Amare Stoudemire talks lockout plans

Updated: October 12, 2011, 12:19 PM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- If the NBA lockout forces the cancellation of the 2011-12 season, New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire says players will give "serious" consideration to starting their own league.

According to Stoudemire, the possibility of forming an alternate league already has been discussed among players.

"Obviously we're trying to ... get this lockout resolved. We want to play NBA basketball. But if it doesn't happen what are we gonna do? We can't just sit around and not do anything. So we have to figure out ways to now continue to play basketball at a high level against top competition and have fun doing it. So, that's the next step," Stoudemire said Tuesday night at a Manhattan Footlocker to promote his new sneaker, the Nike Air Max Sweep Thru.

There are, of course, many hurdles to be cleared before players get an alternate league off the ground. Among those include finding a source for player salaries, game venues, broadcast rights and player insurance, just to name a few.

Without addressing logistics, Stoudemire believes starting another league is an idea players will explore.

"If we don't go to Europe, then let's start our own league; that's how I see it," the 6-foot-11 forward/center said.

Stoudemire was asked to gauge "how serious" the idea is being considered.

"It's very, very serious. It's just a matter of us strategically coming up with a plan, a blueprint and putting it together," he said. "So we'll see how this lockout goes. If it goes one or two years, then we've got to start our own league."

NBA commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the 2011-12 regular season Monday night, the 102nd day of the lockout.

Stern's announcement marked just the second time in league history that a labor dispute has forced the cancellation of regular season games.

"We don't want to lose games at all, man," Stoudemire said. "It's something that we just really don't want to do. We want to play and play now. Obviously we can't due to the circumstances so, you never know what the future holds."

Stoudemire is preaching for fans and those involved with the league to be patient.

"I think we're pretty far apart, but the most important part is that we're trying to work to get something done," Stoudemire said earlier Tuesday while making appearances on "SportsCenter" and "ESPN First Take" at ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters to promote his sneaker. "There are so many jobs at stake; their livelihoods are on the line. We'll get a deal done eventually."

As far as his personal future, Stoudemire reiterated that he has received offers from European clubs but hasn't seriously considered the option -- yet.

"I think it definitely should be considered; it could be an option," he said. "I think the next meeting is not scheduled yet, but I think after that next meeting then we can figure out where we really stand with this whole thing."

Stoudemire participated in a charity game in Miami earlier this month featuring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and others.

NBA players have played in various charity games around the country over the last few months. They are expected to continue to do so.

The most structured lockout event was a two-week, NBA-only league in Las Vegas hosted by longtime trainer Joe Abunassar.

If the lockout continues to drag on, Stoudemire believes players may eventually provide a more permanent alternative to the NBA.

"If it (doesn't) resolve then we're thinking about starting our own league," he said.

When, and if, the owners and players hold a joint news conference to announce a new collective bargaining agreement has been ratified, Stoudemire said the Knicks are prepared to contend with the Heat for a spot in the NBA Finals.

"We have a pretty solid team; we're pretty confident with the guys we have now," he said. "I think the moves we made this past season, bringing in Carmelo (Anthony) and Chauncey (Billups), definitely helped us get to that championship level."

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from ESPNNewYork contributor Jared Zwerling was used in this report.

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