With the official start of the
LeBron Sweepstakes Free Agency Feeding Frenzy just days away, we can expect the hours leading up to July 1 to be filled with rumors of this sort.
This from Knicks beat writer Alan Hahn:
Twitter / Alan Hahn: Source says Amar'e will wa ...
Source says Amar'e will wait to hear from the Knicks after midnight on July 1 but would be interested in a meeting and reuniting with MDA.
Twitter / Alan Hahn: Joe Johnson and Amar'e Sto ...
Joe Johnson and Amar'e Stoudemire (close friends) are very much still the likely duo for Knicks if LeBron doesn't come.
Dollars to giant doughnuts from Lamar's (seriously, try them) this rumor comes from Amare's camp and is just part of the whole kabuki dance that agents are playing. In this case, Amare's agent Happy Walters (of Happy Gilmore fame) is mostly likely doing everything he can to drive up the perceived demand for his client and that means floating rumors like this.
New York, who will have a ton of money burning a hole in their pocket if they miss out on LeBron, would certainly appear to be a logical destination for Stoudemire and there's little doubt they would be willing to give him the max deal he seeks.
The problem is, Mike D'Antoni and Amare have a relationship from their time in Phoenix and it's not a good one.
Amare took plenty of parting shots at his former coach right after he left and felt that D'Antoni used him improperly by making him play centers on the defensive end of the floor. Amare feels, with some justification, that his reputation as a poor defender stems from having to guard much bigger players and try and bang with them in the paint for rebounds.
Amare also never enjoyed a tight personal relationship with the enigmatic Italian who as a coach is known to have "his guys" - Amare was never one of those.
While Mike was more circumspect about his feelings for Amare he also never clearly expressed the kind of public love that one would expect given their many years together.
Could Amare end up reuniting with D'Antoni in New York? Sure, but it can't be high on either man's list of preferred outcomes. But as they say, money talks. If some of the other free agent dominoes don't fall New York's way and Amare is faced with a 4 year offer from Phoenix or a 5 or even 6 year offer from New York...well, we know how that will turn out.
Other teams that could make a play for Amare include Houston or Washington. Neither team has the cap space to sign Amare outright, but both have expressed interest him over the past few trade deadline cycles. If either team were willing to give Amare a full 6 year max deal, they could entice Phoenix with some interesting pieces via sign-and-trade.
It is also quite easy to see why Miami is still many people's most likely destination (mine included). If LeBron and Bosh go to Chicago who now has both the cap room and the best existing roster, that leaves Boozer and Amare being courted by the Nets, Knicks, Heat and Wizards who all need help at power forward.