Amar'e Stoudemire(notes) and the New York Knicks are making progress in talks on a five-year, $100 million max contract and a deal could be completed as soon as this weekend, league sources told Y! Sports.
While Stoudemire and the Knicks are still on track to consummate a deal, the All-Star forward may wait until he sits down face-to-face with Knicks officials over the weekend in New York before accepting the offer, a source says. Stoudemire wants to hear the Knicks' clear plan for whom they plan to surround him with on the floor. Between now and then, the dominos of players committing to teams could still shuffle the deck and give another team a chance to make a run at Stoudemire – perhaps even work a sign-and-trade with Phoenix that would get him a sixth guaranteed season.
Nevertheless, that possibility seems improbable given teams' reluctance to guarantee four and five years based on Stoudemire's history of knee and eye problems.
New York met with Dwyane Wade(notes). and Chris Bosh(notes). on Friday, but those two players have Miami and Chicago higher on their list of possibilities. Wade and Bosh are also largely tied together by friendship and the sharing of the same agent, Henry Thomas. The Knicks are a long shot for LeBron James(notes). now.
The framework of the deal, which would give Stoudemire a $17.2 million starting salary next season, is in place and the two sides are expected to talk again soon, sources said. Stoudemire is expected to travel to New York on Saturday.
The Knicks and Stoudemire aren't each other's first choices, but Stoudemire wanted a fifth year guaranteed and the Knicks needed to have something to show for years of losing and working to clear cap space.
As Yahoo! Sports first reported, Stoudemire’s departure from the Suns was all but clinched after the Phoenix Suns reached agreement with forward Hakim Warrick(notes) on a four-year, $18 million contract , league sources said.
The Suns moved forward with Warrick after negotiations with Stoudemire stalled. Stoudemire’s agent Happy Walters had a late-night conversation Thursday with Suns owner Robert Sarver, who insisted he couldn’t wait any longer on Stoudemire’s decision and would need to consider other options. Stoudemire was not ready to commit, sources said, because he wanted to see how the rest of the free-agent market played out and he believed he could get a better offer from the Knicks or another team.
The Suns made a last-ditch proposal to Stoudemire, offering him a five-year contract that guaranteed him $71 million, sources said. The first three seasons were fully guaranteed. The fourth season contained a 50 percent guarantee that could become fully guaranteed based on the number of minutes Stoudemire played in the first three seasons. The fifth season of the contract also could become guaranteed based on a minutes incentive.
The Suns put in the incentives because of concerns over Stoudemire’s past knee and eye injuries. Insurance won’t cover Stoudemire’s salary if he can’t play because of any additional problems to either of his knees or his right eye.
The Suns believed the Knicks were prepared to give Stoudemire a maximum offer with all five seasons guaranteed and weren’t prepared to go that high. The Heat expressed similar concern about Stoudemire’s previous injuries, but were preparing to make an offer if they don’t land Bosh. The Houston Rockets tried to deal for Stoudemire in February and also explored possible sign-and-trade scenarios with him in free agency.
Stoudemire has played all eight seasons of his NBA career with the Suns since they took him with the ninth pick in 2002.