Final nail in coffin for Suns and Amare

July, 2, 2010
7/02/10
6:11
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Ford By Chad Ford
ESPN.com
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Amare Stoudemire's days in Phoenix are over. Two league sources confirmed that Stoudemire ended his negotiations with the Suns on Thursday, essentially ending his tenure with the Suns.

The decision to end negotiations comes despite the public posturing the past few weeks that indicated that Stoudemire wanted to return to Phoenix. However, sources say that Stoudemire's desire to leave Phoenix dates back to the tough negotiations he had with Suns owner Robert Sarver in Februrary. Stoudemire's camp knew that it was highly unlikely that Sarver would offer Stoudemire a five-year deal at max numbers and Stoudemire has been worried that even if he did, he'd gut the rest of the team to pay for it.

When Stoudemire received the Suns "final offer" -- a five-year, $95 million deal with partial guarantees on the last two years contingent on Stoudemire playing a minimum of 2,200 minutes his third and fourth seasons, Stoudemire pulled out of negotiations.

"It wasn't the right deal," Stoudemire's agent, Happy Walters, told the Arizona Republic. "There were too many caveats for us to be comfortable with it. Amare appreciated Robert's and Alvin's [Gentry] willingness to sit down with him. He'll be sad to leave his teammates and the city he loves but it's time to move on."

Following Stoudemire's withdrawal from negotiations, Sarver put the final nail in the coffin for Stoudemire. The Suns' decision on Friday to agree to terms with Hakim Warrick essentially ended any real chance of reconciliation between the two parties.

The only way the Suns can afford to sign both Channing Frye and Warrick under collective bargaining rules is to renounce the team's rights to Stoudemire. Once renounced, the Suns no longer will have the ability to exceed the salary cap to re-sign Stoudemire. On Friday a source inside the Suns confirmed that the team will renounce his rights.

Stoudemire has now turned to the New York Knicks and is working on securing a max five-year deal there. According to sources, while Stoudemire's camp is eager to get a deal done, the Knicks are reluctant to commit to him until they know what Chris Bosh decides. But once Bosh makes a decision, the team can get more serious about completing a deal if Bosh chooses to play elsewhere.

Chad Ford

Senior Writer, NBA Insider

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