Amar’e Stoudemire hasn’t worked out particularly well since the former high-flyer left the old Steve Nash-led Phoenix Suns. There were moments in New York Stoudemire flashed the athletic brilliance that earned him one of the richest salaries in the NBA. But Stoudemire, while still valuable in spurts, was never again the force he was in Phoenix. This year, as he heads to Miami, he’ll take a hefty drop in pay: $19.7 million. That puts him first on a list of big salary drops that includes his old teammate, Jeremy Lin. The big difference is that Lin is happy about his pay cut — Lin probably bought playing time (and some peace) with it. Lin said Charlotte “came out of nowhere” and he made his decision quickly. He’s looking for the opportunity to excel, not break the bank.
Other NBA players working under what used to be genteelly called “reduced circumstances” are David West, also happy to take a paycut in order to contend for a title in San Antonio. And Andrea Bargnani, according to Hoops Rumors, swallows a $10 million-plus hit in moving from Manhattan (Knicks) to Brooklyn (Nets). Jeremy Lin was in the final year of his Linsanity-based Houston Rockets contract last year as he labored in LA. That deal paid him $15 million. Lin will have to make do in Charlotte with $12.8 million less. (But no Byron Scott!)