Stoudemire Signs with Knicks

  • July 5, 2010, 6:55 PM

NEW YORK (AP) -- Amare Stoudemire is headed to the New York Knicks, and both sides are hoping he's not coming alone.

The Knicks said Monday they intend to sign Stoudemire to a contract later this week when the free agent moratorium period ends. Stoudemire's agent, Happy Walters, said the deal is for the maximum allowed, which would be nearly $100 million over five years.

Wearing a blue Knicks hat, Stoudemire said he looked forward to rebuilding a franchise and bringing the Knicks back to the top -- maybe with a player such as LeBron James or Dwyane Wade with him.

"I feel great about being a pioneer and showing my leadership," he said at Madison Square Garden, where signs throughout the entrances showed the player pictured in a Knicks uniform and reading "Welcome, Amare Stoudemire."

The deal can't be signed until Thursday, after the salary cap for next season has been set.

It was a desperately needed score in free agency for the Knicks, who spent two seasons clearing enough cap space to afford two top players. They met with James, Wade and Chris Bosh last week and believe they could still land one of them.

Stoudemire has already started recruiting, saying he spoke to James' people and directly to Wade last week. And he said he won't be affected if those players say no to New York.

"Totally comfortable, totally confident that my leadership qualities will uplift all of us to do something great this upcoming season," Stoudemire said. "So again, the Knicks are back."

The move reunites Stoudemire with Mike D'Antoni, his former coach in Phoenix. Stoudemire averaged more than 20 points in every season they were together and immediately becomes the best player D'Antoni has coached since leaving the Suns after the 2007-08 season.

"He's a dominant offensive player for sure, in a variety of ways," D'Antoni said.

Stoudemire's days with the Suns ended late last week when the team agreed to $48 million worth of deals with forwards Hakim Warrick and Channing Frye. The sides had discussed an extension, but the Suns looked elsewhere after they'd reached a stalemate.

Stoudemire said he understood owner Robert Sarver's position and wasn't disrespected by the Suns' refusal to give him a max deal that would have paid him millions more. He said he's always loved New York and wanted to play here since the Knicks passed on him in the 2002 draft.

He finally got to Broadway by becoming the first big player in this much-hyped free agent class to change teams. The other top players could announce their decisions later in the week, and perhaps they might take a second look at New York now that there's another huge piece in place.

"No one wanted to make the first move and I feel confident enough to take that first step and hopefully now we can bring a few guys in to join me," Stoudemire said.

The Knicks decided they no longer needed to wait on an answer from Bosh, especially because Stoudemire showed such a commitment to New York. They even gave him the longest contract allowable without knowing if it could be insured because of Stoudemire's injury history that includes microfracture knee surgery and a partially detached retina.

"I think to a degree the fact that Amare really wanted to come here, stepped up front, it got to the point where we had to acknowledge that and say that means something to us," Knicks president Donnie Walsh said.

Walsh said Stoudemire's arrival didn't necessarily mean the end for David Lee, the Knicks' own All-Star free agent who plays the same position. Lee could also be used in a sign-and-trade, though Walsh indicated he hadn't received any good proposals in discussions with Lee's agent.

Stoudemire has career averages of 21.4 points and 8.9 rebounds and helped the Suns reach the Western Conference finals this season. D'Antoni called him "probably one of the best, if not the best finisher in the league" and dismissed the notion that their relationship was strained in Phoenix.

"We had no problem," D'Antoni said. "I had four great years. The reason I have a very good contract in New York is Amare doing what he did for me. So I can't have any animosity and don't, and he was great."

The question now is can he help land James.

They could have ended up together in February, when the Suns considered trading Stoudemire to Cleveland before the Cavaliers instead took a deal with Washington for Antawn Jamison.

Stoudemire would instantly become the best teammate James has ever had in the NBA, but James would have to leave behind his hometown team and the extra $30 million the Cavaliers could pay him for the partnership to happen now.

"Playing with LeBron would be great," Stoudemire said. "But again, I'm not sure what his decision is and where he's leaning. If he's leaning more toward New York, then that's a great start for us."

For a team mired in a franchise-worst stretch of nine straight losing seasons, Stoudemire alone is a good start. The Knicks can finally trot out a superstar again in front of Spike Lee -- who was on hand as Stoudemire met the media -- and the rest of the home fans.

"It's the first step," Walsh said. "It's a big step, because it's a big guy."

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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he should have stayed with the suns he has a better chance on winning a championship but he goes with the knicks

I'm not happy with his decision

I really dont care

amare why would you leave nash and the suns to go to the has been knicks when steve nash is still in his prime at 36.

Go Knicks. Even though you have no chance to win a championship. Tehe. Yes im a knicks fan

I think the Knicks are overpaying him by way too much if Amare's agent is right! 20 million a year? If they wanted LeBron then they shouldn't have been spending so much $ on Amare even though, yes he will be very valuable.

Nooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am a DIE HARD Suns fan!!!!! Why Amare???? WHY????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
My friends Nia and Chris LOVE the Heat!!!!!!!!!!!! Come ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Suns are going to stink so bad this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I used to like the Suns, but then they drop Shaq, and now they drop Amare! What is the matter with them?

amare stoudmiere is good he can lift the knicks to the playoffs

Even with Amar'e the Knicks don't even have a chance for a playoff without LeBron

the knicks will make the playoffs but they wont get farther than the second round with no supporting cast for amare

I think Amare went to the Knicks because he is expecting Carmelo and Tony Praker to follow. I think he should've stayed with the Suns and actually have a chance to go to the playoffs!!!!

and if the knicks thinkk this is enough to get lebron they were wrong b/c the heat have wade and bosh

Why????? They don't have a good enough point guard as Steve Nash and if they do aquire a point guard from the free agent frenzy he will never be as good as Steve Nash. Unless somehow they get Chris Paul. But I think we all know that they won't!!!!

Amare made a bad mistake.

Totally,I mean why does he need to leave the Suns if he is receiving major credit and doing well?Boo!

I was listening to jason smith on espn radio last night and he looked at clues from lebron james.he said that he is going to go to the knicks.

I was listening to jason smith on espn radio last night and he looked at clues from lebron james.he said that he is going to go to the knicks.

Having the Knicks sign Amar'e will give them an edge with the free agency frenzy lately, LeBron James now has a little bit more thought into joining the New York Knicks this upcoming season, That being said there would be two franchise players on a not-to-good team the passed years, The knicks would have to possibly create more cap-room to sign LBJ, and still have Amar'e. My personal opinion is that Amar'e siging to the Knicks will give him a fresh start, but I don't think at all they will hit the ground running and start blowing teams out, It will take a few years for him to get settled with the team and chemistry. Also, The Suns will have more to think about during this off-season, Who will they rely on underneath the basket? They're going to have to sign a good big-man who gets points in the paint with ease. If they can get a hold of Shaquille O' Neal they would have a possibility of gaining sucess. Shaq is way out of his prime but if they would sign him he could get a few rebounds and blocks per game, And adding another guy for Steve Nash to pass to. And I do believe Shaq is a free agent this year, Not one of the goods, But if the Suns get him, He MIGHT be able to replace Amar'e no gurantee's, but if they do, I guess they'd end up where they always do. Those are my thoughts of it, Don't take to much of my word.

even though i barely read that comment you sure like typing about basketball man you could have done 20 other comments if you didnt do that

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