Homecomings are the new wave among NBA stars. Between LeBron James in Cleveland, Kevin Garnett in Minnesota and Tayshaun Prince in Detroit, more and more big-name players are returning to the franchises with which they’re the most synonymous. According to a new report, Amar’e Stoudemire could follow suit this summer.
The NBA trade deadline turned into homecoming day, with Kevin Garnett returning to Minnesota and Tayshaun Prince going back to Detroit. Could an Amar’e Stoudemire-Phoenix reunion be next? Perhaps. Stoudemire joined the Dallas Mavericks last week after being waived by the Knicks, but he’ll be a free agent again in July, and sources say he would welcome a return to Phoenix, where he spent his first eight seasons. Stoudemire loves the city, and his creaky knees could benefit from a reunion with the Suns’ renowned medical staff. Whether the Suns would reciprocate the interest is unclear. But the Suns could use a scoring big man, and team officials could certainly use a PR boost after trading the popular Goran Dragic to Miami last week.
It makes sense, particularly the medical-staff angle. Stoudemire’s body has completely broken down since he left Phoenix for New York in 2010, and if their staff could extend his career by a few years, he would surely welcome that.
But the Suns just traded for Brandan Wright, who is essentially a healthy version of what Stoudemire would give them on offense, and a better defender. Wright is a free agent this summer, but after trading two picks to the Celtics for him, Phoenix will be motivated to re-sign him. A Stoudemire return would be primarily a nostalgia exercise.
Then again, that’s more or less what Stoudemire is at this point. He can still be an effective player in limited minutes, but he’s already sitting out back-to-backs in Dallas. He isn’t an everyday player anymore. And it’s highly unlikely he’d command more than the minimum salary. So if the Suns are interested, it may be the best thing for both parties.