New York — Amare Stoudemire is headed to the New York Knicks, and both sides are hoping he’s not coming alone.
The Knicks said Monday they intend to sign Stoudemire to a contract later this week when the free-agent moratorium period ends. Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters, said the deal is for the maximum allowed, which would be nearly $100 million over five years.
Wearing a blue Knicks hat, Stoudemire said he looked forward to rebuilding a franchise and bringing the Knicks back to the top — maybe with a player such as LeBron James or Dwyane Wade with him.
“I feel great about being a pioneer and showing my leadership,” he said at Madison Square Garden, where signs throughout the entrances showed the player pictured in a Knicks uniform and reading “Welcome, Amare Stoudemire.”
The deal can’t be signed until Thursday, after the salary cap for next season has been set.
It was a desperately needed score in free agency for the Knicks, who spent two seasons clearing enough cap space to afford two top players. They met with James, Wade and Chris Bosh last week and believe they could still land one of them.
Stoudemire already has started recruiting, saying he spoke to James’ people and directly to Wade last week.
Stoudemire had played all eight of his seasons with the Suns after being taken with the No. 9 pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. He averaged 23.1 points and 8.9 rebounds last year for Phoenix, which lost in the Western Conference finals to the Los Angeles Lakers.