Amar'e Stoudemire is earning the money Chris Bosh wants

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Not going to lie, people. Between the earthquakes, floods, financial crises, the Suns being the stodgy, deep, rebounding team whipping the Spurs and Amar’e Stoudemire being the mature playoff performer while Chris Bosh acts out, I’m pretty sure the end is nigh.

Seriously, where are we?

While Chris Bosh is messing with Toronto fans’ souls on Twitter, Amar’e Stoudemire is flexing, defending, and working in the playoffs. Just months ago he was a failed centerpiece who didn’t defend or rebound. Now? He’s the primary big man on a team that looks like it’s on the verge of a Western Conference Finals appearance.

How big has Stoudemire been, in the ways we’re not used to him being? In Game 2, down the stretch, with the Suns trying to desperately hold on to a lead, Stoudemire grabbed two huge offensive rebounds to extend the Suns’ possessions. He’s forcing the Spurs to collapse on him which is opening up the outside game. He’s leading. He’s winning.

Chris Bosh? Who everyone says is the best power forward on the free agent market? He’s lounging Staples-side like Keanu Reeves and pissing off fans and teammates. Meanwhile Stoudemire’s been working on an extension with the Suns and not letting it affect his game.

But the value the Suns may have previously wanted to give Stoudemire may be outdated. As the New York Times notes, Stoudemire has likely boosted his free agency value significantly. If he does opt-out and the Suns don’t reach an extension, he could end up getting the money he’s maintained he’s worthy. You know, the max contract that Chris Bosh seems to think he and his position as the primary player on the second worst defense in the league deserves.

The choice between Bosh and Amar’e would be pretty complex. If you want consistency, Bosh is your guy. He’s good for 20+ and 10+ every night. But he’s also unlikely to excel beyond his normal boundaries, while Stoudemire can disappear from game to game and then detonate for some ridiculous 30+ and 15 stuff.

But of course, people will argue that Bosh’s defense is the difference maker.

Too bad the data doesn’t necessarily support that. In addition to the fact that Bosh was a part of one of the worst defenses in the NBA, Synergy has some interesting data to add. Turns out Amar’e is a whole .5 percent worst in direct defensive play situations.

And against the pick and roll man situations, which is, you know, kind of important as it’s the most frequently used play in the NBA, Bosh gives up a score 56% of the time, versus only 38% for Stoudemire.

Bosh is a better rebounder and still worth every penny for a max contract. But if Stoudemire keeps up the way he’s been playing? You have to consider the question if Stoudemire is the better option. But hey, Bosh looks good in dress clothes.

Report: Sixers expected to waive Tibor Pleiss after trade with Jazz

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 30: Tibor Pleiss #21 of the Utah Jazz controls the ball in the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on October 30, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.

Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.

Jordan releases new Russell Westbrook ad, may include a shot at Kevin Durant

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 28:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (L) and Russell Westbrook #0 look on during a press conference after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-101 in game six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 28, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
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As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”

Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.

Kobe Bryant on how teams should see Warriors: “‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go.”

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 03:  Retired NBA Champion, CEO, Kobe Inc., Kobe Bryant speaks onstage during 2016 Milken Institute Global Conference at The Beverly Hilton on May 03, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
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For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.

His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).

“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”

Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.

We’re going to miss Kobe.

 

Report: Dwyane Wade’s cousin killed as innocent bystander in gang shooting in Chicago

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29:  General manager Gar Forman of the Chicago Bulls (L) listens as Dwyane Wade speaks during an introductory press conference at the Advocate Center on July 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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This news is just sickening. In a world with just too much sickening news.

According to NBC 5 in Chicago (which spoke to police), Dwyane Wade‘s first cousin Nykea Aldridge was pushing a stroller down the street when she was shot and killed as an innocent in the crossfire of a gang shooting.

The 32-year-old woman, whom family identified as Nykea Aldridge, was apparently the unintended victim of a gang shooting, police said. She was walking around 3:30 p.m. in the 6300 block of South Calumet when two males approached another male and opened fire, police said.

Wade tweeted this.

Aldridge was on her way to a local school to register her kids (they had just moved) when the shooting took place. There has been a rash of gang and gun violence in Chicago in the past year, and Dwyane’s mother Jolinda Wade had just been on a panel on ESPN’s Undefeated talking about it.

Wade is coming to play for his hometown Chicago Bulls this season.

Our thoughts are with Nykea Aldridge’s family and friends.