STAT has 'love' for Dolan, eyes Hall of Fame
November, 24, 2013
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
Jennifer Pottheiser/Getty ImagesAmar'e Stoudemire appreciates the support James Dolan has shown recently.WASHINGTON -- Amar'e Stoudemire has "love" for New York Knicks owner James Dolan. He also holds out hope of having a Hall of Fame career for Dolan's club and retiring a Knick.
Stoudemire on Saturday said he greatly appreciated Dolan saying publicly that he doesn't regret signing Stoudemire to a five-year, $100 million contract.
"My reaction was mutual. I genuinely have a love for Mr. Dolan, so we're in this thing together and we're going to try to win here in New York with the Knicks," he said. "That's the ultimate goal and that was the game plan from Day 1 and it still is."
Stoudemire is playing on a minutes limit as the Knicks try to limit the stress on his oft-injured knees. He played a season-high 22 minutes and had a season-high 12 points against Washington on Saturday.
The 31-year-old is still optimistic that he can regain the All-Star form he showed early in his career and, yes, make the Hall of Fame. Stoudemire averaged 26 points and nine rebounds in his first three months with the Knicks in the 2010-11 season and was one of the top power forwards in the NBA early in his career.
But injuries have taken away much of his explosiveness the past two seasons.
"My mission is to become a great player and hopefully become a future Hall of Fame player," Stoudemire said. "And my goal is to do it here in New York, to finish off my career here. That's the goal. That's the mission, and I'm going to continue to work hard as I always have to get better and better and try to dodge injuries."
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsSigned to a $100 million deal in 2010, injuries have since robbed Amar'e Stoudemire of much of his explosiveness.
In an interview with the New York Post, Dolan credited Stoudemire with making the Knicks a respected destination for top-flight free agents.
"We would not be where we are today without Amar'e," Dolan said. "Amar’e agreed to come to the Knicks, gave us a launch pad by which we could convince the other guys like Tyson [Chandler] to come, and ultimately Carmelo [Anthony] to come play with us. Do I think Carmelo would have come if we didn’t have Amar’e? No, I don’t think he would’ve."
Stoudemire had a strong run in his first season with the club but struggled to adjust to playing with Anthony and was limited to just 29 regular-season games last season due to injury.
It's well known that the Knicks would trade Stoudemire and the $45 million remaining on his contract if they could find a taker. But Dolan, obviously, won't admit that publicly. Instead, he said he's still optimistic that Stoudemire can regain his form.
"I still have hope," the owner said. "You cannot ask for a guy to be more dedicated, more disciplined, than Amar’e. He does his rehab, he does his workouts, he does everything. He’s on it every day, and that’s worth a lot, too. If there’s justice in this world, his knee will heal up to the point where he can play more minutes and make the contribution he wants to make."
Ray likely out Monday: Raymond Felton said he probably won't play Monday against the Portland Trail Blazers but hopes to return Wednesday against the Clippers. The point guard has missed the past three games with a pinched nerve in his hip.
Felton tried to run earlier this week but his hip began to flare up.
"Some miracle can happen, and I wake up and I'm 100 percent. Then I'll be playing [in Portland]," Felton said Sunday. "But the way it looks I don't think I'll be playing this next one either. So, wishful thinking, L.A., hopefully. But we'll see."
Felton has a history with the Blazers.
He entered his lone season in Portland overweight on the heels of the NBA lockout. He was blamed by fans and media for the team's struggles that season. Last season, Felton was booed lustily by Blazers fans when the Knicks visited Portland.
"Those are games you want to go out and perform well," Felton said. "I definitely would love to play this game, but I got to take care of myself, take care of my body. I'm not worried about Portland. I've got to do what's best for this team."
With Felton out, the Knicks will rely on Beno Udrih and Pablo Prigioni to compete against Portland's Damian Lillard, Clippers point guard Chris Paul and Denver's Ty Lawson in the next three games. Washington's John Wall had 31 points and seven assists against the Knicks (3-9) on Saturday.
Woody: Move the ball! Mike Woodson said he talked to the Knicks on Sunday about making an extra pass out of double teams to find an open shot. He said the Knicks were settling for the first shot when someone -- usually Carmelo Anthony -- passes out of a double team.
"When you’re talking about executing offense and playing offense at a high level you might have to make that next pass," Woodson said.
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