Mark Cuban signaled that he’d like to keep Amar’e Stoudemire beyond the rest-of-season deal he signed with the team following his buyout with the Knicks, as Cuban told reporters, including Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News and Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. Stoudemire’s choice of the Mavs over the Suns, a team in which he had an “extremely high” level of interest in joining, and other suitors indicates that he’ll again consider signing with Dallas this summer, MacMahon figures, though it doesn’t appear an open-and-shut case. Stoudemire called the summer ahead a chance for him to choose a team that has confidence in him and understands that he’s eager to play at a high level for years to come, as Sefko relays, and MacMahon believes he’ll prioritize winning, playing time, and money.
“I love Amar’e — love, love, love the guy,” Cuban said. “There’s not enough superlatives. He’s just a great guy on the court and off. I just love his physicality. He just wants to win and is a great guy.”
Cuban makes a habit of saying he wants to keep his teams intact only to shuffle the roster, Sefko points out. Still, the owner isn’t upset about Stoudemire’s criticism of his new teammates, citing the 13-year veteran’s experience as reason to let him speak his mind, Sefko notes. Dallas will probably offer Stoudemire a “significant” portion of the mid-level exception this summer, MacMahon believes. The non-taxpayer’s mid-level will be $5.464MM and the taxpayer’s amount will be $3.376MM, though if the Mavs dip below the cap, they’ll instead have the $2.814MM room exception.
MacMahon envisions Stoudemire asking for a multiyear deal, which jibes with the 32-year-old’s intent to maintain his performance well into the future. Stoudemire said he believes he can play another five or six years if he keeps his body in tune, as Sefko and MacMahon relay. The strong reputation of Mavs athletic trainer Casey Smith helped persuade the big man to sign with Dallas, as MacMahon wrote last month, but Phoenix’s training staff is as well-regarded as any in sports, and Stoudemire would reportedly welcome a return to the Suns this summer. In any case, Stoudemire said “there’s no way” he’s retiring this summer, according to Sefko.
Reports linked Stoudemire to the Blazers, Grizzlies, Spurs, Clippers, Raptors and Warriors while he was considering where he would play following his Knicks buyout, and that suggests there will be plenty of teams in the mix for him again this summer. In any case, he assuredly won’t be making the salary of almost $20.911MM the Knicks are shelling out for him this year, an amount that was to have been even greater before he gave up $2.5MM in the buyout. His deal with the Mavs gives him a prorated minimum salary, and Dallas would have to use cap room or an exception to give him more than 120% of the minimum next season, since they have only Non-Bird rights to him. The Mavs have about $28MM in guaranteed salary for next season, but several members of the team are set to hit free agency.