PHOENIX – As the Miami Heat continue their pursuit of All-Star forward Amare Stoudemire, Heat president Pat Riley has enlisted the Memphis Grizzlies to be a third-team facilitator with the Phoenix Suns, league sources said Thursday night.
The proposed multiplayer trade is fluid, but the framework would include the Suns receiving a package that includes Miami forward Shawn Marion and Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay. Miami would send rookie Michael Beasley to the Grizzlies. More players would be needed to balance out salary-cap rules.
“Miami knows that they can’t get this done directly with Phoenix,” one league executive said. “The big thing is that they know the Suns like Gay.”
Suns owner Robert Sarver directly called Memphis’ Michael Heisley to discuss trade possibilities between the two teams. The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that the Grizzlies rejected a Suns’ proposal of Gay, forward Hakim Warrick and point guard Mike Conley for Stoudemire. It also reported the possibility of a three-way discussion.
Before the 2008 NBA draft, the Grizzlies tried hard to trade up to get Miami’s No. 2 pick to draft Beasley. The teams never came to terms, and Memphis ultimately worked the draft-day O.J. Mayo-Kevin Love trade. Gay hasn’t meshed well with Mayo, who took over as the Grizzlies’ top scorer.
For the Suns, Marion’s possible return would be an ironic turn of events. The Suns traded him to Miami one year ago for Shaquille O’Neal, and now, he’s attractive because of his expiring contract. The Heat have tried to shop Marion to bring back a strong low-post player, and have tried to get teams to take guard Marcus Banks with him, sources said.
The Heat believe they could sign Amare Stoudemire to a long-term extension before he has the ability to become a free agent in the summer of 2010. Phoenix seems determined to move Stoudemire before Thursday’s trade deadline. As the Suns try to change a failing chemistry, they’ve found a league that isn’t interested in taking Shaquille O’Neal and his contract.
The Portland Trail Blazers also have discussed a trade for Stoudemire, and sources said they have offered the expiring contract of Raef LaFrentz and rookie point guard Jerryd Bayless. The Chicago Bulls also continue to talk with the Suns about Stoudemire.