Stephon Marbury as a shooting guard? Damon Stoudamire at point guard for the Knicks? It could happen, writes the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola.
Damon Stoudamire will tell you he has a history with Isiah Thomas, one that may be strong enough to lead to a reunion in New York next season with his former boss.
Stoudamire, according to sources, is a free agent the Knicks will strongly consider this summer, even if Thomas selects a guard in the draft. Thomas wants to add quickness, experience and another ball handler to his backcourt. The addition of a player of Stoudamire’s caliber would allow Stephon Marbury to play more minutes at shooting guard.
Thomas has hinted that he wants to play a style similar to that of the Suns and SuperSonics, spreading the floor with three-point shooters and taking advantage of Marbury’s ability to drive to the basket. Thomas also envisions having three players – Marbury, Jamal Crawford and possibly Stoudamire – who can all play both guard positions.
“If that happens, it would be great,” Stoudamire said late Saturday night. “I definitely think the beauty of playing that way is that you have three guards that can pass, dribble and shoot. Isiah is molding the team the way he did in Toronto and like the team he played for in Detroit. Isiah, Joe Dumars and Vinnie Johnson all complemented each other.”
The 5-10 Stoudamire, who scored 25 points in Portland’s 103-96 victory over the Knicks on Saturday, long has been a favorite of Thomas, who drafted Stoudamire 12 years ago with the Raptors. Stoudamire, who will turn 32 in September, is not expected to re-sign with the Blazers this summer. The uncertainty surrounding Allan Houston’s arthritic knee – the Knicks would prefer that the veteran guard retire – and Crawford’s inconsistency give the Knicks reason to want to add a veteran player with Stoudamire’s resume.
“I’ve got some history with a lot of the guys that run the team in New York, Isiah, Brendan Suhr, and I even played with Herb (Williams) for (one game) in Toronto,” Stoudamire said. “It’s something me and my agent will definitely look at. At the end of the day it’s something I will definitely listen to.”
Stoudamire’s agent is Aaron Goodwin, who also represents Crawford as well as Vin Baker, whom the Knicks signed to a two-year, $7 million contract last summer. Baker was eventually traded to the Houston Rockets in the Maurice Taylor deal. Thomas has a good working relationship with Goodwin, but his friendships with Stoudamire and Goodwin may not mean much if and when the two sides begin negotiating.
Stoudamire will earn $12.5 million this season and is prepared to take a significant pay cut this summer. How much of a cut is open for debate. The Knicks can offer Stoudamire their mid-level exception, which would be a deal starting at $5 million. However, Thomas may want to save that chip for a younger player who can become a starter. The Knicks could get Stoudamire for a deal starting at $2 million but Stoudamire figures to draw interest from several teams.