After signing a massive deal with the New York Knicks back in 2010, Amar’e Stoudmire immediately began to look for a co-star. STAT says he talked Knicks owner James Dolan into going after Carmelo Anthony. Per Bleacher Report:
I first came to New York City on July 4, 2010.
That night, I went to James Dolan’s house party, and the next day, with my agents Happy Walters and Travis King and the rest of my business team, I met with Mr. Dolan at the Four Seasons hotel. All of the main Knicks personnel were there, too. We sat down and had brunch, and afterward Mr. Dolan and I met alone at the hotel.
It was great to meet with him. We talked about some basketball, and we just had a great time together. We really hit it off very well, and he asked me to come to New York for the max amount. At the time, the Miami Heat were a serious option for me—I met with them first—but they were waiting on LeBron James to make a decision. I didn’t want to wait. Also, the plan was for my business team and I to still fly to Chicago to meet with the Bulls, but I told Mr. Dolan in our meeting that I wanted to come to New York. And that was it.
A lot of people were like, “Why would you want to go to New York? There’s no winning mentality there.” They hadn’t been to the playoffs in six years at the time. But the first year coming to New York was really trying to change to a winning mentality. That’s why signing with the Knicks is still my biggest highlight in New York.
I was like, “The Knicks are back.” I mean, those words were gold to the city of New York, and to follow through with that was even more precious. I think that’s why the fans here have such an open heart for me, because there was a time when a winning mentality was much needed and no one wanted to come to New York. It was a forbidden place, and I took the chance to come here and Mr. Dolan took the chance on signing me, so we had a great marriage.
I also knew that I needed a star teammate, and that’s something I talked to Mr. Dolan about when I signed. My ultimate goal my first year in New York was really to set the tone from a winning standpoint, and then to bring in players that were going to help capitalize and build on that. I mentioned a few players to Mr. Dolan who would be fun to play with, and Melo was one of them. Mr. Dolan and I talked about, “Which players in the near future are going to be available?” Then we said, “Let’s make the move and try to trade for Melo.” That’s how things first started with the Knicks going after Carmelo Anthony. That was a decision Dolan pretty much made with helping myself.
Melo and I have always been friends. We’ve always admired each other’s games. My business team and I actually went out to dinner with Melo’s friends in L.A. before the whole free-agency process started, and we talked a lot about playing ball together one day. That was definitely a highlight for me to play with him that first season; also breaking that 48-year-old record with the nine consecutive 30-point games. I mean, that was remarkable. Those are probably the two main highlights, and then making the playoffs for the first time in six years was a lot of fun, playing against Boston.