Amare Stoudemire now appears to be a long shot to return to Phoenix after he opted out of the last year of his contract and negotiations on a new deal with Suns owner Robert Sarver broke off late Tuesday night, a source said.
Stoudemire is now in the mix of free-agent power forwards being pursued by the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks.
The Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors also are looking at potential sign-and-trade scenarios that could land Stoudemire.
Heat president Pat Riley met with Stoudemire last night and pitched Stoudemire on joining LeBron James and Dwyane Wade with the Heat, a source said.
All three would have to sign similar five-year deals starting at roughly $15 million, less than they could make on sign-and-trade deals.
Riley presented his power-of-three presentation to Stoudemire, in which he outlined how every championship team is built on a three-man nucleus.
Riley, the source said, is trying to convince the players that the absence of a state tax in Florida would make up the salary difference.
The Knicks spoke to Stoudemire shortly after 9:01 p.m. PT and saw him briefly at a hotel in Los Anageles, but had to rush to make their plane to Cleveland to speak with LeBron James. They have set up a more in-depth meeting with Stoudemire in New York this weekend.
Ric Bucher covers the NBA for ESPN The Magazine. ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard contributed to this report.