I spoke with Amare Stoudemire after last night's game, and he admitted to getting a kick out of all the Pistons fans doing their best to "recruit" him:
"The fans definitely didn't let me forget about it," he said. "They were cheering all night, 'Stoudemire, you're coming to Detroit, we want you in Detroit, we got to have you in Detroit! We'll trade Allen and Rasheed for you!'
"I'm hearing all the rumors and all the chants, which is fun; it's good the fans are on the ball. But I'm a Phoenix Sun right now and we'll see how it plays out."
Just how will it play out? Only Steve Kerr knows at this point, but Stoudemire certainly gives the impression that he thinks he's on the move.
"It kind of reminds me of draft day when you never know what team you're going to go to and you got all the fans inside that draft [room] cheering, 'We want you in New York,' or 'We want you here,' 'We want you there!'"
If you heard Stoudemire's comments to WXYZ's Don Shane before the game, the love-fest with the fans goes both ways:
Don Shane: All the rumors going around, one of them has you coming here to Detroit. Would you want to come here and play in Detroit?
Amare Stoudemire: I love Detroit. It’s a beautiful city, the fans are phenomenal, but you never know what’s gonna happen. You know, it’s really out of my hands right now and what I’m focused on is the game tonight.
[...] Don Shane: How much would you enjoy coming to play for Joe Dumars and an organization that has such a good reputation?
Amare Stoudemire: It would be phenomenal. I think the fans here have been probably the top fans in the world since I’ve been in the NBA. They’re always cheering their team on and every time we come here, their always loud and rowdy, so it would be fun to play here.
I'm guessing Stoudemire will say all the right things at every stop on his farewell tour Phoenix's road trip, but still, it's refreshing to hear an athlete discuss trade rumors so openly instead of pretending he doesn't pay attention to all the speculation. As Amare said, "I know about the rumors. I know what teams are looking. I know what teams want me."
Just about everyone's weighed in with their thoughts on a potential trade, but here's my two cents: you do it in a heartbeat. In fact, the only player I'd be reluctant to include in a package to get Stoudemire is Rodney Stuckey. Forget about future cap space -- the reason why you hoard expiring contracts is to have a shot at signing a guy like Stoudemire. If you trade for him now, you have the leg up on re-signing him later.
He's a bit of a polarizing talent, but I think alleged locker room issues are overblown (he addresses that in my article, as well) and there are few players in the league who can score in the low post like he can. Imagine, a starting center who actually enjoys scoring in the paint and getting to the free throw line. Would I rather have Chris Bosh? Perhaps, but in my book they're close enough that you jump on the first one who becomes available -- if you wait, there are no guarantee it'll pay off.