[bumped back up on Monday, since there are no real 'newsy' updates on the situation -ed]
I enjoyed this post from Thank You Isiah over the weekend, which emphasized two main points:
Tyrus Thomas isn't playing that much better lately. This isn't to bash Thomas to build up Stoudemire, the difference between this space and most is that it's always been said here that Tyrus is pretty good. The main difference between the past couple weeks and before is that Drew Gooden hurt his groin. Now when Thomas makes mistakes or gets frustrated, he still stays in the game. He can get enough touches on offense to where he stays active, involved, and focused in the game on both ends. Should've been happening all along, but it's nice timing that he can get tons of minutes to the point where it's even a discussion to trade him for Amare Stoudemire.
And the second point being that while Stoudemire isn't a complete player, he's really really good at scoring. Historic-level good.
And what to the Bulls need most? Offense. Efficient offense. Not back-to-basket post moves, but merely a player who can finish plays, both in the halfcourt and on the break. Looking at the Bulls frontcourt the past few years, it's amazing not as much that nobody had a low-post game, but how few could actually catch and finish inside. With or without Nash, before or after his knee surgery, Amare can score.
His rebounding is adequate (as TYI points out, he lacks in offensive rebounding but Noah can help on that end) but his defense still isn't even at that meager level. But defense comes from a team effort and scheme (a real coach helps), get Amare first and build the defense later. He certainly has the tools to be better, and some faith will be required to believe that a reason he isn't is that he's never been told to work on defense in Phoenix. And even with that 'attitude', the Suns of past years had a better defense than what the Bulls have now.
The Bulls stink on that end too (hey, that's how you get a record like this: lots of problems) but it's harder to fix that first and then somehow get a player of Amare's caliber later. The old plan was to tank two seasons (as in, letting Gordon go and not having Stoudemire either = league-worst offense) and sign someone as a 2010 free agent. That's somehow preferable?
So as excited as I am over Thomas getting heavy time and continuing his production (see what I did there?), I'm starting to get really pumped that not only are the Bulls in the running for Stoudemire, they're the frontrunner.