You guys remember Amar'e Stoudemire, right? He was the 6'10 guy the Suns drafted 9th overall in 2002 out of Cypress Creek High School, the guy who beat out Yao Ming for the 2002-2003 NBA Rookie of the Year - you know, before he added an apostrophe to his first name.
Oh and after Steve Nash showed up in Phoenix, Stoudemire was All-NBA 1st team once and All-NBA 2nd team three times along with being a five-time All-Star. The dude was good at basketball (at least on the one end) and like, really fun to watch.
Following the Suns Western Conference Finals run in the spring of 2010, Stoudemire bolted to New York for an enormous paycheck. I didn't blame him, few of you blamed him, and those who did - well....you go ahead and turn down $100 million dollars guaranteed then we can have a chat about your fiscal future.
While New York has been a massive success for Stoudemire's bank account, it hasn't been quite as swell for his basketball.
In his first season with the Knicks, the former Suns star picked up pretty much where he left off, claiming All-NBA 2nd team honors and helping to end a 6 year franchise playoff drought. In fact, before a midseason trade for Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e was basically playing at an MVP level.
And then it started to collapse.
The Knicks were swept out of the 1st round of the 2011 playoffs by Boston - a series in which Amar'e managed to strain a back muscle dunking during warm-ups of Game 2. The series was a statistical tire-fire for our former hero.
The lockout shortened 2011-12 season wound up being STAT's first without an All-Star berth since 2006 along with featuring a bulging disc in his back (cost him 13 games) and a very public defeat to a Miami Heat fire extinguisher in the 2012 playoffs.
2012-13 was a wonderful disaster for Stoudemire as he played in just 29 games (all off the bench) with a variety of maladies including both a left and right knee debridement. The left knee had him shelved from the beginning of the season until January 1st while the right knee cost him from March until the 2nd round of the playoffs.
The 54-win, 2nd seeded Knicks would go on to fall to the Pacers in 6 games in the 2nd round with Amar'e playing just 33 minutes total.
New York experienced a free fall from 54 to 37 wins the next season while Stoudemire played in 65 games - the 2nd highest total in his 5 year Knick career - but starting only 21. Bryan Gibberman would nonetheless almost certainly tell you that Amar'e Stoudemire was the best part of the Knicks season.
This season, Amar'e has played in 35 of the Knicks 52 games while sitting out with - you guessed it - knee injuries. He's also served as the backup power forward to Lou Amundson a few times this year - so that tells you just about everything you need to know about how things are going in New York.
According to Stoudemire himself, he may decide to pursue a buyout with the Knicks following the upcoming NBA All-Star break.
If the former All-Star and the former successful NBA franchise are able to reach an agreement on a buy-out, the Dallas Mavericks are reportedly thought to be front runners for his services.
But what if it wasn't the Mavericks, what if instead it was the....Phoenix Suns.
ESPN.com's Bradford Dolittle published an article yesterday in which he ranked the best potential fits for the services of the 32 year-old former All-Star.
The first team on this list was his old desert-based employer.
Now this is obviously a terrible idea. Amar'e is 32 years old, he's actually worse at defense than before, he can't score like he used to, the Suns don't have a point guard who can actually pass a basketball off a pick and roll, he's got major injury issues, and you've got to wonder if his ego could handle playing 10 minutes per game in a place where he enjoyed his greatest professional success (it would be kind of like going back to the high school where you were the Prom King but being the janitor), plus do you really want to giveaway minutes to a faded star at the expense of young talent that is already buried? Amongst many, many other reasons.
And here are all the fantastic reasons why it makes absolutely perfect sense and is the best idea ever:
Amar'e Stoudemire used to dunk a LOT when he was Phoenix Sun. He was really, really good at dunking. He dunked hard, over people, through people, and was generally awesome at dunking. I'm pretty sure the rims were mic'd up at US Airways Center and it used to be all super loud and it was awesome. Don't remember? Here's the time he murdered Anthony Tolliver:
Or the time he had to he inform Richard Jefferson's family of his untimely loss:
And finally when he basically sent Michael Olowakandi into an early retirement:
See? Dunks! That should be reason enough but I suppose I'll keep going.
You know what people love? Being reminded of a happier time. Being reminded of a simpler time. It's why everyone liked The Wonder Years - people didn't lock their doors, they had barbeques with their neighbors, and everyone just pushed their emotional problems down as deep as they could go instead of talking about them.
That's what Amar'e coming back would be like! The Suns haven't made the playoffs once since Amar'e left. In the 8 seasons Amar'e played for the Suns, the franchise only missed the playoffs twice. And once was because Amar'e didn't like wearing goggles and put his eye in Al Thorton's way.
So you'll see Amar'e out on the court wearing some mystery number (Goran Dragic isn't giving back #1 but maybe Brandan Wright surrenders #32) and you'll think - "hey that guy was really good and he makes me think about when the Suns were really good. I will purchase some popcorn and a beer now." Do it. You would.
Plus we know he looks good in purple and orange (or with a towel around his neck on the bench or in a backwards DBacks jersey) and he's going to be in the Ring of Honor someday so we might as well trot him out there like some sort of living statue.
Everybody likes a reunion. Leandro Barbosa back in Phoenix last year? Fun! Vin Diesel returning to the Fast & Furious franchise? Fun! Dan Majerle playing out his career for the Suns in 2001-02? Fun! All 3 of those reunions - what we all agree were the 3 best reunions ever - were fun.
Nostalgia. Always and forever.
Aaron Nelson and the Phoenix Suns training staff are known warlocks. Everyone knows they are warlocks. Here's a short list of magical feats that would have had them burned at the stake in Salem:
- Kept a 38 year old Steve Nash on the court for 62 of 66 games in 2011-12.
- Helped Grant Hill to play in 362 games in 5 seasons in Phoenix when he had played in just 200 in a 6 year span in Orlando.
- Literally raised Michael Redd from the dead.
- Helped make 36 year-old street clothes wearer Shaquille O'Neal a 2009 NBA All-Star.
- Oversaw 34 year-old Jermaine O'Neal playing productive minutes in 55 games during the awful 2012-13 Suns season that you have no doubt forgotten.
Amar'e Stoudemire doesn't turn 33 until November 16th. He's still young in Aaron Nelson years. Nelson and his band of medicinal warlocks have faced tougher tests. They can fix him and he probably wants to get fixed!
Playoff Curse Lifted:
Did Amar'e Stoudemire curse the Suns when he left them? Is that curse keeping the Suns out of the playoffs? It might be. We won't know until we combine the two again.
Do we really want him to retire with the curse still active? I sure don't. So if we bring Stoudemire back to Phoenix, the Suns will either make the playoffs or we'll know that there's no curse. Win-win.
In addition to all the other fabulous reasons, Amar'e Stoudemire also bathes in red wine now. Which is maybe a good thing?
Also I think maybe he's Jewish now? I can't remember.
So lets do this Amar'e Stoudemire - you've already banked $142,287,721 going into this season and I'd imagine your buyout number will only cost you a couple million of your $23,410,988 salary for 2014-15.
And Suns - come on. I listed all these awesome reasons above. This is a no-brainer.