What if the decision to give Amar’e max money played out like a courtroom drama (think “A Few Good Men” or “Presumed Innocent”).
Here’s one stab at what this completely imaginary court transcript might look like…….
Alvin Gentry (The Bailiff): ALL RISE! The court of public opinion is now in session, the honorable Judge Steven Robert Sarver-Kerr presiding.
Judge Steven Robert Sarver-Kerr: Thank you Bailiff. We’ve heard the witness testimony and now will move on to closing arguments. We’ll begin with the prosecution.
David Charles-lead attorney for AMMA – Anti Max Money for Amare: Thank you Your Honor. We at AMMA believe Amare has clearly demonstrated he’s a talented basketball player, but the facts are both fundamental and indisputable. Stoudemire is a player who leaves you wanting more. More defense. More rebounds. More consistency. We urge the court to use the word “max” literally in this circumstance. Do the Suns get the “max” out of Amare night in and night out? Season in and season out? We think not. If the word don’t fit, you must admit….he’s not worth $134 million dollars.
Must we again point to his paltry rebounding total during the 2010 Playoffs? If it pleases the court, we remind your Honor that Amare was 79th in the NBA during the playoffs in rebounds per 48 minutes. Your Honor, can there be a more revealing stat about the perceived effort of the defendant?
At AMMA, our greatest concern is that should he get a max contract from the Suns, he’ll fail to live up to his end of the bargain, or worse still, he’ll get hurt, which is certainly possible given the history with his knee and eye. Should that happen the Suns will deeply regret giving Amare the max and fans will long for freedom under the salary cap. Further more……. (voice tails off)
Judge Sarver-Kerr: (pounding gavel) Ma’am, ma’am, you’ll have to sit down and refrain from interrupting this hearing in the court of public opinion. I understand this is your son on trial here, but I will have order in my court! Proceed counselor.
Charles: Recall the testimony of Yahoo! Sports reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, who suggested that Miami’s Pat Riley would prefer Chris Bosh and perhaps even Carlos Boozer over Amare. If Riley, an established championship coach, doesn’t want to max him out why should the Suns? Finally, we’d like to remind the court that should Amare leave, on the surface, things may look bleak, just as they did in 2006 when he suffered a season-ending knee injury. That team went all the way to the Western Conference Finals. We at Anti Max Money for Amare rest our case.
Judge Sarver-Kerr: Mr. Sugar, you’re up.
Bob Sugar-lead attorney for Team HAPPY (Hope Amare is Paid Plenty Yearly): Your Honor, does my colleague expect this court to believe that 23 point, 9 rebound players grow on trees? Is the AMMA aware that my client is a five time NBA All-Star? An All-NBA first teamer? Who does he propose will replace my client? Earl Clark? We at Team HAPPY contend that Amare Stoudemire is one of the best players in the NBA. If the title fits you must remit….max money to him. He is a star; outside of Steve Nash, he’s the only star the Suns have. His stellar play over the last three months of the regular season confirmed his spot among the elite in the NBA. Without him the Suns might not have even made the playoffs, let alone secure the #3 seed in the Western Conference. And most importantly, for the first time ever, he has a coach who understands him. Who can reach him!
(courtroom lets out a gasp)
Judge Sarver-Kerr: (pounds gavel) Order! I said order in the court! Bailiff Gentry, is this true?
Bailiff Gentry: Your Honor it is (another audible gasp from the courtroom). He wouldn’t listen to Mike. But he’ll listen to me.
Sugar: He faced constant double-teams and lane clogging in the NBA playoffs and still managed to average over 22 points per game. If I may, I’d like to present the court a list of player who made more money than my client last year. Tracy McGrady, Jermaine O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal, Ray Allen….
Charles: Your Honor, I object! Most of the players on this so-called list received were signed years ago. I hardly see how this is relevant.
Judge Sarver-Kerr: Overruled. I’ll allow it. And besides counselor, you can’t object during closing arguments. Don’t you watch “Law and Order”?
Sugar: ……Rashard Lewis, Michael Redd, Andre Kirilenko. All of whom made more than my client last year. This list proves two things. First, if Jermaine O’Neal is worth that much money, certainly my client is as well. And second, perhaps most importantly, max money is simply the going rate for a player of Stoudemire’s caliber. Like it or not. It’s a star league, and if the Suns want to keep their star and stay in the hunt for a championship, they have no choice. Amare isn’t dictating his worth, the market is. With him, the Suns are a contender. Without him, they’re a wanna-be. Your honor, I ask you to consider how the fans would perceive this team if they simply allow my client to walk.
He’s a good kid. Works hard. Stays out of trouble. He has shown nothing but heart and guts in coming back from a variety of injuries. And there is no proof that he’ll have further complications down the road. He is the very epitome of a max player. We at Team HAPPY rest our case.
Judge Sarver-Kerr: I have the testimony and evidence presented by AMMA and Team HAPPY. I will render a decision on or around June 30th.