Amare Stoudemire: Should he stay or should he go now? He's talking extension with Suns.

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nba_stoudemire_250.jpgWe’ve all been sizing up Amare Stoudemire for a new look. Maybe a Heat uniform for next season. Or a Bulls uni. Or maybe a Nets jersey.

What about a Suns white and orange jersey?

Sure, that’s the team he’s about to opt out from, surrendering $17.5 million for next season to get a long-term deal. That’s the same team that has tried to trade him at the last couple of trading deadlines. That doesn’t mean they can’t kiss and make up.

According to FanHouse, the Suns have been talking and have offered Stoudemire an extension.

But according to sources with knowledge of the situation, Phoenix is now determined to keep the five-time All-Star and has offered a contract extension as recently as last week. While the terms of the offer are not known, a source close to the 27-year-old Stoudemire said of the proposal, “they’re getting closer [financially] to where they should be.”

No agreement is expected anytime soon, however. Stoudemire — who has made clear his opinion that he is worthy of a max contract or something close to it — has until June 30 to decide whether he’ll exercise the player option for next season worth $17.6 million on his deal, agree to an extension or become a free agent.

From the All-Star Game through the end of the season, Stoudemire has been playing as well as anyone in the NBA (yes, including LeBron). The Trail Blazers have realized this and Amare now gets the instant double team — and he has proven a willing and good passer. He has been the complete package.

Phoenix has a lot to offer. Want to play alongside a great guard? It’s not just Dwyane Wade or Derrick Rose, that Steve Nash guy is pretty good too. Warm winter weather, Phoenix has that. Solid team with potential? Suns. Fun style to play where Amare can use his gift in the open court: Suns.

It may or may not work out. Nothing is going to happen during the playoffs. Nothing is likely to happen until very close to the June 30 deadline for Stoudemire to make a decision. But right now, the both sides are talking, and that is a big step.

PBT Extra: Kobe Bryant understands now is time to walk away

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It was expected Kobe Bryant would retire at the end of this season.

It was not expected Kobe would make that official on Nov. 29 — it’s caught the media at Staples Center Sunday (of which I was one) and the fans by surprise.

In this PBT Extra, I talk with Jenna Corrado about the mood inside Staples Center Sunday.

More importantly, I discuss the sense I got that Kobe understands it’s time to walk away, and he is at peace with that.

Luke Walton: Warriors concerned about health, not 72 wins

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Stephen Curry acknowledges the Warriors – who are 18-0 and won four straight to end last season – talk about the NBA record of 33 consecutive wins.

But what about another major record Golden State is chasing, 72 wins in a season?

Shooting guard Klay Thompson called it possible. General manager Bob Myers deemed it impossible.

Interim coach Luke Walton would prefer everyone just keep quiet.

Walton, via CSN Bay Area:

“The 72 thing is far, far away,” Walton said. “We shouldn’t be spending any time thinking about that.

“I’ve also said before that we’re not going to coach this season trying to chase that record,” Walton said

“We’re still going to give players nights off on back-to-backs,” he added. “And we’re going to do our best to limit minutes for some of our players. Our main concern is being healthy come playoff time.”

I don’t think Golden State will win 72 games, but prioritizing health won’t necessary stop the Warriors. They’re so deep.

They outscore opponents by 5.8 points per 100 possessions when Curry sits, 5.6 when Draymond Green sits. Those marks would rank seventh among all NBA teams.

Golden State has the luxury of resting players and continuing to win. That’s what makes the chase for 72 realistic. This team is less likely than most to wear down late in a season where it’s pushing to win every game.

Health entering the playoffs is important, but a 72-win season would raise these Warriors to legendary status. If they’re in range late in the season, I think they’ll go for it – even if the top seed is already secured.

But for now, Walton is probably taking the right approach. Plenty of teams start fast (though never this fast) then drift back toward the pack. No point risking Golden State’s health yet.

Kevin Durant to media: You treated Kobe Bryant ‘like s—‘

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant once told the media, “You guys really don’t know s—.”

The Thunder star expressed regret, but if he knew how we were going to treat Kobe Bryant, he might have stuck to his guns.

Durant, via Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:

I did idolize Kobe Bryant. I studied him, wanted to be like him. He was our Michael Jordan. I watched Michael towards the end of his career when he was with the Wizards, and I seen that’s what Kobe emerged as the guy for us.

I’ve been disappointed this year because you guys treated him like s—. He’s a legend, and all I hear is about how bad he’s playing, how bad he’s shooting. It’s time for him to hang it up. You guys treated one of our legends like s—, and I didn’t really like it. So hopefully, now you can start being nice to him now that he decided to retire after this year. It was sad the way he was getting treated, in my opinion.

But he had just an amazing career, a guy who changed the game for me as a player mentally and physically. Means so much to the game of basketball. Somebody I’m always going to look to for advice, for help, for anything. Just a brilliant, brilliant, intelligent man. And it’s sad to see him go.

Kobe is shooting 20% from the floor and 30% on 3-pointers for a 2-14 team. How else should we describe his season?

Why not bash the person most publicly critical of Kobe? Or the many people around the NBA who recognize how far Kobe has fallen? Or Byron Scott, who has repeatedly intensified discussion of Kobe’s demise?

Why is the media, which is not some monolithic entity anyway, the primary target?

There are writers who fawn over Kobe, writers who criticize him and many more who do both. We don’t all think alike.

If we did, Durant would be bound to treat Kobe like s—, too.

Hassan Whiteside thanks Hassan Whiteside in Kobe Bryant tribute


Like many players, Hassan Whiteside posted a tribute to Kobe Bryant upon the Laker star’s retirement announcement.

But Whiteside’s is a bit, um, different.

Whiteside salutes himself for making Kobe smile. (That’s not a smile.) The Heat center also tweeted a screenshot of the Instagram post with the hashtag “#koberetire,” which sounds pretty commanding.

Is Whiteside in on the joke or is he that self-centered? I’m honestly not entirely sure.