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amar'e stoudemire

Amar’e: Isiah Had Nothing to Do With Me Coming Here

All this week, for a future magazine story, we've been trailing and interviewing Amar'e Stoudemire, the most talented Knick in more than a decade (at least), as he spent his first full week in New York City. We spent time with him at the Knicks practice facility in Westchester, during a photo shoot at the Garden, at an unveiling of a billboard with his likeness in Times Square. We talked to him several times, most of which will be in the magazine story, but a brief tidbit from one interview, we felt, was too juicy to wait. It involves Isiah Thomas. Of course it does.

As you may remember, Isiah Thomas and Jim Dolan claim that Thomas's primary utility is recruitment; he's supposedly so respected and beloved by current players that they'll follow him anywhere, even places (like New York) that he doesn't officially work. Donnie Walsh even cited Thomas in the press conference welcoming Amar'e to town. And now Isiah supposedly has "inside info" that Carmelo Anthony is coming here.

So, about all that recruitment? We asked Amar'e what influence Isiah Thomas had on his decision to come to New York. Here's how that section of the conversation went.

Much has been made of Isiah Thomas's influence on bringing in free agents. How much did you talk with him during this process?

Well, no one could talk to us until the free agency period began.

I mean after that. Between the day free agency started and the day that you signed, did you talk to Isiah Thomas?
No. I didn't talk to him once.

Not once? He didn't influence you to come here?

I never talked with him once.

Wait, so have you even met him?

A while ago, I think.

So, to be clear, you didn't talk to him at ALL during this negotiating process with the Knicks?
Nope.

So, to be clear: Isiah Thomas's supposed recruiting prowess is being extolled even though the biggest free agent the Knicks have signed in decades never once talked to him and barely even knows him. And now we're supposed to believe Isiah has inside knowledge of Carmelo Anthony's actions. Makes sense. Totally does.

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Photo: Louis Lanzano/AP