beating a rival that frequently is a cause for celebration, and celebration leads to contentment. LeBron would rather keep Cleveland focused and hungry. Hence, saying the Warriors aren’t a rival.
Andre Drummond hits 3-pointer from inside Pistons’ own 3-point arc (video)
But Booker’s last four – which put Phoenix up for good – came directly after incorrect calls, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.
First, Booker drew a (legitimate) foul on Pau Gasol with 1:08 left and made both free throws. The problem: One second before that, Suns center Tyson Chandler should have been called for offensively fouling Tony Parker, according to the league:
Chandler (PHX) sets the screen on Parker (SAS) and makes leg to leg contact that affects his ability to defend the play.
That would’ve ended Phoenix’s possession rather than allowing Booker to get to the line.
The other missed call in the two-minute report is trickier, because it directly benefitted the Spurs but indirectly benefitted the Suns.
Manu Ginobili got away with travelling with 59.1 seconds left, according to the league:
Ginobili (SAS) moves his pivot foot.
But he coughed up the ball moments later anyway, and – thrilled to gain possession with a live-ball turnover rather than a dead-ball turnover – Booker turned the miscue into a fastbreak dunk.
Rather than debate how to evaluate San Antonio getting away with a travel and it ultimately helping Phoenix more, let’s stick to just the uncalled Chandler offensive foul. That netted the Suns two points. Their lead when the Spurs began intentionally fouling? One.
Russell Westbrook puts up 20th triple-double of season, lifts Thunder past Kings (VIDEO)
Through 41 games — half the season — Russell Westbrook is averaging 30.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists a game. Those numbers are insane, particularly considering his 42 percent usage rate. He has to put up numbers and do so fairly efficiently or the Thunder stand no chance of winning — and he has the Thunder on pace for 48 wins this season.
The Thunder picked up another of those wins Sunday night knocking off the Sacramento Kings behind Westbrook’s 20th triple-double in 41 games — 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The video highlights are above.
It’s going to be fun watching him and James Harden go back-and-forth in the MVP race for the next few months.