Amare Stoudemire is looking to make an NBA comeback.
According to ESPN’s Jordan Schultz, Stoudemire and guard Monta Ellis will work out privately for at least five NBA teams in Las Vegas next week.
Schultz noted that both Stoudemire and Ellis are healthy and are hoping to sign with a contending team such as the Los Angeles Lakers.
Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks and Houston Rockets are also believed to be at their private workout in Vegas.
Stoudemire, 36, is a former All-NBA First Teamer. Stoudemire’s last NBA stint was as a member of the Miami Heat in 2016.
He has since played overseas for Israeli club Hapoel Jerusalem.
Stoudemire is widely remembered for playing for the Phoenix Suns.
One of the biggest ‘what ifs’ of the Phoenix Suns’ franchize is the question: What if the Suns had gone to the NBA Finals in 2007?!
“We would have had a great chance to win against Cleveland,” Stoudemire told me.
“We were playing at an extremely high level that year.”
Phoenix was on track to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.
That all changed in Game 4 of the 2007 Western Conference between the Suns and the San Antonio Spurs.
With only a bit of time remaining, Spurs forward, Robert Horry knocked Steve Nash into the scorer’s table, leaving the former MVP a bloody mess.
Stoudemire and Boris Diaw were on the Suns’ bench at the time and rushed to the court to defend Nash’s honor. For those keeping score at home, that is a no-no in the NBA rule book.
The league suspended Horry for two games and handed Stoudemire and Diaw a one-game suspension for leaving the “immediate vicinity of the Suns bench.”
“Boris and myself had no idea of that rule and we retaliate off natural reaction,” said Stoudemire.
“I was hoping the league would take that into consideration and give out a warning. But they came with the hammer, man.”
The Suns won the game to tie the series at two games apiece. But, without Stoudemire and Diaw, the Spurs overpowered Phoenix and took the series — costing Nash perhaps his best chance at a title.
“I think we would definitely have gotten to the Finals,” said Stoudemire.
Stoudemire breaks deep and cites former NBA referee Tim Donaghy as an independent variable in the series. “There were a lot of discrepancies with San Antonio,” he said.
“Even with the officiating with Donaghy, at the time.”
If you’re just tuning in to the NBA, don’t be alarmed, I got ‘ya!
Tim Donaghy was a former 13-year referee in the NBA. He served time in prison for his role in a huge NBA gambling scandal.
He resigned in 2007.
In his book, Donaghy weighed in on the Spurs/Suns series stating:
“I feel the Phoenix Suns were the best team in in the league in 2007. And that whole series was officiated poorly, and I give the reasons in the book as to why I feel it was officiated poorly. And one of the reasons is that Tommy Nunez was the supervisor of officials in that series. And he had a dislike for the (Suns) owner Robert Sarver, and he enjoyed the lifestyle in San Antonio, and liked to get back in the next round of the playoffs and continue to go to San Antonio. So it was a situation that he was steering the series to San Antonio in tape sessions.”
Stoudemire’s take is simple: “I mentioned a few things about that series with the Spurs and the Suns,” he told me.
“So I’m not exactly sure what was happening. I wish we would have had a chance to play in that game.”
Despite the San Antonio Spurs beating the Phoenix Suns in that 2007 Western Conference semis, advancing to the next round and becoming eventual 2007 NBA champs, Stoudemire doesn’t regret getting off of that bench. “No, I can’t,” he said.
“Because it was a natural reaction and it’s just human nature for me to not only see what’s going on, but also look to protect my teammate and that’s something we’re all accustomed to doing in the basketball and the sporting world.
“So I could never say I wish it wouldn’t have happened because I wish I would have known about the rule and my coaching staff knew about the rule, we would have been more aware about the situation, but no one knew at the time. So it’s nothing we could do about it.”