It may be a while before we know all the behind the scenes maneuvering that went down that lead to the Miami Heat retaining Dwyane Wade and signing LeBron James and Chris Bosh, but every once in a while a new piece of the puzzle comes into play. Following the Heat's bashing of the Knicks last night, The New York Post reports that Amar'e Stoudemire was actually the first player the Heat spoke too when the free agency period begun on July 1 at midnight. But salary issues and Wade's preference for Bosh intervened.
You might remember that the Heat tried to trade for Stoudemire before last season's trade deadline, but no deal ultimately ultimately came though. At the time, Heat fans were livid, but, in retrospect, reserving salary space for the off season worked out rather nicely, didn't it? At the time the reason given was that the Heat didn't want to give up Michael Beasly, but of course he ultimately gone thrown out like old bathwater.
But the Heat remained interested in Stoudemire, and he returned the interest. He went to high school in Florida and already owns a house here after all.
The reports of the meeting are nothing new, but the Post offers a little insight into how Bosh ended up at AAA instead of Stoudemire:
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The Heat may have tried to get Stoudemire on the cheap in order to get James and Dwyane Wade to fit under the salary cap, but ultimately sources said the Heat went harder after Chris Bosh because of Wade's personal friendship with him. The Heat may have preferred Stoudemire's talent because the team made several attempts to trade for him at last February's deadline, according to sources.
What's interesting here is that Heat personal claimed not even they knew what LeBron's decision would be until that ESPN special, but it's interesting they were able to take big risks and chose Bosh over Stoudemire with the LeBron possibility in mind.