Feb 16, 2010, 12:14 AM EDT
Cleveland may still be the frontrunner, but the race for Amar’e Stoudemire is not over.
In the last 24 hours, the Miami Heat have stepped their pursuit of the All-Star center from Phoenix, looking for someone to pair with Dwyane Wade, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.
Miami is “coming hard” after Stoudemire, one source said.
Although the Heat have first-round picks available to sweeten any Stoudemire deal — with the Suns hoping to come away with at least one first-rounder if they decide to trade Stoudemire this week — sources say Phoenix has no interest in taking back Jermaine O’Neal’s hefty expiring contract because, at $23 million, it requires more players to be worked into the deal than the Suns are comfortable with. Yet one source insisted Monday night that the Suns have not ruled out taking back forward Michael Beasley as part of a Stoudemire deal.
Beasley, the youth athletic forward, would likely flourish in the seven-seconds-or-less system of the Suns. But finding another team — anyone — willing to take on O’Neal’s brutal contract will be very difficult.
However, this is why the Suns have yet to accept a deal, better options are coming in. There is one school of thought that the Suns may make a move before Tuesday night’s game because the Stoudemire sweepstakes is becoming a distraction. But why race if other teams keep pushing each other to offer better deals? It’s just 48 hours.
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