Amar’e Stoudemire has committed to joining the Dallas Mavericks, according to league sources, giving him a chance to compete for a championship and adding much-needed frontcourt depth to a Western Conference contender’s bench.
Stoudemire, who negotiated a buyout with the New York Knicks over the weekend and was officially waived Monday, committed to the Mavs for the remainder of the season on Monday.
“I feel truly blessed to have been able to play for the incredible New York fans, Mr. Dolan, my coaches, teammates and the entire Knicks organization for the past five years,” Stoudemire said in a statement released by the team. “I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to contribute positively on the court and in the community.
The big man’s contract will not become official until he clears waivers on Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET, making him a free agent. His $23.4 million salary essentially makes the waivers process a formality.
A number of teams—most notably the Los Angeles Clippers, Mavericks and Phoenix Suns, per ESPN’s Marc Stein—were expected to draw interest, but Dallas was viewed as an early favorite. The Mavericks have increasingly become a hub for former stars near the end of their careers, with Rick Carlisle’s ability to highlight strengths and mitigate weaknesses serving as a draw.
One of the league’s best power forwards when he came to New York in 2010, injuries cut Stoudemire’s prime short and have left him a shell of the player he once was. He missed at least 17 games in all but his first season in New York. He is averaging 12.0 points and 6.8 rebounds in 24 minutes per game this season, appearing in 36 contests before the break.
The Mavs envision Stoudemire as a key bench player who will back up center Tyson Chandler and see spot duty at power forward behind Dirk Nowitzki. He will provide the Mavs with a quality replacement for Brandan Wright, the high-efficiency reserve big man the Mavs gave up in a December deal to acquire Rajon Rondo.
[information via Associated Press]