Basketball-reference.com confirms what I had always thought -- Amare, Antonio McDyess, Shawn Kemp and Shareef Abdur-Raheem are very, very similar players. What do they have in common through age 26?
-- explosive young legs
-- great interior finishers
-- spectacular leapers, but mediocre defenders and rebounders for their ability
Amare makes $16.4MM this year and has an option for about $17.7MM next year. He can also opt out. So........................anyone want to pick him up as a free agent or in a trade? Certainly the Suns didn't field any amazing offers this off season.
What does history teach us about player like Amare at age 27 and beyond?
Rahim -- stats fell off after age 26, never a big factor thereafter.
McDyess -- knees went on him, has become a very good 24 minute a game player thereafter.
Kemp -- rebounding slowly declined, shooting percentage went down, then he got fat and ate himself out of the league.
Hardly a great endorsement for signing Amare to some big deal.
Amare supporters could say, "Well, how about Kevin Garnett and Chris Webber?"
As Lloyd Benson might have said, "Amare, you aren't KG or C-Webb."
Webber and Garnett both have had season where they recorded 5 assists a game (compared to Amare's best season of.........2 per game......Amare has never come close to getting 1 assist per turnover, ever). At age 26, Garnett was getting 13.4 rebounds a game and 3 steals plus blocks. He was on the rise in both categories. So 26 year old Garnett was way, way better than 26 year old Amare. But even using Garnett -- his absolute peak year? Age 27. He has steadily declined as a player since (when you are declining from being MVP of the league, the decline is not as noticeable, but it is a decline nonetheless).
Webber -- he also had his absolute best year at age 27. He was still very good at age 28 and 29 and then his career began to unravel at age 30. But again: Chris Webber seasons pre-27 with 10 boards a game? 3. With assist-to-turnover better than 1 to 1? Every year (7 times). Stoudemire's best rebound year pre-27? 9.6 at age 24, declining to 8.1 last year. And of course he can't handle the ball at all (0 years with a-to ratio above 1 to 1).
What is the logical career path for Rahim (oops) I mean, Amare? Move to traditional playoff team that needs younger blood. Example -- the Spurs. He can be Duncan's young legs and Duncan can maybe teach him how to defend and rebound. (Look at Timmy's basketball-reference profile. The defense and rebounding numbers are amazing. Defensive rating? 3rd best of all time. Defensive rebound percentage? 6th best of all time).
What will happen? One of two things:
1) Some lesser team will sign Amare to a max deal for 5 years and he will slowly decline and that team will never do anything substantial.
2) Amare will be dissed in the free agent market and so he will sign a 3 year deal for $20MM or so with the Lakers or Spurs. That team will benefit from his 19-8-2 numbers and win a title and everyone will say, "How could some other lesser team not have offered this guy more money?"
I predict #1.