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Amare Stoudemire Says He's Leaning Towards Not Opting Out

One of the assumptions we all made throughout this trade deadline season is that Amare Stoudemire would opt out of his contract and become a free agent in the great 2010 free agent derby.

However, in an interview with Chris Tomasson of Fanhouse, Stoudemire implies that he’s actually leaning the opposite way.

“I can opt out this summer or I can opt in, which means I’ll be back another year (for $17.69 million),” said Stoudemire, speaking after the morning shootaround in preparation for Wednesday night’s game against Denver. “That’s definitely an option. I’m leaning more toward that right now. Maybe opting in. … (That would be to) buy time. See how we do. … I think we got our game back on track. A three-game winning streak.”

This strikes me as classic Amare — throw everyone a curveball and see what happens. Remember, this summer, he did all these radio interviews in other cities (such as Washington and Chicago) saying how much he’d love to play there. Amare’s probably considering opting in because he doesn’t think he can get the deal he wants this summer, but with the NBA heading toward a drastic reduction in salaries in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, this might be Amare’s last chance to get a large long-term contract. If Amare does not opt out, it could lessen his suitors, because there are number of teams who want him because of his expiring contract.

Basically, while this is interesting, I wouldn’t read too much into it, other than to throw our assumptions aside for a second. It’s just Amare’s way of adding intrigue to all of this. The truth is that Amare hasn’t decided what he is going to do, not that he’s definitely opting in.