Amar’e Stoudemire is on the trading block. Everyone knows it, and even the Grizzlies have dangled trade proposals to the Suns in an attempt to get one of the game’s brightest young big men. Everyone seems to assume he’s being traded because Phoenix has massively underperformed on the court. But what if that’s not the case? What if he’s being traded just so Phoenix owner Robert Sarver can save some cash?
(Maybe Sarver could save some cash by cutting back on giant foam fingers?)
Believe it or not, this post on THE ON DECK CIRCLE paints a compelling picture for why that might be the case. Sarver, who was universally recognized as one of the NBA’s cheapest owners already, has lost $253 million in his real estate and home building companies. That’s why the team is reportedly looking to drop $40 million+ in salary as soon as humanly possible, and Stoudemire would be a good start.
To put things in perspective, Sarver lost another $7 million from the time the post was first put up on the Phoenix blog BRIGHT SIDE OF THE SUN to the time it hit ON DECK CIRCLE on Friday. That was a grand total of three days. Ouch.
In fact, the Amar’e trade may be the first blatantaly recession-induced transaction to come down the pipe in professional sports. Sure, baseball teams have backed off signing some big ticket free agents, but no one has traded away an All-Star in his prime to save cash. It seems like that’s about to change.
The story linked above has the complete financial roadkill to explain exactly how Sarver lost multiple lifetimes worth of savings in a matter of months, but was tipped off by an ESPN chat featuring writer J.A. Adande, who indicated that the Suns’ cost-cutting measures are widely regarded as common knowledge among other NBA front offices. If that’s true, it has dire ramifications for Phoenix in and of itself. Think about it: What GM is going to give the Suns fair trade value when he knows he can land a player of Stoudemire’s quality for peanuts just because the Suns need to dump the cash? And don’t say Elgin Baylor. He finally retired.
Put it all together and the outlook in Phoenix is grim. Steve Kerr may be the starting coach by the end of the All-Star break, and it may be in large part due to an unwillingness to spend money on another coach. Within four days his franchise player power forward will probably be traded, and there’s a legitimate chance that Shaquille O’Neal, who he spent tons of money on last year at the traded deadline, resurrected career or not, will be gone as well.
Within one year, the Suns will have gone from serious contender to clering house for a long rebuilding effort, and possibly a rebuilding effort that won’t even get any funding from the team’s owner. It’ll mark one of the fastest falls from grace in recent basketball history, and we can all go back to the same spot to place the blame: Wall Street.