Stoudemire, Suns make progress

Amar’e Stoudemire(notes) and his agent met for several hours with Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver on Tuesday night and gathered momentum on a possible contract extension, team sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Sarver and Suns coach Alvin Gentry met with Stoudemire and his agent Happy Walters in Los Angeles, and made a case for the All-Star forward to stay with the Suns.

Sources say the two sides are expected to resume talks on Wednesday, and Stoudemire is holding off opting out of the final $17.6 million season of his deal to make him a free agent. Free agency begins at midnight ET, and sources say it’s still possible Stoudemire will opt out of his contract and continue negotiations with the Suns while also meeting with other teams.

Stoudemire is considered one of the elite free agents on the market. He’s a target of several teams with salary-cap space, including the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Miami Heat and several more capped-out teams that will try to engineer sign-and-trade deals with Phoenix.

Stoudemire, 27, averaged 23.1 points and 8.9 rebounds for the Suns last season. Along with Steve Nash(notes), he helped lead the Suns to the Western Conference finals, where they lost in six games to the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite a history of knee and eye injuries, Stoudemire didn’t miss a game last season.

Stoudemire was drafted out of high school with the ninth overall pick in 2002, and spent eight seasons with the Suns.


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Updated Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010