The Arizona Republic
ANALYSIS by PAUL CORO
The Arizona Republic
PHOENIX – Now that every possible trade scenario has been exhausted in quick-trigger rumor reporting, the truth comes out today.
Suns center Amaré Stoudemire still is not going anywhere. It still is a long shot for Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett to wind up in Phoenix.
And if the Suns’ hopes to trade into the top 10 of today’s NBA draft don’t improve, the most action fans might see today is the Suns’ picking at Nos. 24 and/or 29 and trying to move Kurt Thomas’ expiring contract.
Even getting some luxury-tax relief by moving Thomas’ deal, worth $8.1 million next season, is no sure thing.
But the hubbub sure got the NBA nation worked into a lather, particularly with ESPN’s reports that three-team Garnett deals were in the works with Minnesota, Atlanta and Boston.
There seemed to be a lot of wishful thinking regarding Stoudemire’s availability, which remained as unlikely Wednesday as when initial Garnett rumors surfaced last week.
Hawks star Joe Johnson even called Stoudemire, his former Suns teammate, to tell him he’d like to reunite after Hawks officials approached Johnson with a proposal that had Garnett coming to Phoenix, Stoudemire going to Atlanta and a pick, likely Atlanta’s No. 3 overall selection, going to Minnesota.
The problem is it was a talk that only Minnesota and Atlanta shared, although a Hawks owner claimed to veto the idea.
“We’ve never spoken with Atlanta about Amaré,” Suns General Manager Steve Kerr, a former UA Wildcat, said Wednesday night, when he also called Stoudemire to assure him all rumors were bogus. “We have no idea why anybody would speculate on that.”
It was just as implausible that Stoudemire would go to Minnesota in a two-team Garnett deal, because two league sources said the Timberwolves did not want Stoudemire. They were interested in picks or salary-cap space.
It is clear that the Suns remained in Garnett talks, but the possibility of a deal always remained unlikely. Garnett is owed as much as $28.5 million next season if traded.
Phoenix was more intent and hopeful that it could find its way into the draft’s top 10. Making a deal with Charlotte, at No. 8, is a possibility.
NBA DRAFT: 4:30 p.m. Thursday, ESPN
NBA MOCK DRAFT
Florida Today predicts top 10 picks:
1. Portland: Greg Oden, Ohio State C, 7-0, 250. He is too much of a sure thing to pass up.
2. Seattle: Kevin Durant, Texas SF, 6-10, 220. His arrival could send Rashard Lewis to the Orlando Magic.
3. Atlanta: Al Horford, Florida PF, 6-9, 245. The Hawks like Horford but they need a point guard like Mike Conley.
4. Memphis: Mike Conley, Ohio State PG, 6-0, 175. Conley gets a chance to get out of Oden’s shadow.
5. Boston: Yi Jianlian, China PF, 7-0, 246. They could make this pick for Minnesota or Phoenix as part of a trade.
6. Milwaukee: Jeff Green, Georgetown SF, 6-9, 225. Team needs defense, so Joakim Noah also is possible.
7. Minnesota: Joakim Noah, Florida PF, 6-11, 230. If Kevin Garnett leaves, the team must rebuild up front.
8. Charlotte: Corey Brewer, Florida SF, 6-8, 190. Michael Jordan gets a steal, but might trade him for a veteran.
9. Chicago: Spencer Hawes, Washington C, 7-0, 230. The Bulls need a low-post threat.
10. Sacramento: Al Thornton, Florida State SF, 6-8, 225. The draft’s purest athlete could replace Ron Artest.
Mock picks 11-30, Page 4C