NBA Props Predictions: Odds for Amare Stoudemire's New Team
by Alan Matthews - 6/5/2010
A few weeks ago I wrote a story about which team LeBron James will play his first game for at the start of the next NBA season, with Bodog having odds on the likely candidates. Now the site offers the same prop on Suns big man Amare Stoudemire, who calls it “50-50” on whether he will return to Phoenix.
He actually has a year and $17.7 million left on his contract but can opt out and wants a long-term max deal. It’s a lock he does opt out with so many teams having money to spend and a possible lockout looming next summer. That’s why the Suns nearly traded him at the deadline, but when they didn’t Stoudemire was arguably the best player in the Western Conference from that point forward -- although he was iffy in the West Finals against the Lakers at times. Amare averaged 25.3 points and 10.1 boards in February, 27.3 and 9.9 in March and 26.4 and 9.3 during the regular season in April.
The Suns want to keep their team intact while Steve Nash is still playing at a high level despite his advancing years. But Stoudemire says he will at least join that rumored free agent “summit” to see what all the other big names are doing. Plus, the Suns seem like they have hit their ceiling and won’t have money to add another big name while also keeping Stoudemire.
And is Stoudemire, 27, really a max-level player like LeBron, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade? He is playing on surgically-repaired knees and is considered a below average defender and rebounder – he averaged only six boards a game against the Lakers and had more than eight boards in just three games all postseason. In reality, he is probably more of a No. 2 guy to a superstar than a No. 1 guy himself.
Let’s take a look at each team Bodog lists along with its odds of getting Amare:
Chicago Bulls (3/1) – Stoudemire’s rebounding issues could be masked some on the Bulls with Joakim Noah playing next to him at center. And Amare definitely would bring a scoring punch that Chicago desperately needs from the No. 4 spot. But the Bulls really like young Taj Gibson there and are more likely to target a guard-type (i.e. LeBron or Wade or Joe Johnson) because they are weak at shooting guard with Kirk Hinrich, who should be coming off the bench. Reportedly the Bulls also like Bosh better than Stoudemire. Obviously, if the Bulls get LeBron they won’t have money for Amare.
Miami Heat (14/5) – The Heat came close to dealing for Stoudemire at the trade deadline, and they could slip him right into the power forward spot and move Michael Beasley to small forward where he belongs. Certainly getting Stoudemire should placate Wade. Plus don’t rule out the fact that Florida has no state or local income tax. This is your best bet.
New Jersey Nets (7/1) – The Nets desperately need a power forward, but it looks like they might draft one (Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors) with the No. 3 overall pick. New Jersey also was making a push for Stoudemire at the trade deadline. And money won’t ever be an object with New Jersey now with its new Russian billionaire owner. But wouldn’t you rather play in Phoenix or Miami than New Jersey? I’m guessing Stoudemire would. Definitely keep an eye on who the Nets draft as that should give us an idea of their free agent plans.
New York Knicks (9/2) – Might the Knicks just be better off keeping David Lee at a lower price than spending one of their max contracts on Stoudemire? Lee averaged 20.2 points and 11.5 rebounds last season compared to Amare’s 23.1 and 8.9. Plus, Lee has less NBA tread on his tires even though they are both currently 27. This isn’t a good fit or bet.
Phoenix Suns (2/1) – If Stoudemire was so gung-ho about the Suns he would just take that max deal now and be done with it. But obviously he is having second thoughts. And he no doubt sees that Nash is 36 years old and simply has to start slowing down. The Suns don’t really have a realistic shot at a title anytime soon, so if winning is what matters Stoudemire will leave. He could force a sign-and-trade to get the extra millions that only Phoenix can give him.
Any other team (4/1) – This might be the second-best bet behind the Heat. A team like the Wizards (who seem more attractive now with John Wall soon arriving) or Clippers could offer Stoudemire the max deal he is seeking and he would be the showcase player of either team, at least until Wall matures. However, Washington is very happy with Andray Blatche at power forward and Stoudemire doesn’t really want to play center. And the Clippers will have rookie Blake Griffin at power forward next season. But, again, don’t rule out a sign-and-trade with a team that might not have the cap room just to sign Amare.
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