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View Full Version : Amare Stoudemire has knees tested at Miami clinic



Wade_County
06-17-2010, 11:11 AM
BY MICHAEL WALLACE

MWALLACE@MIAMIHERALD.COM



The Miami Heat's level of interest in acquiring Amare Stoudemire in free agency next month could hinge on the long-term stability of his once-troublesome knees.
Stoudemire, who has been at his offseason home in South Florida with agent Happy Walters the past few days, had MRI tests on both knees Monday at a Miami clinic.
Walters told The Miami Herald on Tuesday that he arranged for the MRIs, which were taken at Central Magnetic Imaging in South Miami at the request of the Phoenix Suns. The Heat has used the same testing facility for several of its players.
Walters said he had no knowledge that the Heat also used the testing center and denied having any contact with the Heat about medical records. Walters said he routinely uses the Miami facility for several of his other clients, including San Antonio rookie forward DeJuan Blair.
Stoudemire and the Suns are negotiating a contract extension that could keep the five-time All-Star from entering free agency July 1.
``I arranged for the MRIs, and they are for the Suns,'' Walters said. ``If I even thought that there might be a connection [to the Heat], I wouldn't have taken him there.''
The Heat declined comment Tuesday, citing tampering rules. A Suns team spokesperson also declined to comment. A message was left for Suns general manager Steve Kerr before it was learned Tuesday afternoon Kerr would not return to the team next season.
Stoudemire, 27, had microfracture surgery to repair his left knee in October of 2005, a procedure that forced him to miss nearly all of the 2005-06 season. He had surgery to remove two particles in his right knee in October of 2007.
Heat president Pat Riley said last month that his staff had already started to gather detailed information on potential free agent targets.
``We're working on it every day,'' Riley said while addressing free-agency plans during a May 3 postseason press conference. ``We know all the targets. We're building one-page profiles -- from 30-page profiles down to one page, very succinct things you can get to.''
League rules prohibit contact with teams and players other their own pending free agents prior to June 30. But Stoudemire and his agent are free to provide teams with his medical records once he is a free agent.
The Heat was involved in a similar due diligence process two seasons ago, when center Jermaine O'Neal, then with Toronto, traveled to Miami to have his knees evaluated weeks before he was traded to the Heat at the February 2009 trade deadline.
Walters said Stoudemire has been working out twice a day with Suns teammates Jared Dudley and Earl Clark at a Coconut Grove school. Stoudemire has played for Phoenix since he was drafted ninth in 2002, but his relationship with the Suns has grown turbulent amid trade speculation the past three years.
Stoudemire has one season left on the five-year, $73 million contract he signed in 2005, but said he would opt out if an extension is not reached by June 30.
``It's still possible it can get done,'' Walters said Tuesday. ``If it's not what Amare is happy with, then we'll test the waters in free agency. Even then, the Suns would still be a major option there.''
The Heat made a hard push to land Stoudemire at the February trade deadline, but couldn't get a third team to consummate the deal. One ill-fated deal discussed at the time would have sent Stoudemire to the Heat, Carlos Boozer to the Suns, and draft picks, young players and expiring contracts to the Jazz.

Miami won't face those hurdles when free agency opens in three weeks. Stoudemire could join a star-studded market that is likely to include Miami's Dwyane Wade, Cleveland's LeBron James, Toronto's Chris Bosh, Atlanta's Joe Johnson and Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki.
Stoudemire and Bosh rank atop the Heat's wish list of post players it hopes to land after it first convinces Wade to sign a six-year contract for about $125 million.
Miami would then have at least $25 million in salary-cap space, but could create enough room to sign two more players to maximum deals. Bosh, Boozer, Stoudemire and Johnson have said they will listen to the Heat.
Despite injury problems in his past, Stoudemire insists he's worth a ``max'' contract, one that would start at about $18 million next season. In addition to the knee surgeries in 2005 and 2007, Stoudemire also missed the final two months of the 2008-09 season after surgery for a detached retina in his right eye.
But Stoudemire bounced back and started all 82 games this season for the first time in his career. He averaged 23.1 points and 8.9 rebounds to help lead the Suns to the Western Conference finals.
``My loyalty is here with Phoenix,'' Stoudemire told reporters last week before traveling with family to Miami. ``If everything sounds great, I will be a Phoenix Sun for the remainder of my career. If not, I'll be elsewhere for the second half of my career.''
Amid some concern among potential suitors that Stoudemire might eventually need more knee surgery, Walters said his client's work this season should speak for itself.
``He feels great. I think that showed,'' Walters said. ``This is not about any numbers, money or contract length. It's about looking for the best fit moving forward several years. Right now, he's just looking to relax and spend time with family here.''

source: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/06/16/1682119_p2/pending-free-agent-amare-stoudemire.html

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