Warriors, Hornets, Pacers in Amundson hunt
By Marc Stein
It’s not going to get people buzzing like the futures of Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul do in our post-LeBron world. Not even close.
Yet it does rank as one of the growing curiosities in the NBA this summer:
Why, on Aug. 18, is Louis Amundson still available?
With his high-energy contributions throughout Phoenix’s thoroughly unexpected run to the Western Conference finals, Amundson didn’t merely cement his standing as a fan favorite in the desert. He legitimately emerged as one of the faces synonymous with the Suns’ vaunted bench bunch last season, which had Phoenix privately fearful throughout the playoffs that Amundson could attract some decent free-agent dollars in spite of his well-chronicled limitations as an offensively-challenged power forward who’s also undersized.
Yet free agency is nearly seven weeks old and Amundson remains unsigned. He’s still waiting after watching the Suns decide to fill their Amare Stoudemire void by re-signing Channing Frye, signing Hakim Warrick and trading for Hedo Turkoglu to be a ball-handling power forward.
It appears, though, that Amundson’s wait might finally be ending. Sources close to the situation say that the 6-foot-9, 225-pounder is inching closer to a decision, with at least three teams known to be actively in pursuit – Golden State, New Orleans and Indiana.
One source says an unidentified fourth team remains in the mix.
Another source told ESPN.com that the Hornets and Warriors are making the hardest push, but the Pacers have not been shy about their need for another big man after using Troy Murphy’s expiring contract last week to help facilitate the four-team traded that netted the point guard Indy has long coveted in Darren Collison.
The 26 year old averaged 4.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and just under one block in 14.8 minutes per game last season and told the Arizona Republic earlier this summer that Charlotte and Toronto had also registered interest in signing him.
Mind you, Amundson also acknowledged to the newspaper that he badly wanted to stay with the Suns or, after playing his high school ball in Colorado, perhaps hook on with the Denver Nuggets.
“I really liked it [in Phoenix],” Amundson said. “I don’t like leaving.”