The Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns are closing in on a deal that would send All-Star forward Amare Stoudemire to Cleveland, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations.
The Cavaliers would send Zydrunas Ilgauskas and J.J. Hickson to Phoenix in exchange for Stoudemire, one of the league's most dominant big men.
While Cleveland remains in talks with several other teams, the club, from management down to the players, has settled on Stoudemire as its first choice.
The ball is in Phoenix's court. The Suns are mulling whether the financial relief provided by Ilgauskas' $12 million contract and the young and talented Hickson are enough for them to part with Stoudemire.
Cleveland believes the addition of Stoudemire would all but seal LeBron James' re-signing with the team when he becomes a free agent this summer. The Cavaliers are also prepared to sign Stoudemire, who has one year and $17 million remaining on his contract, to a long-term contract extension once the season ends.
The Suns would likely waive Ilgauskas, a move that would allow him to be re-signed by Cleveland after 30 days.
Cleveland is also talking with Washington about acquiring Antawn Jamison, as well as Indiana about Troy Murphy. Meanwhile, Golden State is trying to entice the Cavs into taking Corey Maggette for Ilgauskas.