Stoudemire agrees to deal with the Knicks

By Associated Press
Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Amare Stoudemire is headed to the New York Knicks, and both sides are hoping he's not coming alone.

The Knicks said Monday they intend to sign Stoudemire to a contract later this week when the free agent moratorium period ends. Stoudemire's agent, Happy Walters, said the deal is for the maximum allowed, which would be nearly $100 million over five years.

Wearing a blue Knicks hat, Stoudemire said he looked forward to rebuilding the franchise and bringing the Knicks back to the top -- maybe with a player such as LeBron James or Dwyane Wade with him.

"I feel great about being a pioneer and showing my leadership," he said at Madison Square Garden, where signs throughout the entrances showed the player pictured in a Knicks uniform and reading "Welcome, Amare Stoudemire." The deal can't be signed until Thursday, after the salary cap for next season has been set.

It was a desperately needed score in free agency for the Knicks, who spent two seasons clearing enough cap space to afford two top players. They met with James, Wade and Chris Bosh last week and believe they could still land one of them.

Stoudemire has already started recruiting, saying he spoke to James's people and directly to Wade last week.

James's surprise visit

James took a break from his whirlwind courtship to get back on the basketball court.

The NBA's most wanted man made a surprise appearance at his Nike Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio, to work out as the sports world awaits his decision on where he'll play next season. James was not expected to attend the camp featuring some of the nation's top college and high school players until Tuesday.

Wearing a New York Yankees cap and white T-shirt, James strolled into Rhodes Arena just before 3 p.m. He was accompanied by former Cavaliers teammate Damon Jones and others.

After stretching out with a trainer, James shot jumpers as New Orleans star guard Chris Paul, his closest friend in the league, looked on. Paul was dressed in street clothes and did not join James on the floor of the arena, where the two-time MVP played many of his high school games for St. Vincent-St. Mary.

Moments later, Cleveland teammate Jawad Williams and high school buddy Romeo Travis showed up and took part in shooting and driving drills with James.

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