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Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Amare Stoudemire: High risk, high reward

By Kevin Arnovitz

The calculus through which Danny Ferry is factoring a potential trade for Amare Stoudemire is dizzying. Chris Broussard, Brian Windhorst and Chad Ford have each explored the moving parts -- what it means for LeBron James' future in Cleveland, the financial considerations for both the Cavs and Suns, whether there would be enough shot attempts to go around for all the scorers, and Stoudemire's status this summer. The list is inexhaustible.

For those who follow the Cavs closely, there's sincere ambivalence about the prospect of Stoudemire joining the team. When the rumors surfaced a few weeks back, John Krolik of Cavs: the Blog articulated those feelings:

On the one hand, it’s Amare. This could be the move that would make the league’s most dangerous offensive player the leader of the league’s best offense. On another hand, he doesn’t look like a good fit on either offense or defense. Plus, the Cavs are only now getting used to their one big acquisition, and do seem to be rolling on all cylinders. On a third hand, possibly an elbow, most of Amare’s perceived flaws don’t look very bad at all on paper. But then again, that’s what people were saying when the Magic signed Vince Carter. Ugh.

That's three hands, an elbow (and an 'ugh' for good measure), and each concern seems just as plausible as the one that precedes it.

Krolik went to the painstaking task of examining the variables Stoudemire would introduce on both ends of the floor for Cleveland. Among his most compelling findings about Stoudemire:

That's a lot to consider for the Cavaliers. It seems unthinkable to pass up an opportunity to upgrade your roster with one of the most devastating pick-and-roll masters in the league. But Stoudemire would introduce a series of unknowns into a Cleveland outfit that's humming along as we enter the final two months of the regular season.

What's Stoudemire been up to lately? I was able to catch his performance against Sacramento a couple of weeks back. Stoudemire put up a line of 30 points and nine rebounds against the Kings. That's the good news. But he was also the primary culprit in giving up a 31-point, 7-rebound performance to Donte Greene, who was playing power forward for the Kings in Jason Thompson's absence.

The game offered viewers the full breadth of Stoudemire's game, its best and worst qualities -- the explosiveness and the disinterest, the silky mid-range jumper and the troubling tendency to get beaten to the ball beneath the glass. Stoudemire is a confounding -- but spectacular -- talent: