by Dan Shapiro
Earlier this week, Amar’e Stoudemire turned heads by promoting the idea of a new league formed by the players. Since then, we’ve seen the first two weeks of the season cancelled and the Christmas games now, according to Stern, are now in jeopardy. Amar’e, appearing for Sheets Energy Strips Friday at the Wall Street Duane Reade stayed firm that this league was “definitely realistic.”
“If Mr. Stern wants to cancel the whole season, and he talks canceling about a season or two. Then if that happens, then we’ve got to start considering our own league for sure.” While, less specific when pressed for details of the league, Amar’e was confident that a player league could happen. “It’s all about the evolution of thought. If we put our minds together and really come up with a great game plan, we could. But the first goal is to play NBA basketball and try and get this thing resolved.”
Amar’e stood by the player’s current offer of a 53 percent split: “Right now we’re not budging. We’re at 53 and that’s where we stand.”
Beyond the numbers, a serious issue in this lockout is to even out the League whether it’s by a hard cap, or profit sharing between the owners. I asked Amar’e if under the current CBA, if you could achieve parity in this league. “For sure, you have Minnesota who’s got great players. You got Ricky Rubio, who didn’t pan out, but then you have Kevin Love who’s a phenomenal player, you got Michael Beasely. I mean the Clippers have Blake Griffin and these young players. Every team has their stars, it’s just a matter of learning how to win.”
Referencing the Wolves, and the Clippers as icons of league parity is a little scary and indicative of just how far apart the owners and the players stand on most lockout issues.
That aside, Amar’e was clear that he, and the players, want to get back out on the court as fast as possible. “I just hope the fans understand that the players are trying to make something happen for them. We want to keep them involved in basketball.”
While this lockout draws on, Amar’e continues to workout in preparation for a Knicks’ season. There’s also the benefit for both he and Chauncey Billups to continue to heal from the nagging injuries that caught up with them at the end of last season.
But this lockout goes beyond the court and Amar’e made a point of mentioning those other victims, “There are so many employees that are affected by the lockout. The popcorn vendors, the concession guys, which is not cool. We’re all out of jobs, so I’m right there with them. I feel their pain. We got figure out ways to generate income for everyone. That’s our goal.”