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Stoudemire says Suns contract offer made him feel “unappreciated”

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The fans in Phoenix appreciated Amar’e Stoudemire.

They would chant “M-V-P” him (of course, fans seem to chant that for everyone now). He was part the most deadly pick-and-roll combination in the league and was at the heart of a team that had just advanced to the Western Conference finals in front of raucous crowds. He had grown up as a player in the Valley of the Sun. He was loved and appreciated for that.

But in the NBA, feeling appreciated comes down to getting paid.

Last summer Suns owner Robert Sarver offered Stoudemire a five-year, $99.6 million contract — but only $56 million was guaranteed. Sarver had concerns about Stoudemire’s surgically repaired knee and eye.

The Knicks had no such reservations (that and they were desperate, needing a star who they could sell to fans and who could lead the team). They offered the $99.6 million fully guaranteed, and Stoudemire took it.

Stoudemire returns to Phoenix Friday night and said the contract situation left a bad taste in his mouth, Paul Coro reports in the Arizona Republic.

“If they were looking to rebuild and thought I was the guy they wanted to rebuild with, then we could’ve came to an understanding,” Stoudemire said. “But apparently it wasn’t that way. It felt like I wasn’t wanted. It felt like I wasn’t appreciated. I felt like my play on the court was overlooked.

“If you have the best training staff and brag about the situation, my knees really weren’t much of a concern. It was something that didn’t make him (Managing Partner Robert Sarver) comfortable and he made a decision. I don’t want to get involved in an amount-of-minutes situation because it becomes a control issue. You want to be able to play free.”

This season Stoudemire has played his way into MVP consideration, something he never would have gotten in Phoenix because too many writers thought it was Steve Nash just making him look good. Turns out, Stoudemire can make himself look pretty good.

Some fans will boo Stoudemire tonight in his return. But when you are talking about $40 million in guaranteed money — plus the other perks that come with winning in New York — it’s kind of hard to blame the guy. Plus, there’s that whole feeling appreciated thing.

Report: Bulls’ Cristiano Felicio ‘strong favorite’ to replace Anderson Varejao on Brazilian Olympic team

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 19: Cristiano Felicio #6 of the Chicago Bulls looks to pass against the Toronto Raptors at the United Center on February 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Raptors 116-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Warriors center Anderson Varejao will miss the Rio Olympics due to a back injury.

Where will Team Brazil turn now?

Likely to Bulls center Cristiano Felicio.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Felicio came on strong late last season. He puts his 6-foot-10, 275-pound frame to good use protecting the paint and rebounding. He showed potential as passer and mid-range shooter, too.

At age 24, he’s a candidate to break out in the Olympics.

If he’s not ready, Brazil can turn to a steady veteran at center, Nene.

Report: Equipment staffer punched by Blake Griffin no longer works for Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin stands on the court as equipment manager Matias Testi, left, stands behind the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in Los Angeles. Griffin broke his hand last month when he punched Testi in the face. The Clippers won 105-86. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Blake Griffin broke his hand punching Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi in January.

Make that former Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi.

TMZ:

The L.A. Clippers equipment staffer who was punched in the face by Blake Griffin during a fight in Toronto earlier this year is off the team — and will NOT be back for the ’16/’17 season … TMZ Sports has learned.

We spoke with a rep for the Clippers who confirmed Matias Testi “no longer works for the team.”

#Family

Writer recants report of Kevin Durant telling Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with Thunder

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 03:  Kevin Durant #35 and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder talk to head coach Billy Donovan during their game against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on March 3, 2016 in Oakland, California.  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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?

Never mind.

Royce Young of ESPN:

I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.

Warriors/Brazil center Anderson Varejao to miss Olympics with back injury

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Dan Clark #13 of Great Britain shoots over Anderson Varejao #11 of Brazil in the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match between Great Britain and Brazil on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics for host Brazil because of a herniated disc in his lower back.

The Golden State Warriors announced the injury Wednesday and say that Varejao should be ready for the start of training camp but will not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics. Varejao recently experienced back pain while training with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier this week.

Varejao averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22 games after signing with the Warriors on Feb. 22. He re-signed with the team earlier this month.