ORLANDO, Fla. - Amar'e Stoudemire has tried to keep his emotions in check and focus on playing for the Knicks as long as he's wearing their uniform. That could have happened for the last time Wednesday night.
The Knicks are fully rebuilding, and Stoudemire could be the next one to go. He said he would use the All-Star break to decide whether to ask for a buyout. But his agent Happy Walters said in a text that he and Knicks officials have spoken about Stoudemire in a "broad manner, but have not really got into it.''
Those talks are expected to continue now that the extended All-Star break is here and the California-based Walters is in New York. It could be a busy break with a lot of turnover for the Knicks. The trade deadline is next Thursday. The Knicks play their next game one night later.
They went into the break with an 89-83 loss to the Magic. The Knicks are 10-43, owners of the NBA's worst record.
If it was Stoudemire's Knicks finale, it wasn't a memorable one. Stoudemire, who grew up in nearby Lake Wales, shot 0-for-3 and scored five points in 14 minutes off the bench.
Stoudemire was the first piece when the Knicks rebuilt in 2010. He famously declared, "The Knicks are back,'' after agreeing to a five-year, $100-million deal. Now the Knicks are back to shedding salary and looking to upgrade their talent so they don't have another season like this.
He's in the final year of his contract, and would try to sign with a playoff contender if he's waived.
"It's a tough decision,'' Stoudemire said before the game. "It's nothing that I can really think about now because it's kind of a moment, a sad moment, for me because New York is deep in my heart. So it's a tough decision to make.
"My thing is not try to get too emotional, because we have a game we're still trying to win. So I want to keep my focus on the games. But it's definitely an emotional event taking place.''
He admitted that as time wound down he thought about it being his last game as a Knick.
The Knicks have four players with fully guaranteed deals for next season. The only one assured to return is Carmelo Anthony, who missed Wednesday night's game with a sore left knee.
By the end of next week, Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani and Pablo Prigioni could be ex-Knicks, too. Calderon has two years and $15.1 million left on his deal. If Phil Jackson could move Calderon, it would free up more money this summer and, more importantly, for 2016, when the Knicks plan to be big spenders in free agency.
Prigioni has a small guarantee for next season. Bargnani's contract is expiring. If the Knicks can't trade him, they could buy him out and waive him.
Two playoff teams, the Mavericks and Clippers, reportedly would have an interest in Stoudemire if he's available. He would have to be waived by March 1 to be playoff eligible.
Walters said "there are a lot of options'' for Stoudemire during an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio Wednesday.
"He certainly didn't think his last year would be like it is now, where the team is struggling," Walters said. "Amar'e and I have talked about what to do and it is an ongoing discussion. I've talked to the Knicks a little bit about it but we haven't gotten to anything substantive. We'll kind of see how things go.''
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