Posted by Sekou Smith
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Give Amar’e Stoudemire an A for effort.
He’s working his position as the New York Knicks’ first piece in the free agent puzzle.
“The Knicks are back,” he said after agreeing to his five-year, $100 million deal Monday.
Uh, not so much Amar’e, at least not until the other pieces of this puzzle become clear.
Granted, we’re huge Stoudemire fans here at the hideout, but there has to be someone to feed him the ball in New York. And since the Knicks won’t be landing Steve Nash anytime soon, the Knicks clearly have more work to do.
Stoudemire is going to do his part to recruit someone else to come and work with him at Madison Square Garden. And the Knicks insist Stoudemire is just the first domino they needed to fall. Not only do they feel like they have a good chance at LeBron James, there are still rumblings that Dwyane Wade is in play.
Toss in the obligatory Carmelo Anthony rumors (the Nuggets have made it clear that there is “no way” they are trading him) and the usual chorus involving Chris Paul and Tony Parker, and there is plenty of reason for Knicks fans to hope that there will be an even happier ending to this free agent story.
But make no mistake, only one player is the true apple of New York’s eye, and that’s James. Land him and it was all worth it. Finish this summer without him in a Knicks uniform and … well, you can imagine the venom that will be spewed.
The fervor for James is so strong that at least one New York scribe is suggesting that Cleveland doesn’t deserve him. Marc Berman of the New York Post has been dispatched to Cleveland to keep up with the story and delivered this:
After spending two out of the three days at the LeBron James summit in Cleveland, I am amazed how northeastern Ohio takes its lone sports treasure for granted.
I camped at the IMG building Thursday and Saturday and spent the other day in Chicago for the Knicks’ meetings with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. There nearly was as much buzz outside Chicago’s Peninsula Hotel, awaiting Wade and Bosh to come out, as anything witnessed in Cleveland.
The Cleveland “Fan Tunnel” orchestrated by the Cavs on Saturday did not have a significant turnout. The goal was to have crowds lining St. Clair Avenue as James drove in for his final two meetings with the Cavs and Bulls.
One or two thousand fans were needed to make any impact. A couple of hundred showed up — many of them employed by Quicken Loans Arena. They encircled the parking garage entrance when James drove in at 11 a.m. and they didn’t even realize it was him as he drove in.
By the time James drove off in his silver Audi at 4:30 p.m., there were about 100 left. Considering the magnitude of this story, it was an underwhelming gathering.
There will be any number of theories floated as to why James chose one team over the others. Something tells me that the size of the crowd gathered to greet him will not be one of them.
And we’re guessing that impassioned pleas from Stoudemire or writers from New York will have a similar impact. James might listen, but his decision has to be based on something more than that.
Does he think he can win a championship playing alongside Stoudemire?
Does he think he can win a championship playing in New York, playing in Mike D’Antoni‘s system?
If he does, maybe the Knicks are back.