The All-Star break apparently will not be a time of leisure for Amar’e Stoudemire.
Word is the New York Knicks veteran big man is planning to use the time off to decide if he has had enough of the Phil Jackson reclamation project and now plans to tune out the Zen Master by essentially turning his back on beleaguered New York Knicks.
The 32-year-old Stoudemire is in the final season of a five-year, $100 million deal and the Knicks money alone simply is no longer enough for him. The playoff bound Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trailblazers and L.A. Clippers are all considered players for Stoudemire should he officially sever his ties with the Knicks.
In truth, New York’s 10-40 first-half showing almost leaves the 13-year veteran no choice. The Knicks struggles have also come with Carmelo Anthony in the lineup on a regular basis. The Knicks’ only All-Star is widely expected to shut it down completely for the second half of the season in hopes of healing his ailing knee.
“It’s not an easy decision to make,” Stoudemire told Yahoo! “Over time, we will see how things pan out. You give yourself a break during the All-Star break.
You think about it with your family … that will give me a good solid week on how to weigh out the rest of the season.”
The front-running Mavs would only be able to offer Stoudemire the veteran’s minimum, but at this point in his career that could be golden. Golden as in offering him his most legitimate chance at hoisting a Larry O’Brien Trophy.
A six-time All-Star, Stoudemire is averaging 12 points and seven rebounds in 33 games this season. But more than individual numbers, he just longs for the chance to play on a team that truly has a chance to compete.
Long close with Knicks owner Jim Dolan, Stoudemire is taking added caution to make sure he says all the right things, recently telling reporters “all possibilities at this point are still open. 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.”
But in just a matter of week the future could be now for Amar’e Stoudemire. And with the Knicks showing no signs for such an imminent rise, what choice does he really have?