After a summer of speculation, including some by himself, it has been a fall of serenity around the Amar’e Stoudemire situation.
What situation? That’s exactly it. Stoudemire’s contract predicament –
in which the forward’s deal can be extended or he can opt in or out for
next season – has been a non-issue because of how the Suns have won and
how he has handled matters. From town to town, there have been more of
the same queries with the same diplomatic responses from Stoudemire.
"It’s been great, because it keeps us focused on what we’re doing on the basketball court and ultimately winning basketball games," Stoudemire said. "There are no distractions right now. We’ve got to keep it that way."
Though most of the focus usually is about whether the Suns will trade Stoudemire, extend his contract or whether he will become a free agent, there remains the less-mentioned possibility that he exercises his 2009-10 player option for $17.7 million. That figure likely would not be matched in the open market because of the expected decrease of the NBA’s salary cap.
Stoudemire said staying with Phoenix remains the preference because of his family, fans and friends. Suns coach Alvin Gentry said he is "proud" of Stoudemire for how he has carried himself this season.
"He’s matured so much over the summer," Gentry said. "He and I have had a lot of conversation. I’ve had to learn how to text.