During the offseason leading into the 2010-11 season, the Knicks were looking to spend some money on a big ticket free agent, and the market was stocked with them.
Of course, the biggest signings were that of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade creating the first superteam by signing with the Heat. But New York didn't leave free agency empty handed when they landed a 28-year-old Amar'e Stoudemire, an already five-time All-Star.
Years later, Stoudemire explained how that all went down with The Players' Tribune's podcast "Knuckleheads," which features another free agent that year in Quentin Richardson. Stoudemire actually had his mind on signing an extension with the Suns -- the team that drafted him ninth overall back in 2002.
But brand new GM Lance Blanks had an interesting negotiating tactic for Stoudemire's team...
"Well, I wanted to re-sign with Phoenix and the negotiating tactic was he came to me and said, 'Well, we got guys who's gonna replace you tomorrow.' I'm like, 'What?' Stoudemire explained.
"We went to the Western [Conference] Finals four years out of six years. We just got to the seminfinal. We lost to the Lakers with an air ball shot that Ron Artest hit. We got a chance to still win a title. And you come to me like this?"
As you can hear from his answer, Stoudemire was extremely confused by that conversation with Suns brass, especially after what the numbers he has put together at that point in his career.
"I'm looking like, 'Listen, man, I just averaged 26 a game (to be technical, he averaged 25.3 points), first-team All-NBA," Stoudemire said. "And you're coming at me like this? We got a chance to win a title here.'"
So as Stoudemire began to weigh his options, he opted out of his final year and hit the market. And instead of keeping his loyalties to Phoenix, New York came calling.
Growing up in New York and thinking about his career off the court as well, Stoudemire found it the right fit and eventually signed a massive five-year, $100 million deal to become the face of the franchise. That was until Carmelo Anthony was traded from the Nuggets to the Knicks that same year.
"Free agency hit, I can't wait around to see what someone else gonna do," he said. "So I was like, 'You know what? I got history with Mike D'antoni. I was raised in New York.' I was in New York for seven years of my childhood years, so I was like, 'I love New York City. It's a great chance to not only turn the team around, but also build my brand off the court.' So now I'm going to New York."