ESPN reports that Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni will meet with Joe Johnson in LA, midnight on July 1, and after that meeting is held, the Knicks would also like to meet with Amare Stoudemire in Los Angeles.
Even though James is New York's main target, Chris Broussard points out that the Stoudemire/Johnson duo, which was sucessful in Phoenix, would be a nice consolation prize if James signs elsewhere.
My thoughts are that if James doesn't sign in NY, Amare is a Knick. They will offer Joe Johnson, and Stoudemire max money probably, thus overpaying them, and they will both accept happily. Amare would definitely leave his past with D'Antoni behind him for the max. If I remember correctly; if Stoudemire leaves the Suns will have $13 million worth of cap space, which could possibly sign: Rudy Gay, David Lee or Carlos Boozer.
Ed Note: For consolidated Amare rumors, visit SB Nation Arizona's Amare Sage StoryStream.
This is the 8th installment of the 2009-10 Phoenix Suns player report cards. We're using the old-school A-F system for continuity’s sake. Today the spotlight’s on Louis Amundson.
Everyone needs a Lou Amundson. Not just a basketball team. Having Lou around the house would be a good thing. He's the type of roommate who'd eat the last bag of Doritos but then he'd go out and buy a new one. Lou would probably do the yard work, he wouldn't get hammered drunk and urinate in the corner and he wouldn't try to move in on a girl you brought home from a bar. I doubt he'd clean much, but he probably wouldn't make much of a mess. Lou's like that older cousin you had growing up who was really cool. He was quiet but he had a pony tail and everything he did was cool, so you idolized him. Mom can I grow a pony tail like cousin Lou?
*ed note: I realize Lou didn't have the pony tail until recently and was an Ashton Kutcher look alike. Acknowledging that would have ruined my ode to Lou.
A little advice to you Lou, (who may not be a Sun in a few weeks). You did buy a house in Scottsdale. The real estate market is depressed. You'd take a loss. Let's be practical. Phoenix is your home. Maybe take Sarver's low-ball offer and hang out for a couple more years, yes?
Louis Amundson was signed out of the Summer League in which he played for the Warriors in 2008. Credit Kerr, Griffin, and Terry Porter (credit to Porter is optional of course) for spotting Lou and recognizing that Amundson was exactly what the Suns needed. Said Steve Kerr:
"We just felt like there was too big of a drop-off over the last couple of years when Steve (Nash) went out of the game and that we couldn't always survive on just making jump shots,...You have to be able mix it up, get offensive rebounds and make ‘dirt-worker plays,' as Cotton Fitzsimmons used to say. You have to be able to draw charges and create extra possessions."
Lou knew what he brought to the table and had little illusion that he could play in the NBA and what his value could be to a team, especially one known for being soft on the boards like the Suns:
"I bring athleticism, toughness and a defensive mindset...I've been told they want to go in that direction and add a little bit of depth in that area."
The Suns needed Louis Amundson. Lou needed an NBA job. Now that's a perfect fit. A guy without an ego who knew his role, cameoff the bench, oftentimes when PHX was getting slammed on the boards, and mixed it up with the beasts of the league, getting under their skin without any fear.
Nene flagrant vs. Phoenix (via coronaftw)
You can understand how some of the millionaire-overly-hyped bigs in the league could get annoyed by some undersized pony tailed wearing nobody boxing you out and standing up to your attempts to intimidate him.
Lou even had the stones to take on Shaq in the battle of pranks:
Phoenix Suns: Shaq Gets Pranked - April 14, 2009 (via PhoenixSunsVideos)
This past season Lou was the spark to many of the Suns come from behind victories. Let us not forget the infamous Mavs game in which the Suns bench, sparked by Lou's 7 4th quarter points which enabled Alvin Gentry to leave Amare Stoudemire-he of the one rebound performance on the bench for the entire 4th quarter. And Amare didn't even complain. Of course there were other great performances by Lou. Games where that one rebound, steal, block, or tip in changed the course of the game. Lou solidified the Suns bench, and while lacking any real offensive acumen, the kid could sky for an alley-oop and occasionally drop a 10 footer.
The numbers don't scream out to us, and why would they for a guy who averaged 10-15 minutes a game, depending on the opponent? But Lou's rebounds per 48 minutes put him in good company among Western Conference secnd unit forwards: 4th among those with at least 40 games under their belts as bench players. No doubt many teams in the league are looking at those numbers and preparing a much better offer than Sarver and Co. will.
There were stretches this season where Lou saw his role and playing time diminish. Yet he always took it in stride, his attitude never changed. If he sat, he was prepared to get on the floor and do what the Suns needed him to do. He never complained, knowing his value would eventually get him back on the court.
What say you all?
For a Phoenix fan, Frye’s addition to the team in July last year was a very attractive prospect. Having attended St. Mary’s high school in the valley and then rocking his way to the NBA through the University of Arizona, Frye flew to Phoenix out of Portland as fast as he could and we welcomed him with open arms. Now we’re facing the possibility of his departure. It’s been one hell of a season for our 6’11" Forward-Center.
His first and maybe even last season with the Suns, summed up by the most important people in the basketball universe (the Bright Side readers), produces Frye’s final grade for the 2009-10 season.
Wil Cantrell had a chance to sit down for a Q&A session with Ben from Blazer’s Edge just after Frye signed with the Suns. This helped us get an idea of what we could expect from Frye in the upcoming season. Most fans had mixed feelings about how he’d contribute to the team, but the general consensus was that of the "wait and see" variety. The season started average enough. Frye’s first game (preseason, Warriors) saw him manufacture the first six points on back-to-back triples with some long twos peppered in later in the half. Frye proved at once that all the summer talk about him being a floor-spacing jump shooter at the center spot was more than just talk, and we were excited to see what he’d bring to the table when the big guys started coming to dinner. After a great game against the Minnesota Timberwolves (Suns 3-0 lead at the start of the season), Frye said:
"It's early in the season so we will see how defenses start to play me. I think a lot of teams weren't going to play me as a shooter I thought I was, but now I'm kind of establishing that. I just need to continue working on my game and stay humble."
Maybe others thought they could push him around in the beginning, but we saw Frye’s defensive efforts essentially evolve before our eyes after Gentry put more pressure on him to rebound and defend. The pressure eventually led to his relegation to the bench, and as the defensive efforts stepped up, so did Frye’s feistiness. Remember the Pacers game with the ejection? Things got heated with 46.7 seconds remaining in the third period when the Pacers' Earl Watson (read: punk-ass baby) appeared to push Frye. Danny Granger then took a swipe at Frye, who swung back. Roy Hibbert and Jason Richardson also joined the altercation. Technicals ensued. For more on Frye’s evolution, check out this practice report when Frye says:
"I started out my career looking at the 17 footer, then it was the 3, now I'm kind of a hybrid. I'm just trying to slow down and play with confidence, which is tough sometimes since I'm a perfectionist."
Oh, and for those of you who like numbers and since we’re getting close to the grade:
Regular Season Stats:
GP: 81 GS: 41 MPG: 27.0 FG%: .451 3P%: .439
FT%: .810 RPG: 5.3 APG: 1.4 SPG: .8 BPG: .9 PPG: 11.2
GP: 16 GS: 0 MPG: 27.2 FG%: .364 3P%: .349
FT%: .938 RPG: 5.6 APG: .9 SPG: .8 BPG: .6 PPG: 8.2
In Game 6 of the Lakers series, Frye had 13 rebounds and added 12 points off the bench. I personally breathed a sigh of relief. I would even go as far as to say it was his personal best game of the season, all things considered. I felt like he deserved a little detention or maybe some Saturday school after a few of those playoff games. That being said, although I’m a pretty firm believer in building a players’ confidence up as much as possible, I just can’t fake an A on Channing Frye. His playoff performance in the Lakers series tipped the scales. If he stays with us and completes some more of those extra credit assignments I mentioned before, his grade next season should shoot up to A status. ‘Til then…
Final Grade: B