Amare Stoudemire has opted out of the final year of his contract with the Suns to become part of an illustrious list of free agents this season.
Agent Happy Walters said the five-time All-Star made the move yesterday after talks with Suns owner Robert Sarver failed to result in an agreement on a contract extension. The last year of Stoudemire’s contract was worth about $17.7 million.
Walters said the Suns remain in the picture but the 6-foot-10-inch, 249-pound power forward wants to see what develops on the free agent market. Stoudemire has been with the Suns since he was drafted out of high school, as the ninth pick overall, in 2002.
Walters said he and Stoudemire met for three hours with Sarver and Suns coach Alvin Gentry Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
“The Suns have been great and Amare loves them,’’ Walters said. “It’s just trying to make both sides comfortable and happy with everything.’’
Stoudemire wants a contract with the maximum money and length the NBA allows but Walters said “if it all worked out, he might take less to stay in Phoenix than he would elsewhere.’’
The Suns reportedly didn’t want a six-year deal, the longest allowed under league rules, because of concerns over Stoudemire’s health. He missed all but three games of the 2005-06 season to undergo and recover from microfracture knee surgery. He was sidelined the final 29 games of the 2008-09 season after surgery to repair a partially detached retina.
Stoudemire played in every game last season, averaging 23.1 points and 8.9 rebounds.
A person familiar with Cleveland’s search says the Cavaliers are in “serious talks’’ with Byron Scott
to be their coach. After completing interviews with several candidates, including Lakers
assistant Brian Shaw
, the Cavaliers have decided to “move in the Scott direction,’’ said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the process is supposed to remain confidential. The person says Cleveland has not yet offered Scott its job. “Nothing is done,’’ the person said. Scott was believed to be a leading candidate to replace Phil Jackson
in Los Angeles if the 11-time champion retired. Jackson is expected to announce his plans later this week . . . An Ohio judge has issued a warrant for Cavaliers forward J.J. Hickson
after he failed to show up for two hearings about a speeding ticket. Police cited Hickson on May 27 for allegedly driving 61 miles per hour in a 25 m.p.h. zone in central Ohio.
Jay-Z to pitch for Nets
Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z
is going to be a part of the New Jersey Nets’ recruiting team during free agency, and not just when they meet with his good buddy, LeBron James
Jay-Z will be in Akron, Ohio, today when owner Mikhail Prokhorov, coach Avery Johnson, and outgoing president and general manager Rod Thorn make their initial pitch to James.
The entertainer will be overseas for concerts this weekend when the Nets talk to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Nowitzki takes a step Dirk Nowitzki
saved the Mavericks a trip to Germany, a sign they could be a step closer to keeping their biggest prize in free agency. Dallas president Donnie Nelson
said he was moments from boarding a plane for Nowitzki’s homeland when the former MVP’s adviser called to say they were flying to Dallas instead. Nelson, Nowitzki, and Holger Geschwindner
are expected to meet at Nowitzki’s Dallas home today. The nine-time All-Star opted out of the final year of his contract, worth $21.5 million, Tuesday . . . Joe Johnson’s
agent said the four-time All-Star is meeting with the Hawks at the start of the free agent negotiating period. The Hawks are expected to offer their top scorer a maximum contract . . . Spurs swingman Richard Jefferson
, due to make about $15 million next season, has opted out of the final year of his contract and will become a free agent.
Bobcats center Tyson Chandler
announced he wouldn’t opt out of the final year of his deal, worth $12.7 million. Meanwhile, Charlotte gave Tyrus Thomas
a one-year, $6.2 million qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, meaning the Bobcats have nearly $67 million committed to 11 players for next season. That may mean unrestricted free agent Raymond Felton
has played his last game for the team . . . Restricted free agent Rudy Gay
, second on the Grizzlies in scoring (19.6 ppg) last season, received a qualifying offer from the team . . . Villanova guard Scottie Reynolds
, the first AP All-American unselected in the draft since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, will play for the Suns’ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League.
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