I don't dislike Stoudemire. And he is supposed to be cocky enough to think of himself as a max player. But GMs are supposed to be savvy, recognize he is a second-tier All-Star and to treat him as such. The same goes for Joe Johnson and Carlos Boozer and probably Chris Bosh, who in five years as the Raptors' go-to guy has played in only 11 playoff games. These players are extremely talented but have proved over the years that they are not showcase pieces to be built around. They are complementary players who can help get a franchise closer to the promised land. Otherwise Dwyane Wade and LeBron would be waiting to see where they signed first, not the other way around.
Still, teams like the Knicks and Nets and anybody who misses out on the Big 2 will be bidding against each other and will feel compelled to offer these players the same contract they were hoping to offer better players just to show fans -- and maybe an impatient owner -- they are trying to improve.
And they will improve, but it won't be proportional to the money they will spend. Eventually these teams will hit a ceiling because they won't have any extra money to improve and the second-tier talent they signed won't win enough. Then in about three years the teams will try to move a bad contract and start over as if stuck in a hamster wheel. Remember, not long after Utah overpaid for Boozer in 2004, he was on the trading block.