In officially parting ways with Amar’e Stoudemire on Monday, Knicks president Phil Jackson said he will continue to look to add players with the waived former All-Star’s desire to win.
As first reported by the Daily News shortly after the conclusion of Sunday’s All-Star Game, the Knicks and Stoudemire reached agreement on an undisclosed buyout on the remainder of the veteran big man’s $ 23.4 million salary for this season to give him a chance to catch on with a playoff contender.
“Amar’e’s period as a Knickerbocker has come to pass, at his request. His time here should be marked by recognizing his effort – it was 100-percent,” Jackson said in a statement released by the Knicks. “As we move forward in structuring this team, we will look for players that exhibit his desire to win.”
Once Stoudemire clears waivers on Wednesday, the six-time All-Star is free to sign with another team. Several contenders in the Western Conference are expected to be interested, led by the Dallas Mavericks. San Antonio, Golden State and the Clippers also are believed to have interest.
“I feel truly blessed to have been able to play for the incredible New York fans, Mr. Dolan, my coaches, teammates and the entire Knicks organization for the past five years,” Stoudemire said. “I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to contribute positively on the court and in the community. Although I leave the Knicks with a heavy heart, I wish the organization the best of luck. Once a Knick always a Knick.”
Stoudemire, 32, signed a five-year $ 100 million deal with the Knicks as a free agent in 2010, but he appeared in just nine postseason games with the team and the Knicks advanced to the second round of the playoffs just once in his tenure.
Stoudemire averaged 25.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game over 78 appearances in his initial season in New York, and was joined by Carmelo Anthony via trade later that season. But the following years for Stoudemire were plagued by knee injuries; he also lacerated his left hand punching a fire extinguisher following a Game 2 playoff loss in Miami in 2012.
The 6-10 power forward was averaging 12.0 points and 6.8 boards in 36 games (14 starts) this season for the NBA-worst Knicks (10-43).
“I’m losing a friend, a teammate, a guy I wanted to come to this city and play with,” Anthony, who admittedly is close to shutting down his season to undergo left-knee surgery, said after Sunday’s All-Star Game. “One of the main reasons I’m a New York Knick today was because of Stat. To see him leave, to see the situation where it’s at right now, I know what he wants and you have to respect that as an athlete, as a competitor. You only want the best for your friends, your close ones. He wants to play for a championship, from what I’m hearing, he wants to play for a contender, so I don’t think nobody should hold that away from him or hold that back from him.”
“Amar’e brought something back to New York that New York was kind of missing and needing for a long time. When he came, he brought back some excitement for the game of basketball here in New York,” Anthony said. “There was hope when he came back. People started believing in the New York Knicks once again. He was the main reason for that belief and for that hope when he first got here in New York.”
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