5:44pm: Stoudemire reiterated that he will use the upcoming NBA All-Star break to decide whether or not to ask the Knicks to work out a buyout arrangement with him, Josh Newman of SNY.tv notes. “We’ll discuss that after the break,” Stoudemire said. “Right now, I’m focused on the rest of the season. We’ve got four games before the break, so I’m focused on that right now. I’ll keep you guys posted, man. Right now, we’ve got games in front of us today and tomorrow. We’ve got a lot going on, so I’ll keep you guys posted.”
9:32am: The Knicks have yet to speak with Stoudemire about a buyout, sources told Ian Begley of ESPN.com earlier this week.
12:54am: Amar’e Stoudemire‘s recent comments seemed to engender the belief that he wouldn’t ask the Knicks to agree to a buyout deal, but he tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports that he plans to think about doing so over the upcoming All-Star break. The 32-year-old, who’s in the final year of a massive five-year contract worth nearly $99.744MM that pays him almost $23.411MM this season, nonetheless emphasized to Spears his strong affection for the Knicks organization and living in New York. Meanwhile, the Knicks are more focused on talking buyout with Andrea Bargnani, a league source tells Spears.
“All possibilities at this point are still open,” Stoudemire said of his own buyout possibility. “The door is still open for that. But at the same time, I am with the Knicks now. I got to stay optimistic about things and what we are doing here. I can’t really focus on the future because it’s not here. We still have a couple weeks left before it’s all said and done. It’s a decision I have to make with my family to figure out the best scenario for the near future.”
Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers has spoken of his intention to fill the team’s pair of open roster spots with players who come free during “buyout season,” as Spears points out, speculating that they could become candidates to sign Stoudemire if he hits the market. The Mavs and Blazers are also looking for big men, Spears notes. Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote that it’s “quite possible” that Stoudemire would return to the Suns this summer and speculated that the Magic would have interest in the central Florida native this summer. It’s not entirely clear whether any of those teams would have interest in Stoudemire later this season, but if the Happy Walters client is willing to accept the minimum salary, he’d surely have no shortage of teams in pursuit.
Stoudemire is averaging 12.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game for the Knicks this season, and the rebounding average is by far his best since 2011/12. A 19.4 PER shows he’s still efficient in the playing time he sees, which persistent knee trouble and other ailments have limited in recent years. The Knicks have nonetheless been appreciative of his professionalism throughout his health struggles and the team’s woes on the court, Spears writes. Stoudemire tells Spears that he’s interested in playing several more years and said earlier this week that he expected to soon have a conversation with Knicks officials about a future with the team beyond this season.
“My heart always lies with the Knicks,” Stoudemire tells Spears. “My loyalty is with [Knicks owner] Mr. [Jim] Dolan. I feel like New York is my home now. I feel like I’m a New Yorker for sure.”
The Knicks reportedly engaged in internal discussions about a buyout for Stoudemire earlier this season. Team president Phil Jackson and company apparently spoke with the Sixers this summer about a trade, but it’ll be “virtually impossible” for the Knicks to find a taker for his bloated salary before the February 19th trade deadline, according to Spears. The Knicks have reportedly shopped Bargnani recently, though it has appeared as though the team was putting off buyout talks with him until after the deadline passes. The last day that either Stoudemire or Bargnani could hit waivers and still be eligible to appear in the postseason for another team is March 1st. That effectively sets the date as a buyout deadline, since there’d be little reason for either to give up salary if they couldn’t join another club for the postseason.