I don't hate Amare for leaving and I wish him the best. He's a good dude; he always worked his ass off to improve his game and he did fantastic things for the Suns. He will be missed and not easily replaced (sorry, Hakim Warrick, and sorry, Gani Lawal).
The Suns made a fair offer. Amare had the opportunity to make about $30m more guaranteed (but about $5m less if he had met very reasonable minutes incentives). He was also probably, understandably, forgivably holding a grudge for all those times he was almost traded and wasn't. As much as there was plenty of making-nice going on between Stoudemire and Sarver, both men clearly felt it was time to move on.
When you snatch this $100m contract from James Dolan's hand, it will be time for you to leave. Time for you to leave.
What is telling and completely cynical and therefore a fully acceptable target for mockery is his choice of destination: The New York Knicks and his old buddy, Mike D'Antoni.
Amare has long said that winning was the number one priority, so his choice of new team is the Knicks, where they haven't won anything since before Mike D'Antoni could grow hair on his lip. The Knicks are the worst possible choice if "winning" is what matters. They have one decent player on their roster and no two-time MVP point guard to get Stoudemire the ball.
Amare, of course, will say all the right things and he thinks he can probably help lure LeBron James, but that's monkey pucky. If Amare wanted to land LeBron in NY, he would talk to LeBron first and make an agreement (free agents can't tamper with each other) and they would walk down Broadway together arm in arm.
Now, maybe he will get lucky and LeBron will decide to go with him, but that seems highly unlikely.
Just as unlikely as Amare ever agreeing to play again for Mike D'Antoni, who he blamed for not teaching him defense, who he blamed for playing him at center and who he said didn't hug him enough.
"Mike was a quiet guy. Sometimes he didn't talk to a certain players. Didn't communicate as well to the players which sometimes can be a little frustrating because you want to build that relationship with your coach. You want to build that friend(ship) so you can sit down with him and talk about personal thoughts and also basketball. You want that friendship with your coach. Mike was a quiet guy.
...Then you bring in Alvin, a guy who is definitely a players coach. A guy you can talk to and say 'hey man you know', 'family situation here', 'or my kids here', 'my kids are doing great in school', 'how are your kids'. That's the type of conversation you want to have with your coach. Alvin's that guy.
You want a coach that you can really hug and hold and high five and really have fun with. That makes it fun play. You can high five and hug your team mates. You don't want to have fear of your coach. You want to be respectable with him but you also want to be a friend with him."
D'Antoni, for his part, never was quite as open in his criticism for Amare. It's almost like he didn't care about him at all, which is pretty much the impression he gave.
So how do these two end up back together? Did their breakfast meeting suddenly bring them together in common love of bagels and lox?
Nope. Both of these guys were forced into it.
Amare's camp talked about interest from other teams and he clearly had some, but most rumors were saying that other teams shared the Suns' concerns over his long term health, which left the Knicks holding the biggest
New York (and their mustachioed coach) had no choice. They've been tanking for the past two years and selling their fans on this summer as their chance to get a big-name free agent. When LeBron didn't run into their arms (or Bosh, Johnson or Wade), they had no choice but to throw a giant contract at Amare or risk getting stone cold lynched by a mob of Madison Square maniacs.
Amare can talk all he wants about making peace with D'Antoni and leading the Knicks "back." He picked the team with the least chance of winning because they were the most desperate.
And for the Knicks, the plan worked. The fans are happy:
and my erection is back!
I don't wish Amare bad, but he is very likely in for a long few years of losing and it will only take about 2 months of playing mediocre basketball for the NY media to turn on the entire lot of them.
Of course, Amare also knows that his $100m contract is much less expendable than that of his coach.
Have fun, fellas!