For months, the man has gleefully and openly contemplated playing in a uniform other than Phoenix Suns one. At times, it’s seemed as though he could hardly wait to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, so he could get as far away from Phoenix as possible.
Now, for reasons unknown to anyone but himself, Amar’e Stoudemire is saying that remaining a Phoenix Sun wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
“I can opt out this summer or I can opt in, which means I’ll be back another year (for $17.69 million),” said Stoudemire, speaking after the morning shootaround in preparation for Wednesday night’s game against Denver. “That’s definitely an option. I’m leaning more toward that right now. Maybe opting in. … (That would be to) buy time. See how we do. … I think we got our game back on track. A three-game winning streak.”
If Stoudemire indeed wants to stay, that could reduce the chances of the Suns dealing him by the Feb. 18 trade deadline. Stoudemire, making $16.38 million this season, believes the chances of him being moved are “50-50.”
The Suns are also assessing their options with their All-Star forward. NBA sources say the team is expected to make another contract extension offer to Stoudemire before the All-Star break, though it remains to be seen whether the Suns’ offer will approach the three-year, $57 million extension Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol received earlier this season.
Now, whether or not this actually changes anything for Stoudemire and the Suns (who may still trade him before the Feb. 18th deadline) is anyone’s guess. And who knows, he might change his mind once again between now and July 1st about life as a Phoenix Sun.