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The Jump – Examining Amare rumors

The Amar’e Stoudemire rumors are getting hot and heavy as the All-Star game has concluded, and we are now three days away from Thursday’s trade deadline.

I would be shocked if Stoudemire is playing in a Suns uniform Friday when the Suns try and split their season series with the Atlanta Hawks.

Let’s analyze some of the rumors flying around and how they would affect the Suns roster. The two reports I am going to concentrate on come from Chad Ford at ESPN.com and Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo Sports.

Chad Ford’s name has been linked with Suns news the past month. First, concerning Amar’e’s supposed locker room dissension which was vehemently denied by the organization, and now the trade rumors.

“For the Suns, the Stoudemire-Hickson trade would be something of a last resort. The Suns have been hoping to land more than just Hickson and financial relief.”

Ford named the Philadelphia 76ers as the Suns top choice to deal with while Amar’e would prefer to go the Miami Heat.

The Suns-76ers trade mentioned featured Phoenix getting center Samuel Dalembert and small forward Andre Igoudala with Philly acquiring Amar’e Stoudemire and Leandro Barbosa.

Out of the rumors that have been discussed this nets Phoenix the most talent in return for Amar’e, but leaves the roster unbalanced. Samuel Dalembert and Robin Lopez is not a good match at the power forward/center position. It is a nice defensive combination, but the trade off on the offensive end is too great for them to play together for long stretches.

I believe Dalembert would be the starter because he is a better fit for what Coach Gentry wants to do. He blocks shots and runs the fast break well; his mid range jumper is inconsistent, but Dalembert does have the ability to hit the 15 footer at a higher rate than Lopez.

Along with Lopez moving to the bench would be Grant Hill. The Suns would have an abundance of small forwards with Hill, Iggy, Dudley and Earl Clark.

If I am Coach Gentry I go with a small starting lineup, moving Dudley to the power forward position, Igoudala at the three, Richardson playing the two and Nash running the point.

Igoudala is an excellent rebounder for a small forward and can help crash the defensive glass.

This leaves Channing Frye coming off the bench so he can continue in his recent role, but could be brought in to play with Dalembert or Lopez if they wanted to go with a more traditional lineup.

Goran Dragic plays the Vinny Johnson role as the 3rd guard off the bench, shifting back and forth between point guard duties and playing off the ball.

Grant Hill’s versatility off the bench has to be taken advantage of, shifting him back and forth between three positions. If Phoenix wanted to go small with the second unit he can be used at the power forward position, for a big lineup he can play shooting guard, and in a traditional lineup his normal spot of small forward.

This trade would test Coach Gentry’s creativity and how he can mix and match different line ups.

The trade that keeps Gentry’s job simpler is with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who Adrian Wojnarowski believes is the front runner to get the rights to the Suns power forward.

“The Suns have had serious discussions on a trade that would send Stoudemire to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Zydrunas Ilgauskas and J.J. Hickson, but sources say neither side has yet to commit that it will make the trade should the other give the nod. Nevertheless, the Cavs are the clear frontrunner over Philadelphia and Miami for the simple reason that Cleveland has an acceptable deal on the table for the Suns.”

I put this trade through ESPN’s NBA trade machine and even though Hickson and Ilgauskas are the only two names being mentioned it does not fit under the rules of the salary cap. Phoenix needs to take another player from Cleveland and the four players that make the most sense are Jawad Williams, Leon Powe, Danny Green or Darnell Jackson.

A lot of people are wondering from the Cleveland perspective why would they stick Shaq and Stoudemire in the front court together when it clearly didn’t work for the Suns last year?

The answer to that is simple; if LeBron James wants it Cleveland is going to do its best to make it happen.

According Wojnarowski it seems like James is pushing for it.

“Still, the Cavs’ ownership and front office will spare no expense to make a move they believe will result in a championship. As much as anything, they believe the re-signing of LeBron James could well rest with winning the title. James is a major proponent of the Stoudemire trade and much will be incumbent on him to make the partnership with him, Stoudemire and Shaquille O’Neal work.”

Translation, James is essentially the general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Danny Ferry is his puppet.

For the Suns, on the court, the transition with this trade is a lot less complicated than the Philly trade.

The starting lineup stays exactly the same (everyone is reporting that Ilgauskas will get bought out and head back to Cleveland) with J.J. Hickson getting plugged in for Amar’e.

This trade does not field the same amount of talent as the 76ers trade, but I really like Hickson. He is undersized for a power forward, listed at 6-9; I bet he is more towards 6-7. Hickson can face up, post up, and is a good finisher around the hoop. I see his ceiling (if he had a career year and was an All-Star) at 22 points and 10 rebounds, on average Hickson probably plays more towards 17 points and 8 boards.

Notes from All Star Weekend

-Reggie Miller needs to be pulled from TNT immediately. His performance on All-Star Saturday night was disgusting. During the three point contest he repeatedly called shots important when the contestants were already eliminated. Way to pay attention.

As the game was starting Sunday he talked about how he liked the body language from the Eastern Conference as they were getting ready to tip off. It’s an All-Star game, absolutely ridiculous comment.

Miller finished off his fantastic weekend criticizing Jazz point guard Deron Williams for not knowing the score and fouling late in the 4th quarter when the game was tied. Valid point, but you are a hypocrite. As I mentioned above, Saturday night Miller was just as lost and clueless.

I swear none of this has to do with me being a Knicks fan and the sight of Reggie Miller makes me want to puke. He is just really bad.

I do admit I’m scared if Cheryl Miller somehow read this that she would beat me up.

-Great halftime show: Shakira looked so hot I couldn’t care less that she didn’t sing one word and Alicia Keys really is an incredible singer.

-What a terrible end to an entertaining game. Free throws decided who won, so anticlimactic.

-I talked about how LeBron James running the Cavs organization earlier. He doesn’t just run Cleveland, he runs the entire NBA. Watch the introductions (I tried to find the video of it and failed) and how he comes out. Then Dwayne Wade, Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson and Dwight Howard fall in line behind him like his personal minions. Wade, Garnett and Howard are three of the biggest stars and personalities in the NBA and they show respect to James. You could see it during the game also, the admiration he is given by his peers is at a level above anyone else, and that includes Kobe Bryant. LeBron James has officially become the face of the league.

-Next year the All Star Game is in Los Angeles, I’m calling it now: LeBron will participate in the dunk contest.

-If Chris Tucker ever wants to do another Rush Hour (lost track of how many their have been) he better lay off the fast food.

-New York Knicks forward Danillo Gallinari was clearly still hung over during All-Star Saturday night. Give away #1, I watch a lot of Knicks games and Gallo’s hair is always done up the same exact way (really not good that I know this), Saturday it looked like he rolled out of bed five minutes before he was supposed to report. #2 my friends and I that were watching together caught him yawning on the sidelines multiple times.

-The horse contest needs to be fixed. It is great in theory, but carried out terribly. I’m pretty sure you don’t need a referee to watch over a horse game. These guys have been playing horse since they were five years old. All that non sense makes it take up more time than it has to. It is mandatory that Charles Barkley is on a microphone at all times during this particular event. Next year Jamal Crawford better be in this contest, he can give Kevin Durant a run for his money.

-Did I mention that Shakira looked really hot?