Why isn't Amare coming? Because cheap-ass Steve Belkin doesn't want to spend the money on a legitimate NBA star. It boggles the mind that Belkin would buy into an NBA team and then refuse to spend the money that it takes to put a good product on the court. Did he really think that he would never be called upon to pay for a max-contract player? He can't possibly think that Stoudemire isn't worth the money, can he? Abd how is he not realizing that the Hawks have a "show us wins" fan base and thus, putting a good product on the court is more important for Atlanta than it is for teams that will draw well regardless of how good they are? Stoudemire would mean so much for the team, so naturally, Belkin doesn't want to pay for him.
Here's the real stupidity of Belkin's purported opposition: the genesis of his fall-out with the remaining owners of Atlanta Spirit was his claim that Knight was going to overpay for Joe Johnson by giving up Boris Diaw and a #1 pick. If the Hawks make the Stoudemire deal, then the final bill for Johnson will end up being Diaw (who, regardless of his success in Phoenix, was useless for the Hawks) and roughly the #18 pick in the 2008 Draft (assuming that the Hawks are about a #6 seed in the East next year). By torpedoing the Stoudemire deal, Belkin makes his criticism of the Johnson deal a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I'm normally reticent to believe every rumor that gets printed, but Ian Thomsen at SI is saying the same thing, albeit without naming the owner who is ruining everything. If I only had the Thomsen article and not the Ford article, I still would have assumed that Belkin was the problem because he opposed the Joe Johnson acquisition because he didn't want to pay Johnson's salary (or at least that was what his co-owners said). Naturally, the AJC, consistent with their apparent policy of never printing any rumors for fear of angering the local sports collectives, have nothing on the squabbling, although Sekou Smith does have a good summary of the trade rumors floating around. Mark Bradley also has a good piece on the confidence that he feels in Billy Knight this morning. He closes with this thought:
And if the night ends with Amare Stoudemire coming here, we’ll be calling Billy Knight a magician.
If Billy Knight's rebuilding process ends with a starting lineup that includes Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, and Amare Stoudemire, then a whole lot of people are going to owe him a major apology. (Add in the rumored Childress for Jose Calderon trade and you have a dynamite starting five, although depth would be a question. I like that proposed trade a lot more than the #11 for Luke Ridnour offer because Ridnour is a dreadful defender and would merely perpetuate the Hawks' inability to keep opposing guards out of the lane.) There will certainly have been a little luck involved, namely keeping the Hawks' first round pick this year, but Knight will have achieved exactly what he was supposed to do when he blew the team up after the 2003-4 season. But coming back to the first two paragraphs of this post, Knight is going to have to get past a pile of internal squabbling to get to that point.
(And I'm not even going to mention the possibility of Michael Gearon pushing Knight to take Yi because of interests in the Chinese market. That would be a classic "Real Madrid taking Beckham over Ronaldinho because Becks would sell more shirts in Thailand" move. Yi is an enormous unknown; taking him with the #3 pick when Horford and Conley are both sitting out there having proven themselves in college basketball would be insane.)