In an interview with the Arizona Republic, Amare Stoudemire's agent, Charles Grantham, reminded everyone that his client expects to be paid handsomely when he becomes a free agent.
Stoudemire is being shopped by the Suns, with the Bulls a prime contender to make a deal before Thursday's trade deadline. The 6-foot-10 power forward can opt out of his contract in 2010.
"I feel he's a (maximum-salary) player," Grantham said. "A place that may be a real good deal for them may not be the best place for us. In that case, we would not be interested in signing an extension. I would think most teams would not want to rent him for a year and a half. They would want him to sign for more years and know that he's interested in staying."
Under the current salary figures, a team with enough cap room would be able to offer a free-agent contract in the neighborhood of $100 million over five years. A team seeking to re-sign its own free agent is allowed to offer a six-year deal and higher annual raises. So a maximum extension for Stoudemire would include three seasons with a salary above $20 million.
In other words, keeping Stoudemire over the long haul could become an expensive proposition, which is probably the No. 1 reason Phoenix is looking to trade him. Stoudemire is averaging 21.0 points and 8.1 rebounds this season. He was better last year, producing 25.2 points and 9.1 rebounds while shooting 59 percent from the field.
The Bulls are believed to be offering Tyrus Thomas, Thabo Sefolosha, Drew Gooden and Cedric Simmons. According to league sources, the Suns have been asking teams for young players, payroll relief and multiple first-round draft picks.