Amar’e Stoudemire May Play in Jerusalem After Next Season

by April 15, 2014

New York Knicks big man Amar’e Stoudemire will be a free agent in the summer of 2015, and STAT (who discovered his Jewish roots a few years ago) says he’s thinking of taking his talents to Jerusalem. Per the NY Post:

Stoudemire is part of a four-man ownership group, including superagent Arn Tellem, that purchased 60 percent of Hapoel Jerusalem last summer and turned the franchise into the top team in the Israeli league at 20-7.

Stoudemire’s late surge, during which he played near his All-Star level the season’s final month, could prompt him to seek another NBA contract after 2014-15 when his $100 million pact expires. But he’s also mulling Israel to boost its profile.

Stoudemire’s oft-troubled knees calmed down this season, and he has played 63 games entering Tuesday’s game in Brooklyn, averaging 11.9 points and five rebounds in 22.6 minutes, shooting 56 percent.

“We’ll see,’’ Stoudemire said. “You can’t rule anything out. The future is unknown and so if I have an opportunity to [play in Israel] and am still in great health, it would be great. I have one more year left on my deal and we’ll go from there.’’

Stoudemire claims he has Jewish roots on his mother’s side and has become observant regarding Jewish holidays, including Passover, which began Monday night. Stoudemire said he will observe by not eating bread./p>

Israeli-American Ori Allon, who heads the Hapoel ownership group, said he has had discussions with Stoudemire about playing for Hapoel Jerusalem. Allon has a goal of making Hapoel into the same recognizable brand as Maccabi Tel Aviv and believes Stoudemire’s addition — as owner or player — has put the team on that path.

“We’ve discussed it in the past,’’ Allon said. “It would be tremendous and unbelievable but it’s still early. I think it’s a real possibility, but he played very well this season so it’s up to him.’’