NEW YORK — Amare Stoudemire is headed to the Knicks, and both sides are hoping he's not coming alone.
The Knicks said Monday that they intend to sign Stoudemire to a contract this week when the free agent moratorium period ends. Stoudemire's agent, Happy Walters, said the deal is for the maximum allowed, which would be nearly $100 million over five years.
Wearing a blue Knicks hat, Stoudemire said he looked forward to rebuilding a franchise and bringing the Knicks back to the top, maybe with a player such as LeBron James or Dwyane Wade with him.
"I feel great about being a pioneer and showing my leadership," he said at Madison Square Garden, where signs throughout the entrances showed the player pictured in a Knicks uniform and reading "Welcome, Amare Stoudemire."
The deal can't be signed until Thursday, after the salary cap for next season has been set.
It was a desperately needed score in free agency for the Knicks, who spent two seasons clearing enough cap space to afford two top players. They met with James, Wade and Chris Bosh last week and believe they could still land one.
Stoudemire has already started recruiting, saying he spoke to James' people and directly to Wade last week. He said he won't be affected if they say no to New York.
"Totally comfortable, totally confident that my leadership qualities will uplift all of us to do something great this upcoming season," Stoudemire said. "So again, the Knicks are back."
The move reunites Stoudemire with Mike D'Antoni, his former coach in Phoenix. Stoudemire averaged more than 20 points in every season they were together and immediately becomes the best player D'Antoni has coached since leaving the Suns after the 2007-08 season.
Waiting on LeBron
AKRON, Ohio — A pointed finger, smile, chuckle and head shake. That was all.
If James has made up his mind, he's not saying so.
The NBA's most wanted man offered no clues about his highly anticipated free agent decision after making an unexpected appearance — and getting in a few fullcourt hoop games with good friend Chris Paul — at his Nike skills academy at the University of Akron.
After working out for two hours then icing his knees and right elbow, James, wearing a white T-shirt and his familiar Yankees cap, headed toward the door of Rhodes Arena.
On his way out, he was asked if he had anything to say. James pointed toward a reporter in the balcony, smiled and shook his head in amusement. He then drove away.
Dwyane still deciding
MIAMI — Heat fans missed a chance to make their case to Wade.
No big deal. Micky Arison did it for them.
As Wade moved closer to deciding his future, he returned to Miami and was seen entering the team's arena with team owner Arison, who wants to pay the six-time All-Star around $127 million for the next six seasons. The day started with a glitch — fans were told to show up at the wrong part of Miami's airport to greet Wade — but Heat officials remained optimistic their star player isn't going anywhere.
For his part, Wade was still contemplating his future.
"Not there yet," said Wade's agent, Henry Thomas.
Thomas represents Wade and Bosh. Wade said last week that the decision wouldn't be simple, a stance Thomas reiterated on both his and Bosh's behalf.
AUSSIE STRUGGLES: Nathan Jawai, the first indigenous Australian to be drafted into the NBA, lumbered down the floor in three ineffective minutes in his summer league debut for the Bobcats. Carrying at least 285 pounds, the 6-foot-10 center must get his pudgy body closer to how it looked when he was the rookie of the year in Australia's NBL in 2008. "Back then I was quicker, smaller. That's what I've got to get back to right now," Jawai said.