Suns' Amar'e Stoudemire expecting trade talks to heat up

Paul Coro – The Arizona Republic

Each of the past two seasons began with speculation that the Suns could
trade forward Amar’e Stoudemire at some point and a different player
wound up being moved.

At the 2008 NBA trade deadline, it was Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. Last season, Boris Diaw and Raja Bell were dealt.

With the trade deadline a month from today, the conversation about trading Stoudemire continues – externally and internally. Interest in trading for Stoudemire remains as tepid as it was last season, when the Suns passed on moving him because of a lack of quality offers.

"It’s been quiet," said Stoudemire, who unlike last summer has kept it that way by not fanning flames with comments about a possible trade. "But I’m pretty sure it’s going to heat up in a second as far as trade rumors and different scenarios."

The next month should have drama now that Stoudemire is potentially in the final season of his contract. He could choose not to exercise a player option worth $17.7 million for the 2010-11 season and become an unrestricted free agent. Around 10 teams will have salary-cap space this summer, and their fans are expecting a splash, something Stoudemire’s marquee name and All-Star status would provide.

"There are a lot of big names," Stoudemire said of this summer’s potential free agents, contingent on other players exercising their options. "I think of myself as one of the top four of the bunch. Obviously, LeBron (James), (Dwyane) Wade, myself and (Chris) Bosh are on the top of most teams’ lists. We all know that. It’s just a matter of what we want. Personally, I want to win."

The Suns have an exclusive ability to negotiate an extension with Stoudemire but have not discussed it, waiting for him to prove his health after undergoing serious eye surgery last year. He also has had operations on his knees, including microfracture surgery in 2005. He has not missed a game, has carried himself as well as ever and has per-game averages of 21.0 points and 8.8 rebounds that are in line with his career statistics. He said he is 100 percent, although many have questioned whether he is as explosive.

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