NEW YORK — Amar’e Stoudemire, as has been noted already, has officially played his last game as a New York Knick. Per the New York Daily News, the 32 year-old reached a buyout agreement with the Knicks before tonight’s All-Star Game, and he’ll clear waivers on Wednesday, the day before the NBA’s trade deadline expires.
After signing a five-year, $100 million deal in that crazy summer of 2010 when LeBron went to Florida, Stoudemire was a legitimate MVP candidate in the first half of the 2010-11 season. But coach Mike D’Antoni was worried about his job and over-used his power forward to compensate for his lack of talent elsewhere or a cohesive defensive system.
Eventually Stoudemire broke down, which we could all see coming since he’d already had microfracture surgery back in Phoenix.
The trade for Carmelo Anthony came later in STAT’s first Knicks season, and then-general manager Donnie Walsh left that summer after it was clear James Dolan would do whatever he wanted — like ignoring Walsh’s advice to leave ‘Melo out of New York’s future plans.
Told tonight STAT was gone, Anthony said the news was “hard to believe.
“I thought they were lying about it.”
Anthony later commented, “One of the primary reasons I’m a New York Knick today was because of him.”
Now the talk turns to which Western Conference team will nab Stoudemire when he becomes available on Wednesday. The Mavericks are the frontrunner, but Frank Isola of the NY Daily News, who broke the story, mentioned the Warriors and Spurs as a possibility. Of that latter team, Yahoo’s ubiquitous trade deadline presence agrees the Spurs might sneak in for STAT’s services.
On the surface, neither the Spurs or Warriors seem like realistic destinations.
The Warriors have a connection with Amar’e since their current coach, Steve Kerr, was the general manager — and assistant coach, Alvin Gentry, the coach — during STAT’s final season in Phoenix. But we’re not sure why a Dubs team would rock the boat when they currently have the best record in the entire Association and enough depth to bring two-time All-Star PF David Lee off the bench. Why create a log jam at a position where you’re already deep?
Marc Stein agrees.
San Antonio doesn’t seem like a good match for Stoudemire, either. Gregg Popovich would get so irate at STAT’s often clueless defense, there’s no way Stoudemire sees the court more than mop-up duty. Or maybe R.C. Buford and Co. snag him once he clears waivers to keep him from potential rivals?
Stein also includes the Clippers and Suns in the Amar’e sweepstakes, but maybe Houston gets roped in, then Portland, and [insert Western Conference playoff team of your choice].
It’s been a tiring night in New York with the hoolah of the All-Star weekend coming to an end. Carmelo Anthony shot 6-of-20 from the field in front of his home crowd — including two straight bricked three-pointers in the final East possession — and now “a friend, a teammate, a guy who I wanted to come to the city to play with,” is on to a title contender while Anthony decides whether to have surgery and shut it down for the season.
Life’s a strange journey and Amar’e Stoudemire’s will continue somewhere other than the Big Apple.