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Notes: Amar’e Stoudemire agrees to contract buyout with Knicks

Stoudemire was an All-Star in Phoenix before signing a five-year contract worth about $100 million in 2010. Wilfredo Lee/AP

Amar’e Stoudemire started the New York Knicks moving forward before his injuries hastened their return to the bottom.

The veteran forward was waived Monday after requesting the Knicks buy out the remainder of his contract that was set to expire after this season. He will be free to sign with another team once he clears waivers.

‘‘His time here should be marked by recognizing his effort. It was 100 percent,’’ Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson said in a statement. ‘‘As we move forward in structuring this team, we will look for players that exhibit his desire to win.’’

Not long after the announcment, sources told ESPN.com that Stoudemire has committed to playing for the Dallas Mavericks, who sit in fifth in the Western Conference at the All-Star break.


The Mavericks, who acquired Rajon Rondo from the Celtics in December, were in need of a veteran big man off the bench.

Stoudemire averaged 17.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in 255 games over five seasons with the Knicks, making the playoffs three times. He was a starter in the 2011 All-Star Game, the Knicks’ first in 14 years.

‘‘I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to contribute positively on the court and in the community. Although I leave the Knicks with a heavy heart, I wish the organization the best of luck. Once a Knick always a Knick,’’ Stoudemire said.

Carmelo Anthony, who wanted to play for the Knicks in part because Stoudemire had signed there in 2010, learned the news Sunday after playing in the NBA All-Star Game.

‘‘Amar’e brought something back to New York that New York was kind of missing and needing for a long time,’’ Anthony said. ‘‘When he came, he brought back some of the excitement here for the game of basketball in New York. There was hope when he came back. People started believing in the New York Knicks once again. He was the main reason for that belief and for that hope when he first got here in New York.’’


Stoudemire was an All-Star in Phoenix before signing a five-year deal worth about $100 million in 2010. He helped the Knicks end a seven-year playoff drought and reach the postseason in his first season.

The Knicks had to monitor his minutes since his two knee operations during the 2012-13 season.

He can still score when able to play, averaging 12 points in 24 minutes per game this season. So he may draw interest from contending teams before the regular-season schedule resumes Thursday.

‘‘To see him leave, to see the situation where it’s at right now, I know what he wants and you have to respect that,’’ Anthony said. ‘‘As an athlete, as a competitor, you only want the best for your friends, your close ones. He wants to play for a championship is what I’m hearing. He wants to play for a contender. I don’t think nobody should hold that away from him.’’

Westbrook lifts West

Mixing Broadway and basketball, this NBA All-Star Game was a West Side Story.

Russell Westbrook scored 41 points — one shy of the All-Star record — and the Western Conference beat the East, 163-158, on Sunday night in the highest-scoring All-Star Game ever.

The Thunder star had a record 27 points by halftime and closed out the scoring with two free throws, falling 1 point shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s 42 points in the 1962 game. He was voted the game’s MVP at Madison Square Garden.


James Harden added 29 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists for the West, which built a 20-point lead in the first half and then pulled away after it was tied at 148 with a little more than four minutes remaining.

The combined 321 points edged the 318 scored last year, and the 48 3-pointers trumped last season’s record of 30.

LeBron James finished with 30 points for the East.

One downfall for the NBA, however, was that it lost the ratings battle with the “Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special.” The All-Star game averaged 7.2 million viewers while SNL averaged 23.1 million according to an ESPN report.

Bryant eyes return

In an interview with NBA TV, Kobe Bryant said that he isn’t considering retirement and will attempt to comeback from a season-ending rotator cuff injury. Bryant, 36, missed most of last season after rupturing his Achilles’ tendon . . . In a radio segment for ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” show, NBA players association head Michele Roberts indicated that the organization has been in contact with players regarding the possible expansion of legalized sports betting. Roberts said that while the NBPA doesn’t have an official stance on the prospect of legal gambling, it is willing to explore its options . . . According to an ESPN report, sources have said that the Milwaukee Bucks and forward Larry Sanders are discussing a possible buyout . . . Veteran forward Jermaine O’Neal announced on Instagram that he is not ready to return to the NBA just yet.