Sunday, July 4, 2010
Updated: July 5, 12:27 PM ET
Stoudemire, Knicks still talking
By Chris Sheridan
The New York Knicks held a second meeting with LeBron James' representatives to clarify exactly where they stood in regards to signing Amare Stoudemire. And as of now, there is no third meeting scheduled.
The second meeting was attended by James' agent, Leon Rose, Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald and others, on Saturday morning in Cleveland before James himself met with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls.
It lasted about an hour, with James' representatives wanting to know whether it was true (it wasn't) that New York had already formally offered Stoudemire a five-year, $100 million contract.
James did not attend, nor did Knicks president Donnie Walsh or coach Mike D'Antoni. Reports of a third meeting between the two sides were refuted by Walsh.
"We don't have any other meetings scheduled with LeBron," Walsh told ESPN.com's Chad Ford.
"It was somewhat of a clarification meeting to deal with some of the misinformation that is out there," one source said of the second meeting.
Walsh disputed that Stoudemire's status was the reason for the meeting. He said that the meeting was salary cap related to explain the Knicks' cap options this year and next with James' agent.
A second source said it was the Knicks, not James, that requested the second meeting, which was first reported by the New York Daily News on its website Sunday afternoon.
As was reported by ESPN.com, the Knicks told Stoudemire they have a willingness to offer him a five-year max contract, with everything contingent on what James decides to do.
"We're meeting with [Stoudemire on Monday]," Walsh said. "We haven't sat down and talked contract with him at all."
There is no shortage of players willing to team up with James in the Big Apple.
The Knicks told James in their initial meeting with him Thursday that if he signs with New York, he can choose which free agent big man he would like to play alongside, be it Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer or David Lee.
Stoudemire has fed into the folly by acting as though there was already an offer on the table, going so far as to tell reporters Saturday night that he was already recruiting Carmelo Anthony and Tony Parker to join the Knicks.
"I've talked to Carmelo Anthony that he needs to come out here," Stoudemire said on Saturday. "I've talked to Tony Parker. Both guys are ready to join me if I decide to come here. So we will see if we can work it out."
Parker and Anthony would not become free agents until next year. The Nuggets have offered Anthony a $65 million extension to remain in Denver through 2015.
Parker would have to get to New York via sign-and-trade and Anthony could sign as a free agent next offseason, provided he doesn't sign an extension with the Nuggets this summer and that the Knicks clear enough salary cap room.
In reality, however, Stoudemire will be seeking employment elsewhere if James tells the Knicks he wants to play in New York alongside a different big man.
ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reported that Stoudemire and D'Antoni had breakfast together Sunday. The purpose of the sitdown was to clear the air about any old grievances that may have existed between the two when they were with Phoenix in the mid-2000s, according to sources.
"[Stoudemire] spent the weekend in New York with his agent," Walsh said. "Mike [D'Antoni] met with him today to talk basketball and some personal issues."
The first face-to-face meeting between Stoudemire's camp and a full Knicks contingent will take place Monday.
There were reports Sunday that Stoudemire wants to arrange visits with the New Jersey Nets and Bulls on Tuesday and Wednesday, but a third source told ESPN.com that no actual sitdowns had been firmly scheduled. The Knicks, however, are at the top of his list, according to sources.
The news of the second meeting between representatives of James and the Knicks came as The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer was reporting that James will not reveal his decision until after his Nike basketball camp in Akron concludes Wednesday night.
James will be free to sign with the team of his choice as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, after the salary cap for the 2010-11 season is set.
Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN.com. ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford and ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard contributed to this report.