Report: Mavericks frontrunners to sign Amar’e Stoudemire if he pursues contract buyout from Knicks

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There are two positives where this disastrous Knicks season is concerned.

Not only will all of the losing will have New York primed to earn a high pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, but the high-priced contracts of both Andrea Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire will come off the books at the end of this year, creating a large amount of cap space the team can then use to try to lure some star talent once free agency begins.

The Knicks may be open to additional cost savings this year, however, in the form of a contract buyout for either player. That would require them agreeing to take less money to be released, with the upside being that they could then try to catch on with a contender for the remainder of the season, before looking at all options once the current campaign is finished.

Stoudemire is reportedly considering it, and will take the All-Star break to decide if that’s something that’s indeed of interest. If he determines that it is, he’d reportedly have at least one Western Conference playoff team ready to pounce.

From Tim MacMahon and Marc Stein of ESPN.com:

The Dallas Mavericks would be considered front-runners to sign Amar’e Stoudemire if the 13-year veteran opts to pursue a contract buyout from the New York Knicks, according to league sources.

Stoudemire made it clear in his public comments that he’s not yet sure if he wants to seek a buyout from the Knicks to join a contender for the stretch run, but sources told ESPN.com that Dallas has quickly emerged as a prime landing spot if he becomes a free agent.

The Mavericks remain keen to sign Stoudemire’s fellow former All-Star big man Jermaine O’Neal, sources said, and are prepared to make the needed roster room to accommodate both O’Neal and Stoudemire should they become available.

Dallas wouldn’t be the only team in the hunt for Stoudemire, who is still a decent offensive option as long as he’s part of lineups that also have some defensive-minded bigs on the court playing alongside him.

But what this really comes down to is Stoudemire, and what he wants to do. The Knicks would certainly be amenable to a buyout, but it depends how much money Stoudemire is willing to give back to be released from his deal, and whether or not he wants to be uprooted in the middle of the season to chase a playoff run somewhere else.