When thinking of viable free agent big man targets, Amar’e Stoudemire isn’t a name that jumps to the front of the list. Out of the NBA since 2016 and coming off a successful run in the Israeli League and a stint in the Big 3, Stoudemire is looking to possibly try his hand at a comeback in the NBA.
At the peak of his powers, Stoudemire was an elite rim-running big man that would have been perfectly suited for the modern NBA. Possessing elite athleticism and the ability to torch teams in transition, Stoudemire made himself a household name on the back of five separate All-NBA appearances. However, as Stoudemire grew older, he struggled to adjust his game to the effects of father time and numerous injuries added up and eventually forced out of the NBA after an extremely respectable 15-year career.
While a comeback may seem unlikely, finding competent backup big man play is extremely difficult and given his pedigree, Stoudemire should get an honest look. If he can give a team some solid minutes off the bench, it isn’t unrealistic to think he could come back and stick around for another year or two in a reserve role.
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Lakers Linked to Amar’e Stoudemire in NBA Free Agency
Listed alongside Amar’e Stoudemire in Schultz’ report is another throwback name in Monta Ellis. Regarding Stoudemire, if he can show the Lakers that despite his age and injuries he still has the athleticism to patrol the rim and get up and down the court in a timely manner, he should be worth the risk on a veteran minimum deal.
The Lakers will need to sign more than one center to the roster as Davis prefers to play power forward and they need to account for injuries after a season that saw their roster get decimated by the injury bug. While it is smart to target a Cousins or McGee in free agency, taking a shot on Stoudemire and seeing what the former star has left in the tank is a gamble that very well may be worth taking.
Lakers Other Free Agency Targets
Aside from looking at Kawhi Leonard and the pair of aging vets on a comeback tour, the Lakers are eyeing a number of other remaining free agents to bring on board for veteran minimum contracts. As the top priority is to land Kawhi, the Lakers are looking to efficiently fill out their roster once the Kawhi signing inevitably pushes them up against the salary cap.
Rajon Rondo is a name that has been floated around and despite playing on a $9 million contract last season, could be willing to take a pay cut to return and help play point on a superteam. The Lakers could also look to DeMarcus Cousins and JaVale McGee, as listed above, to help fill the void they have at Center. While Cousins should be much more expensive, rumors are that his market is almost nonexistent and he could be forced to take an extreme pay cut (possibly the room exception) in order to find himself on a roster next season.