Sixers "Inquire" About All Star Forward's Availability

Sixers "Inquire" About All Star Forward's Availability

Is an All Star big man on the Sixers' wish list? Could the target in question currently reside in their own division?

CSN's John Finger reports the 76ers have indeed contacted the rival New York Knicks about one Amare Stoudemire, who the team also was linked to in potential deals of years past. Finger stresses nothing is imminent, and a league source described the inquiry as "due diligence."

Still, you can't throw a six-time All Star's name into the mix and expect it not to provoke more serious discussion about the possibility. What would the Knicks want in exchange, and would Stoudemire be a good fit in Philadelphia -- perhaps even the piece that elevates the club to legitimate contender status?

Taking the second question first, whether the addition of Stoudemire actually would make them one of the most dangerous teams in the East might depend on how close you believe the Sixers are to that distinction already, but does he even make them better?

That might depend on whether or not he's suddenly in decline.

Averaging nearly 22 points per game over his 10-year career, Amare's PPG has dipped to 17.7 in 2011-12. Finger indicates the culprit could be Stoudemire is seeing fewer shots since the Knicks added Carmelo Anthony, but he's actually averaging about the same as he did with the Phoenix Suns in years past.

However, his field goal percentage is worse than ever, hitting just 41.3% percent through 19 games. Stoudemire is usually among the NBA's leaders in that category.

So what's the problem? Maybe things simply aren't working out in New York, and it's time for a change of scenery. Maybe it has something to do with the way he trained during the lockout, reportedly bulking up by 20 pounds. Maybe he got old -- Stoudemire is 29 now, but has missed time with serious injuries throughout his career.

Maybe it's a combination of all of the above. Whatever the case, it seems a trade could only happen if the Sixers were willing to change their identity to an extent.

Unless the Knicks were desperate and willing to settle for Elton Brand and picks (hey, at least his contract expires in 2013; they're on the hook with Stoudemire through 2015), the swap would likely require Andre Iguodala, which would send Philly's best defender to a rival in exchange for the hopes of putting a few more points on the scoreboard.

According to ESPN.com's trade machine, Iggy and Andres Noccioni's expiring contract (team option for 2012-13) would in fact work. As much as many fans may be weary of Iguodala though, that sounds like a risky move to land an interior scorer.

But again, the talks between the Sixers and Knicks are nothing more than preliminary at this point, and at the very least, you have to appreciate they are considering all their options. I'd be interested to hear AU's take on a trade, but this doesn't strike me as the one that would push them over the hump.

>> Source: Sixers inquire about Stoudemire [CSN]

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard batting cleanup, Cameron Rupp catching

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard batting cleanup, Cameron Rupp catching

Following a day off, the Phillies continue their roadtrip with the start of a three-game set with the New York Mets.

Ryan Howard will bat in the heart of the Phillies order with Cameron Rupp at catcher following the trade of Carlos Ruiz to the Dodgers. Meanwhile, the rest of the lineup remains mostly the same as it was prior to a brief two-game series with American League rules.

With Ruiz's trade, Howard is the last remaining member of the Phillies' 2008 World Series team. He'll try to throw back to that time against the ageless Bartolo Colon. 

Howard has good power numbers against Colon. He has just six hits in 28 at-bats, but has drawn three walks and has three home runs against the 43-year-old starter. There are only 18 pitchers he has faced more often than Colon.

At catcher, Rupp had already inherited the starting job from Ruiz, but he is now the backstop with more experience in Philadelphia. The Phillies called up prospect Jorge Alfaro for now, but he will likely remain on the bench and be sent down when A.J. Ellis reports this weekend. 

Rupp has five hits in 14 at-bats against Colon. He has faced only the Braves' Julio Teheran more times than Colon in his four-year career. The five hits are tied for his most against any one pitcher (Teheran).

Here's the full lineup that will oppose Colon and the Mets. 

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Aaron Altherr, LF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Cameron Rupp, C
6. Odubel Herrera, CF
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Peter Bourjos, RF
9. Adam Morgan, P

Awwwwe: Chooch leaves his Phillies teammates a love note on clubhouse white board

Awwwwe: Chooch leaves his Phillies teammates a love note on clubhouse white board

As if you didn't think you could love Carlos Ruiz any more...

Chooch was traded on Thursday afternoon and he's since departed for the potentially playoff-bound pastures with his new-again teammate Chase Utley and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But not before he left his Phillies teammates a loving note written on the white board in the clubhouse at CitiField where the Phils play the Mets this evening.

Courtesy of CSNPhilly.com's Phillies beat reporter Jim Salisbury:

It reads:

"I will miss all of you guys. Good luck the rest of the season. Love you all, Chooch! (Gracias)"

Awwwwwwwwe.

Gestures like the above help explain why guys like Roy Halladay call Chooch their favorite baseball player ever.

NHL Notes: Brandon Pirri, Rangers agree to terms on one-year deal

NHL Notes: Brandon Pirri, Rangers agree to terms on one-year deal

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers have agreed to terms with forward Brandon Pirri on a $1.1 million, one-year deal.

The 25-year-old Pirri spent last season with the Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks, recording 14 goals and 15 assists in 61 games. His 29 points were a career high.

A second-round pick, 59th overall, in the 2009 draft, Pirri has been traded twice and was considered a potential bargain in NHL free agency. Pirri is something of a shootout specialist, scoring on five of his six attempts last season, and that 83.3 percent success rate ranked first among players with at least five attempts.

In 166 NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks, Panthers and Ducks, Pirri has 49 goals and 31 assists for 90 points.

Enroth replaces injured Lerner for Sweden at World Cup
NEW YORK -- With goaltender Robin Lehner still not fully healthy, Sweden replaced him on its World Cup of Hockey roster with Jhonas Enroth.

The Buffalo Sabres' starting goalie was bothered by a right ankle injury for much of last season that limited him to 21 NHL games. Lehner underwent surgery in March and had been working to get ready for the World Cup, which begins Sept. 17 in Toronto.

"We really wanted to give Robin the opportunity to recover from his injury from last year, but unfortunately it wasn't enough time for him to feel 100 percent recovered," coach Rikard Gronborg said in a statement released by the Swedish Ice Hockey Association.

Concussion problems held Lehner to 23 games in 2014-15, and he looked to be over those after the Ottawa Senators traded him to Buffalo at the 2015 draft. The 25-year-old injured his ankle early in the season opener and aggravated it in March.

It was not immediately clear when the Sabres expect Lehner to be back to 100 percent.

"As Robin continues to progress during the offseason in his rehab from last season's ankle injury, he felt that it was best to withdraw from Team Sweden for the upcoming World Cup," Buffalo general manager Tim Murray said in a statement. "Robin felt it was important to continue his rehab in Buffalo to prepare for training camp. He has been working out both on and off the ice and we look forward to seeing him on the ice with our team next month."

Enroth, who spent last season with the Los Angeles Kings, recently signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He joins Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Jacob Markstrom of the Vancouver Canucks as the goalies on Sweden's roster.

The 28-year-old has a 2.80 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 147 career NHL games. Enroth was on the Swedish team that earned a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, though he never appeared in a game. He started for Sweden at the 2013 and 2015 world hockey championships, winning gold in 2013 with a 1.15 GAA and .956 save percentage (see full story).