This looks bad, the way
On the bright side, Stoudemire's vision is just fine after Feb. 20 surgery to repair the detached retina that prematurely ended his season. He's able to make goo-goo eyes at everyone.
In an actual positive sign for the Suns, though, Stoudemire prefers to remain in Phoenix, has not asked for a trade and, in fact, would love to talk about an extension during a very uncertain offseason for the franchise.
This is not someone trying to talk his way out of town and torching bridges as he goes, people close to the situation insist, just as this is not the February trade deadline anymore with Stoudemire on alert for the next new rumor. Stoudemire's flirting with half the free world appears to be more letting off steam than actual relocation desire. He's caught up in the speculation, trying to save face rather than be the guy supposedly being offered around, an incorrect premise.
Nobody is untouchable on a team going backward -- second round of the playoffs two years ago, first round last year, no round this time -- but if a big-money starter does go, chances are greater that it's
Of course, Stoudemire would also bring the most in return, so it's impossible to say a trade absolutely will not happen. The direction is clear, though. The Suns anticipate the biggest offseason news on the Stoudemire front being a return to the court in a couple of weeks and much of the summer being spent in Phoenix working his way back from the serious injury that will probably require him to wear eye protection the rest of his career.
"I had a great talk with him at the deadline and explained everything," general manager
The coaching change, from
It's why the core may be kept together -- Stoudemire, O'Neal, Richardson,
Answering some draft-related questions ...
I'll give you two candidates, with the understanding that there will be a lot of activity the next three weeks that could move someone higher or drop him into the second round.
I'm staying with my original belief that the chances are pretty slim. Rubio has to get past two teams, given that
I was going to use this assessment at some point when writing about Jennings and his unique path from growing up in Southern California to finishing his high school career in Virginia to committing to Arizona to instead spending 2008-09 just trying to get minutes as a pro in Italy. But this is as good a time as any. Straight from a GM: "If he gets it from the neck up, he will be as special as a lot of players in this league. Physical tools, he's off the charts."
Jennings is cocky, which is great in moderation until a young player proves himself. He's also small, 6-1 and wiry. But he's super quick, aggressive and gets to the rim. The common comparison is
He got underwhelming reviews for his season in Italy, though it wasn't all Jennings' fault. A lot of European teams operate with a class system -- veterans get the minutes even if they're being outplayed, young guys wait their turn. Jennings was frustrated. But he also has the personality of someone who wants to stand out for taking a unique path.
• The biggest news from the predraft tea in Chicago, where prospects wanting to become professional basketball players did not play games, were the measurements. The one that jumped out to front-office representatives:
• Also saying he's staying in: Maryland guard
• One more concern for the Cavaliers, as if the urgent ones of the summer aren't enough: The Magic aren't going anywhere. Orlando won six of nine meetings in the regular season and playoffs, and the Magic's core players are 23 (