If the reports are true and the Cleveland Cavaliers are in serious negotiations with the Phoenix Suns to get PF Amare Stoudemire, Lebron’s chances at his first NBA championship are getting even better. Yes, the Cavs are in the midst of the longest winning streak of the year and have the best record in the NBA as it is. However, Stoudemire is one of those rare players in the league that pose match-up problems every time he laces ’em up and the thought of him and Lebron as teammates is a frightening thought. Especially for opposing coaches. Throw in the intimidating factor of Shaq’s game and the penetrating ability of Mo Williams and the Cavs would be looking like the clear favorites to win the title this year. Now it’s no doubt true that the Shaq/Stoudemire experiment in Phoenix was a complete flop and the chemistry of the team seemed to go downhill once Shaq and Stoudemire became running mates. Looking back, that was a different type of team that, before Shaq came on board, relied on an up tempo offense and Steve Nash’s ability to distribute the ball. Plenty of “experts” thought Shaq would slow the offense down and clog up the middle once he went to Phoenix and they were ultimately right.
Stoudemire on the Cavaliers, with Shaq and Lebron, would be a different story though. The Cavs rely on their defense to kick start their offense and don’t need to push the ball up the floor to create scoring opportunities. A large majority of their points come out of the halfcourt set and Lebron’s ability to create and find the open man. Stoudemire would fit perfectly into the Cavs style. He would give them that one guy that can score with his back to the basket and consistently hit the 15 foot jumper if need be. Just imagine the defense trying to decide between doubling Lebron or having to leave Amare straight up -5 feet from the basket. Pick your poison. He would create an instant match-up nightmare for the elite teams in the East and would no doubt be a part of the best one/two punch in the NBA.
Of course it would be difficult giving up a young, talented guy like J.J. Hickson and possibly Z or draft picks for a player that could be gone at the end of the year. But you can’t get something for nothing and all-star talent has to come at a hefty price. Plus, the Cavaliers time to win is NOW and demonstrating to Lebron their commitment to winning is what will ultimately be their biggest allure in getting The King to resign with them during the off-season. Convincing Stoudemire to stay with Lebron wouldn’t be bad either.
I say pull the trigger if it’s possible and go for it all while the window of opportunity is still wide open.
What do you think?-DM