Report: Knicks Tried Repeatedly to Deal Amar’e

The Knicks tried in February to deal Amar’e Stoudemire to the Raptors for Andrea Bargnani, according to a report in today’s New York Times.

Knicks owner Jim Dolan vetoed the idea before it ever got to the Raptors, who would not have made the deal anyway, the Times reported.

The Knicks before that tried to package Stoudemire and center Tyson Chandler to the Orlando Magic in an attempt to land Dwight Howard, the Times also reported.

The paper quoted a league executive who said that Stoudemire was available this summer to nearly every team in the league “for free.”

Meantime, Stoudemire practiced again Thursday with the Knicks’ D-League team, the Erie BayHawks, in Westchester, but there is no set timetable on his return after undergoing knee surgery.

“I feel better than I did two days ago,” he said, according to ESPNNewYork.com. “I hope I feel better tomorrow and two days from now. I’m going to continue to try to improve and get to 100 percent. I’m still working towards that.”

Asked if Stoudemire could potentially play Sunday vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves, coach Mike Woodson said, “I doubt that very seriously.”

When Stoudemire does return, Woodson will have some tough choices to make.

Does Stoudemire start or come off the bench? If he starts, does Carmelo Anthony return to the small forward spot instead of power forward, where he has been excelling on the offensive end? What becomes of Kurt Thomas and the injured Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby when Stoudemire comes back?

For now, the Knicks seem anxious to welcome Stoudemire back and they will deal with those thorny issues moving forward.

“I’m excited, absolutely,” Chandler said, according to ESPNNewYork.com. “Amar’e’s a very explosive player, one of the great players in the pick-and-roll, so it’s exciting to be able to have that punch come back.”

Photo: USA Today Sports

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