In a somewhat surprising development Monday, several sources indicated the Phoenix Suns do not have much interest in Miami's Michael Beasley and would prefer Tyrus Thomas in a trade for all-star power forward Amare Stoudemire.
In my view, Beasley has star potential and tremendous scoring ability. There's little chance the Bulls will ever regret choosing Derrick Rose with last year's No. 1 pick, but Beasley (the No. 2 selection) is going to be good.
The chatter on Monday, though, suggested the Suns aren't convinced Beasley would fit into their offensive system and they don't want to take back Marion, even for less than half a season. Marion has a $17 million expiring contract and was sent to Miami for Shaquille O'Neal a year ago.
In the meantime, Suns GM Steve Kerr sees the same thing the Bulls did the past two weeks: The light bulb is starting to go on for Thomas and he may still be a long way from reaching his ceiling. Thomas just completed the best six-game stretch of his pro career, averaging 15.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2 blocks.
It appears the Suns are open to a package of Thomas, Thabo Sefolosha, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons and undetermined draft picks for Stoudemire. One question now is whether better offers will come at the Suns in the days leading up to the Feb. 19 trade deadline.
The Bulls aren't necessarily afraid of losing Stoudemire for nothing as a free agent in 2010. All they have to do is fork out the cash and they'll be able to make the best offer. The NBA's collective bargaining agreement is designed to favor players staying put.
The concern is whether the Bulls could build a championship-caliber team if Stoudemire's salary ends up rising beyond $20 million, which is a realistic possibility. Maybe he would cut the Bulls a break and sign a cheaper extension to help ensure a winning situation, maybe not.
Could a lineup of Stoudemire, Rose, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and either Ben Gordon or Kirk Hinrich pose a realistic threat to LeBron James or the Celtics? That's a question the Bulls will ponder during the next week or so.
The Bulls would also ask to see Stoudemire's medical records before agreeing to a trade. The 6-foot-10 power forward had microfracture knee surgery in 2005. So far, it hasn't been a problem, but who knows what the future holds for such an injury?
The Suns don't figure to be in any hurry to agree to a deal. Remember, Stoudemire was voted a Western Conference starter in Sunday's All-Star Game, which is in Phoenix. I'd say there's little chance a trade occurs until next week.
The quest to trade Larry Hughes continues and the most promising destination still appears to be Washington for forward Etan Thomas and guard Mike James.
Thomas is injured, but that hardly matters. James, a 6-4 scoring guard, might be a personality risk. He's played on eight teams in the past six seasons. If that wasn't enough of a red flag, his family appeared on a recent episode of “Supernanny.” Let's just say if James takes coaching advice in basketball as well as he took parenting advice from Supernanny, the Bulls would be in for some headaches.
I'm hearing there are other possibilities for Hughes, but my idea of sending him to Sacramento for Mikki Moore and Kenny Thomas appears to have no legs.
T-WOLVES LOSE TOP SCORER
Fresh off pounding the Bulls for 39 points on Jan. 25, Minnesota's Al Jefferson joined the list of players lost for the season. He's out with a torn ACL.