Amaré Stoudemire isn’t oblivious. Each day, he hears about his supposed new landing place. First, it’s Chicago. Then Portland. Or Cleveland, Memphis, Detroit.
With six days left before the NBA trade deadline, speculation is all the rage around the NBA.
And Stoudemire is on center stage, as evidenced by the throng of reporters surrounding his table at All-Star media day on Friday afternoon at the Sheraton Hotel in Phoenix.
“I’m in the middle of it? Are you kidding me?” Stoudemire said. “I’m on top.”
The 26-year-old four-time All-Star seems to be taking it all in stride.
He is open to the idea of switching teams, while also stating his desire to remain a Sun. If he stays, Stoudemire said he would consider signing a contract extension in Phoenix after his current deal expires in 2010.
But as the days pass, it becomes increasingly likely he gets packaged for a talented young player and expiring contracts.
Stoudemire pegged his chances of staying in Phoenix past the trading deadline at 60 percent.
“You never know,” Stoudemire said. “You have to prepare for both.”
Stoudemire was asked to play general manager for a day.
While acknowledging the Suns’ financial restrictions, he couldn’t understand the thinking behind trading a rising star.
“I’m trying to figure out what the focus is,” Stoudemire said. “I’m not quite sure. With me being, well, I thought I was going to be the future of the franchise and we were really trying to win a championship here. It doesn’t seem that way any more. I don’t know what to expect from the front office.”
If Stoudemire was in charge, he wouldn’t be shopping himself.
“If I was building a team I would definitely start with the young All-Star,” Stoudemire said. “But I don’t know what’s happening. My hands are not in it. It’s not my front office, I’m just a player.”
Joe Johnson was apart of the 2004-05 Suns team that originally captured the state’s full attention. That squad went 62-20 and advanced to the Western Conference finals.
But he signed with the Hawks that offseason, and watched as the Suns got close, but never over, the championship hump.
He didn’t expect Stoudemire to be on the trading block this year.
“Would I expect it for Amaré? No, I wouldn’t,” Johnson said. “But it’s a tough business. It comes with being a professional. ... A good team only lasts 3 to 4, maybe 5 years. You really have to take advantage of it. When I was here, we were the youngest team, but we were sitting right at the top. I thought we had a lot more room for improvement, and who knows how good we could have been?
“I don’t want to say it’s coming to and end, but it’s been a tough streak for them.”
Stoudemire admitted how tough it’s been adjusting from Mike D’Antoni’s free-wheeling system to Terry Porter’s regimented offense.
He made several suggestions to improve the team on the court.
But it’s the way the management has treated him off the court that has Stoudemire miffed.
“I think it’s a low blow,” he said. “I’ve worked hard for the organization, I’ve been great in the community, I’ve done everything they’ve asked me to do. I’ve never gotten in trouble. You’ve never heard about any DUI’s or any trouble at all since I’ve been in the league. I’m 100 percent professional and charismatic, and made sure my character stood as such. To hear these trade rumors, that they want to trade me for pretty much nothing, I don’t get it.”