Amar'e Stoudemire Linked to Minnesota
Amar'e Stoudemire has been linked to more rumors than it's possible to remember, but here's a new one you probably haven't heard before: Marc Spears of the Boston Globe cites an unnamed NBA executive who claims the Suns and Timberwolves are talking about swapping Stoudemire for Al Jefferson and the No. 6 pick.
On the surface, the move makes sense for the Suns -- as weak as this draft is, there are several intriguing point guard prospects expected to go early in the first round, and the Suns could theoretically snatch an heir to Steve Nash with the sixth pick.
Even though Jefferson is still damaged goods while recovering from a torn ACL, Phoenix's renowned medical staff has worked wonders in recent years, nursing Stoudemire back from microfracture surgery and helping Grant Hill play 82 games last season for the first time in his career. Plus, since Jefferson is more of a traditional center than Stoudemire, his arrival might set the stage for Shaquille O'Neal to be dealt next.
As for the Timberwolves, I'm not sure I see the motivation, unless the team is suddenly extremely eager to get out from underneath the five-year, $65 million extension Jefferson signed in 2007. Stoudemire has the option of testing free agency next summer, so this trade would have a real chance of being nothing more than a flashy salary dump.
Jefferson and Stoudemire have different styles of play, but assuming you grade their talent as being diverse but equal, is dumping one contract really worth the sixth overall pick? I'd like to think not, but that's something only Minnesota's front office can answer. But if you leave money out of the equation, this trade simply doesn't make sense from Minnesota's perspective.
As easy as it would be to dismiss this trade as just another disciple in the school of Sam Smith and Peter Vescey, it's worth pointing out that Spears did scoop everyone in November by being the first to report that the "Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson" swap was in the works. It doesn't mean he's right, but his signal-to-noise ratio is better than most.