Forward Amar’e Stoudemire, whose contract was bought out by the New York Knicks on Monday, is prepared to join the Dallas Mavericks.
The news of Stoudemire’s agreement with Dallas was first reported Monday night by RealGM.com. Multiple media outlets subsequently confirmed the report.
Stoudemire was in the last season of a five-year, $99.7 million deal before the Knicks cut him loose at his request. Assuming no team claims him and takes on his $23.4 million salary, he would clear waivers on Wednesday afternoon, making him a free agent. At that point, he is expected to sign with Dallas for the veteran minimum salary.
The Phoenix Suns, Stoudemire’s first team, and the Los Angeles Clippers also bid for the 32-year-old veteran’s services, according to multiple media outlets.
The Mavericks (36-19) are in fifth place in the Western Conference standings, a game behind the Portland Trail Blazers and the Houston Rockets, both 37-18. The Clippers (35-19) are a half-game behind Dallas, and the seventh-place San Antonio Spurs (34-19) are a half-game back of the Clippers.
The Suns (29-25) are in eighth place, a half-game ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder (28-25) and 1 1/2 games in front of the New Orleans Pelicans (27-26).
Stoudemire figures to back up Dallas big men Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler. The Mavericks fortified their roster by acquiring point guard Rajon Rondo from the Boston Celtics in a December trade, but Dallas gave up forward Brandan Wright as part of the deal.
Stoudemire, 32, appeared in 36 games for the Knicks this season, making 14 starts. He averaged 12 points and 6.8 rebounds in 24 minutes per game, well off his career averages of 20 points, 8.2 rebounds and 32.6 minutes per game.
Phoenix’s first-round draft pick in 2002, Stoudemire spent eight seasons with the Suns. He signed with New York before the 2010-11 season, and during his four-plus seasons with the Knicks, he averaged 17.3 points and 6.7 rebounds.
“Amar’e’s period as a Knickerbocker has come to pass, at his request,” New York team president Phil Jackson said in a statement Monday. “His time here should be marked by recognizing his effort: It was 100 percent. As we move forward in structuring this team, we will look for players that exhibit his desire to win.”
Stoudemire added in a statement, “I feel truly blessed to have been able to play for the incredible New York fans, Mr. (James) Dolan, my coaches, teammates and the entire Knicks organization for the past five years. 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.”
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