Late last Thursday night, many Golden State fans nestled all snug in their beds with visions of a 6'10" four-time All-Star center/power forward in a Warriors uniform dancing in their heads.
After all, Ric Bucher of ESPN, the Oakland Tribune, and the San Jose Mercury News were all reporting that the Warriors had a framework for a deal with the Phoenix Suns for Amare Stoudemire. The only detail needing to be worked out was a contract extension for Stoudemire, and by Friday morning we expected to wake up and find the Suns' big man as a Golden State Warrior.
It is now the following week, and the Amare deal is in complete limbo. What happened?
Short answer: Don Nelson happened.
This is not to blame Nelson, nor any of the reports mentioned above. Nelson appeared to have a shrewd deal in place to nab Stoudemire, and several aggressive reporters accurately sniffed it out. But no reasonable human being expected Stephen Curry to last until the seventh pick of the NBA Draft, and once he fell to them the Warriors decided Curry was far too valuable to deal.
It would appear the Suns got burned when Curry became available and the Dubs pulled out. After the deal unravelled, Tim Kawakami wrote in the Mercury News, "(Don) Nelson’s reputation on these matters precedes him, and this perceived 11th-hour pull-out only adds to the sense that the Warriors with Nelson are extremely difficult trade partners, and possibly borderline untrustworthy in these matters."
Untrustworthy? Yes. Unintelligent? Heck no. Stephen Curry has been called the best shooter in the draft by so many people that I'm not even bothering to put quotes around those words any more. As Bruce Jenkins put it so lucidly in this weekend's 3-Dot Lounge in the Chronicle, "Curry will be one of the league's top three-point shooters, guaranteed, as well as a clever passer who understands the nuances of a half-court set... You don't give up players like that, especially if a miracle brought him your way in the draft."
And you don't give up on the Stoudemire deal, either. Phoenix is determined to unload Stoudemire's contract, and the Warriors have several other tradeable pieces.
But if Golden State is going to cook up a trade for Amare Stoudemire, they won't put Curry in the recipe.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is "borderline untrustworthy" around Don Nelson's collection of fine, imported scotch.