By Annie Ross
Now that the Sixers have sent Thad Young, their only proven front-court scorer, packing, the wild-ass rumor that Amar’e Stoudemire might be joining the team has taken on more resonance.
Stoudemire is entering the final year of his contract with the Knicks, one that will pay him more than $23 million, but is uninsurable due to his history of injuries.
When looking at that extreme level of financial risk along with Stoudemire’s current level of production, it wouldn’t seem to make sense for another team to be interested in acquiring him via trade.
But there is one scenario where something could happen, although it wouldn’t go down for another six months.
What’s far more likely is that the long rumored Amar’e Stoudemire to Philadelphia deal gets done at the deadline. The Sixers take on Stoudemire’s $23 million salary cap number, which pushes them way over the minimum. They would only owe him roughly 30 percent of his remaining contract, so they’d end up paying him $7 million in cash and likely extract a draft pick or a rookie scale player for their troubles.
Flexibility in the NBA is currency – both figuratively and literally. The 76ers will likely meet the floor; they just are not incentivized in any way to do it before the trade deadline.
This came up in a larger discussion about how the Sixers are well under the minimum amount that teams need to commit in terms of payroll for the upcoming season, but it’s not like there are any penalties if that dollar amount doesn’t ultimately get spent; all that happens to a team that doesn’t meet the league’s salary floor is that the remaining dollars get split up among the existing players on the roster once the season is finished.
The deal would make sense for both sides from a financial perspective, but could ultimately depend on New York’s place in the standings at the time.
If Stoudemire is healthy and a contributing member of the rotation, and if the Knicks have a realistic shot at making the playoffs, New York will likely keep Stoudemire on the books for the remainder of the season.
If things have gone south by then, however, then this seems like something that could certainly take place.