In a move that will surely have Mark Cuban's huge head explode, ESPN's Ric Bucher tweeted this to Suns fan and Bright Side of the Sun member @rsavaj in response to a question about what moves Suns might make:
Looking to see what they can do with Shaq or Amare. A good chance Shaq will be moved by Thursday.
No real news regarding Amare
It's been confirmed in multiple sources that the Suns have been shot down for deal proposals that would have netted Phoenix significant talent from the Timberwolves and Wizards (this year) and by the Grizzlies and Warriors (last season's trade deadline). The Suns tried to trade Amare for: Jefferson and the #6 pick from Minnesotta; Caron Butler and the #5 from the Wizards; Rudy Gay and their pick in the case of the Grizzlies; and Andres Biedrins and Anthony Randolph from the Warriors.
I think it is fair to say that the market for Amare's services isn't what the Suns front office was hoping it might be.
Perhaps those rumors of a deal with the Bulls is best the Suns can do if trading Amare is in their plans. Some kind of package that includes Tyrus Thomas and pehaps John Salmons and Tim Thomas. Maybe you could even get their 26th pick as well. Somehow though, I am not even sure that the Bulls would do that given that Amare just this week started working out again for the first time since his eye surgery in late February. My guess is that Amare stays at least through the next trade deadline.
With Shaq, as Bucher points out, it's a different story and we've explored the three main trade rumors in depth a few weeks ago: Cavs, Mavs and Hornets. Here's another...
Shaq to the Bulls for Miller and James
Another deal that has been floated includes Shaq to the Bulls for Brad Miller and the super expiring 80% insurance covered contract of Jerome James.
This is an interesting move for both teams. Both Miller's $12.3m and Shaq's $21m contracts expire at the end of this season and Jerome James is a super tradable piece given that 80% of his $6.6m is covered by insurance. Right of the top this deal saves the Suns $3.4m in salary and another $3.4m in matching luxury tax (depending on where the teams total payroll ends up come April 2010). Neither team takes on any longer term deals so the risk is minimal. It is not nearly as big of a savings for the Suns as the deals with the Cavs and Mavs but on the court it is much more appealing.
Brad Miller can still ball and while he and Amare have some history, I am sure Amare would be willing to set that aside once he realizes that Miller can both do the dirty work on the offensive glass AND can spread the floor for him a bit with his ability to pass from the high post and shoot from distance. The Miller/Amare combination might in fact be one of the better pairings for Amare when it comes to bigger centers. Miller of course isn't all that mobile and can't really defend the pick and roll but hey, neither can Shaq so that's a wash.
As for the Bulls, they get the low post scoring threat they are looking for and while they will be spending a bit of money to get him, they would instantly be a better playoff team. They also have a very young locker room that would benefit from having his Shaq-ness holding court.
Throw in the Bulls extra 26th pick and this is my favorite Shaq deal of them all.
I might miss it all
In a massive error in planning on my part, I scheduled a family vacation for this week. I will be flying to North Carolina tomorrow to visit my mom and sister and will miss any fireworks that might happen during the day. I am sure you guys will have my back.
On Thursday, I will be out and about as well, but I have made sure that I will be in front of a TV and computer come draft time on the 25th.
Between my Blackberry and Twitter, I should stay well informed, but don't be surprised if you don't hear from me for extended periods over the next few days.