DALLAS (AP) Amare Stoudemire is signed and set for his debut with the Dallas Mavericks.
Stoudemire joined the Mavericks after clearing waivers Wednesday, two days after the New York Knicks let him out of his contract with a buyout.
The six-time All-Star forward signed for the prorated veteran minimum of about $460,000, and the deal was announced about the same time he was expected to be on a flight to Oklahoma City with his new teammates. The Mavericks return from the All-Star break at the Thunder on Thursday night.
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The 32-year-old Stoudemire, in his 13th season, will back up center Tyson Chandler and forward Dirk Nowitzki and restore some of the frontcourt depth Dallas lost when Brandan Wright went to Boston in the December trade that brought Rajon Rondo.
”To play alongside Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler and other great players, I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for me to compete for a championship,” said Stoudemire, who leaves behind a 10-win team that will be without star Carmelo Anthony for the rest of the season.
Chandler and Stoudemire spent three seasons together in New York. Chandler signed with the Knicks as a free agent after helping lead Dallas to the franchise’s only championship in 2011. The 7-foot-1 Chandler came back to the Mavericks in an offseason trade.
Stoudemire has career averages of 20 points and 8.2 rebounds. He averaged 12 points and 24 minutes for the Knicks this season. The Mavericks made room for him by waiving second-year guard Ricky Ledo.
”He has somebody that he can lean on,” Chandler said before the deal was announced. ”Different city, locker room, teammates, whole different atmosphere, at least there’s something familiar. I’ll try to help him as much as possible coming in.”
Stoudemire is a familiar face for Nowitzki because they were playoff opponents in 2005, when Stoudemire averaged 29 points and 13 rebounds to help Phoenix beat Dallas in six games in the Western Conference semifinals.
But that’s far from the same Stoudemire, who missed significant time in New York with a variety of injuries and has had surgery on both knees in his career.
”I think he’s obviously a great upgrade to our front line, especially our thin bench,” Nowitzki said.
Not only will Stoudemire make his Dallas debut in Oklahoma City, but Rondo will be back after missing six games with a broken bone near his left eye and nasal fractures.
Coach Rick Carlisle is optimistic Chandler will play after missing the last game before the break with a sprained left ankle.
The Mavericks (36-19) will need everyone in a difficult stretch of the schedule coming out of the break, even by the tough standards of the Western Conference.
”I think the break came at the right time if it ever comes at the right time,” Nowitzki said. ”We were banged up a little bit. Hopefully everyone feels well tomorrow and is rested. The schedule we’ve got coming up the last 20-something games is a beast.”