Wizards attempted to acquire Suns' Stoudemire

By Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 9, 2009

When Amare Stoudemire visited Washington in late May, he did a radio interview in which he expressed his "love" for the city and joked that the Wizards "could be a number one jersey away" from a championship.

The Wizards attempted to make that happen, as they engaged in trade discussions with the Phoenix Suns about acquiring Stoudemire before the NBA draft, according to multiple league sources.

The proposed deal involved swapping the fifth pick and No. 14 pick, with Antawn Jamison and other conciliatory pieces also mentioned in the discussions. The deal reportedly collapsed when the Suns wanted Caron Butler included.

The Wizards eventually settled on a package with Minnesota for Mike Miller and Randy Foye, and the Suns made a salary-cap saving move by sending Shaquille O'Neal to Cleveland, with Stoudemire, Jamison and Butler staying put. Each player said he was pleased that nothing transpired last offseason.

Jamison said he never thought he was in any danger of changing teams. "I've heard so many rumors affiliated with me for a long time. I didn't think it was anything serious or anything like that," Jamison said recently of the trade talk. "I have a very good relationship with the front office. If it was true and they were thinking about doing it, I think they would've given me a heads-up to let me know what was going on."

Butler also said he was never concerned. "I don't see myself in another uniform. I consider this home and I think I'm a big part of what the future is. We'll see what happens, but I can't see it," he said. "The thing about this business and what I realize is, the only thing you can control is what you do, how you prepare and how you play. Everything else takes care of itself."

Several teams attempted to acquire Stoudemire at the trade deadline last February, but the Suns decided to hold on to him. His season then came to end in February when he had surgery to repair a partially detached retina. The eight-year veteran, who now plays with protective eyewear, said trade rumors never affected him.

"That's the way it is in this game. You never know what the future holds," said Stoudemire, who turns 27 on Nov. 16 and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. "It's all good. I honestly enjoy it. I know a lot of teams out there are watching me and wanting to acquire me. But my focus is the Phoenix Suns. We've got a good ball club here; I love my teammates and we get along well, and we're winning right now."

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