Stoudemire isn't really looking for a long-term relationship right now, y'know?

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Look, maybe if Amar’e Stoudemire was another All-Star power forward with another set of circumstances, things would be different. But this is who he is right now and this is what he’s going through, and with free agency just on the horizon, Stoudemire isn’t looking for anything serious from the Suns. Commitment weirds him out a little bit. From Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic:

Stoudemire said he wants to shelve contract-extension talks until after the season, when he also will have to make a decision about opting out of the final year of the deal, which would pay him $17.7 million. He must decide by June 30. “I just don’t want the distraction,” Stoudemire said. “I don’t want to distract the team right now. We’re playing well. So in the off-season, we can talk about extensions.”

Stoudemire still does not talk as optimistically about a future in Phoenix as he once did. “Whatever situation I end up going to is going to work out the best for me,” Stoudemire said.

It seems like a foregone conclusion at this point that Stoudemire won’t be in Phoenix next season, leaving Steve Nash as the final piece of the engaging “Seven-Seconds-or-Less” core that has dissolved piece by piece. The spirit of those teams may be more or less intact with Steve Nash, the man who was and still is the system, still in a Suns uniform, but Amar’e’s departure would only be the latest and most obvious sign that the dream is dead. 

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.