When you’re talking about building a team, even Amar’e Stoudemire believes in the importance of the point guard. After all, many believe it was two-time MVP Steve Nash that made Amar’e the player he is today. But when reminiscing with Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic yesterday, you might be surprised to hear that Stoudemire told the Suns’ brass after they traded away Stephon Marbury, Penny Hardaway and Tom Gugliotta during the 2003-04 season, he’d rather have Nash as his teammate than Kobe Bryant.
“The question ownership asked to me was, ‘Who do I want – Jason Kidd, Steve Nash or Kobe Bryant?’ I said Steve. Over Kobe. At the time, Kobe had a reputation for being selfish and Steve was the ultimate point guard. I felt like that’s what we needed. We had Joe Johnson and Shawn Marion. We just didn’t have a PG to control tempo. Kidd was banged up after microfracture (knee surgery).”
Now if you’ve never met Stoudemire, you don’t realize that he’s a straight-shooter. So when STAT says he told the Suns to pursue Nash instead of Kobe, he wasn’t kidding around. If you don’t remember the Summer of 2004, the free agent pool included Bryant, Nash, Manu Ginobili, Karl Malone and Rasheed Wallace, amongst others. And it took some spending on their behalf (a six-year package worth more than $65 million) to bring Nash back to Phoenix. For what it’s worth, Kobe’s contract with the Lakers was worth more than $136.4 million over seven years, and Kidd underwent microfracture surgery to repair a damaged knee on July 1, 2004.
What do you think? Would the Suns have been better off had they signed Kobe?
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