When Amar’e Stoudemire said “On paper, we might be the best team in the league,” maybe he meant his other team. That would sure make more sense than referring to the Knicks.
He’s a part owner of Hapoel Jerusalem, which is second in the Israeli Basketball Super League. The team is clearly on the rise, and maybe it could get a big boost.
Stoudemire has an early termination option and can become a free agent this offseason. He won’t because that would mean turning down a $23,410,988 salary. But in 2015, when his contract expires?
Israeli-American Ori Allon, who heads the Hapoel ownership group, said he has had discussions with Stoudemire about playing for Hapoel Jerusalem. Allon has a goal of making Hapoel into the same recognizable brand as Maccabi Tel Aviv and believes Stoudemire’s addition — as owner or player — has put the team on that path.
“We’ve discussed it in the past,’’ Allon said. “It would be tremendous and unbelievable but it’s still early. I think it’s a real possibility, but he played very well this season so it’s up to him.’’
“We’ll see,’’ Stoudemire told The Post. “You can’t rule anything out. The future is unknown and so if I have an opportunity to [play in Israel] and am still in great health, it would be great. I have one more year left on my deal and we’ll go from there.’’
Many more NBA players discuss ending their careers overseas than actually come close to doing so. Even Stoudemire, who has openly explored his Jewish roots, said he was considering playing in Israel during the lockout and never did. Putting NBA money at risk is rarely justifiable.
Amin Vafa of Hardwood Paroxysm pegged this saga perfectly: