Best-case scenario: Amar’e Stoudemire is for the Knicks what Patrick Ewing used to be, a dominant interior force who can carry a slumping franchise back to its glory days. (Even better “best-case” is if he convinces LeBron or Carmelo to join him.) Worst-case: Amar’e is the next Allan Houston, New York’s $100 million letdown who will be remembered for effectively putting the ball in the bucket and not much else … Amar’e made the first real big free-agency splash of the summer yesterday, agreeing to a five-year, $100 million deal with the Knicks — putting NY back on the map and leaving Phoenix scrambling for a replacement if they want to keep contending for a championship. (No, Hakim Warrick is not the answer.) Now that their core consists of Amar’e, Gallinari and Chandler, it should be more enticing to that other free agent everybody wants … If you’re otherwise tired of free-agency rumors and rampant speculation (“I’ve been told by a source close to the Cavaliers that LeBron ate three bags of Cheese Doodles today!”), there was good news yesterday: The beginning of NBA summer league … As always, the rookies were the showcase feature. Lance Stephenson put in work against Orlando on its home (practice) court, running point for Indiana and finishing with 21 points and three assists in a win. Granted, Lance was often being guarded by 5-foot-10 Jerome Randle, but “Born Ready” showed a clean handle, good passing instincts and an almost Tyreke-ish ability to get to the rim. For years, Lance’s biggest supporters have said his game was best suited for the pros, and while it’s just summer league, maybe they were right … Not a good debut for Daniel Orton. His first scoring opportunity began with Orton getting his shot blocked, and ended with him air-balling a second-chance hook shot. It wasn’t long before Orton was out with foul trouble, and then he got ejected in the second half for fighting with Josh McRoberts. Stan Van Gundy was in the building, and seemed significantly less psyched about Orton than he did on Draft night … Vince Carter was also in the gym. NBA TV’s Rick Kamla spotted Vince and said, “He’s probably here working out a little bit.” Emphasis on little bit. Vince carried himself like somebody who just came by the office on his day off to pick up his check … Solid game for Indiana’s other second-round pick, Magnum Rolle (13 pts, 6 rebs). He looks like DJ Pooh on HGH, but he could see some real minutes for the Pacers’ big-league squad as a face-up power forward … Former UConn standout Jeff Adrien was pretty good for Orlando. He had 13 points and 10 boards and got to the line 15 times. Even Kevin Durant got sick of watching Adrien shoot free throws … Jazz/Bobcats came down to the last play, when Utah’s Sundiata Gaines missed a wide-open three at the buzzer that would have won it. Top-10 pick Gordon Hayward (8 pts, 5 rebs, 2-2 FG) seemed timid and out of his element all game long. He had a decent shot on that last play, but kicked it to Gaines instead. Some say Hayward made the right play, others say he didn’t want that last shot … We still like Sherron Collins (7 pts, 14 mins) to make the Bobcats roster, but he does appear a little closer to Khalid El-Amin than Ty Lawson out there … The big “head-to-head” matchup on Monday saw No. 2 pick Evan Turner up against No. 3 pick Derrick Favors in 76ers/Nets. Favors put up 8 points, 9 boards and 2 blocks to go with seven fouls in 24 minutes, while Turner had 12 points (8-8 FT), 8 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals and six fouls in 27 minutes. Philly got the win behind Jrue Holiday‘s 23 and 8 dimes … In the other game from Orlando, Byron Mullens dropped 24 points (12-15 FT) and James Harden added 19 in Oklahoma City’s win over Boston, while Luke Harangody led the Celtics with 23 points in the loss. Harden was rocking the mohawk and the Tali-Beard, and we swear he looks slimmer every time we see him. Maybe it’s because he’s got so much going on above the neck that it makes his body shrink by comparison … As for the free-agency stuff, no real movement yesterday beyond the Amar’e deal. LeBron showed up at his Nike camp rocking a Yankees cap and with Damon Jones at his side, which could mean he’s thinking hard about the Knicks and that he likes to hang around terrible basketball-playing loudmouths … Interesting rumor out of Atlanta: Shaq is considering a two-year deal with the Hawks for about $12 million. The one thing ATL really needs is a true center who can allow Al Horford to move to the four, and Shaq just might be the answer. Just don’t come lumbering into town guaranteeing championships … Speaking of bandwagon, look who’s a New York fan this week! Spike Lee posed with Fat Joe, Chris Rock, Allan Houston, John Starks, Mike D’Antoni and Amar’e in this pic below that was posted on Joey Crack’s Twitter. What on earth do you think D’Antoni and Fat Joe would talk about if they were the only two left at the table? … We’re out like Orton …
Smack / Jul 6, 2010 / 12:09 am
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