Amar’e Stoudemire on Tyson Chandler helping the Knicks defense: “It’s still a challenge. It’s nothing that is going to happen overnight.”December 14, 2011 – 6:15 am by Steven Cuce
In the summer of 2010, Amar’e Stoudemire signed with the Knicks and became the face of the new revival in the Empire State. In his first season with New York, Stoudemire averaged 25.3 points per game as he carried the Knicks out of obscurity. As Carmelo Anthony forced his way out of Denver and into Madison Square Garden during the NBA trade deadline, the Knicks were beginning to form the team they had envisioned after a decade long drought of poor front office decisions and cap management.
With all the talk of Chris Paul coming to New York after a wedding toast made at Carmelo Anthony’s wedding, Knicks interim general manager, Glen Grunwald, acquired Tyson Chandler from the Dallas Mavericks in a sign-and-trade. Stoudemire now has the big man down low that can take the load off him defensively in an area of the game where the Knicks have struggled massively.
Will the acquisition of Tyson Chandler move New York up the Eastern Conference hierarchy? Nothing is a guarantee, but for the first time in a decade the time is now for the Knicks as there will be no more waiting for a future superstar next year.
Amar’e Stoudemire joined ESPN New York with Ruocco and Lundberg to discuss the acquisition of Tyson Chandler bolstering the New York Knicks defense, where the Knicks now stack up in the Eastern Conference hierarchy, Chauncey Billups being put on amnesty waivers and his confidence in the duo of Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby to step up in place of Chauncey Billups this season.
With the acquisition of Tyson Chandler you guys have a new presence back there. Do you think all that chatter about defense and rebounding will stop because of it?
“Well listen man it’s still a challenge for us. It’s nothing that is going to happen overnight. Tyson is a phenomenal player on both ends of the court. He brings tenacity on the defensive end, but it’s something that us as a team and every player has to take that challenge upon and really try to manifest that plan, so that’s what we just gotta keep working on.”
Now you guys have a formidable front line with you, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. Where do you think that stacks you up in the Eastern Conference with maybe an aging Boston team and those guys down in Miami as well?
“Hey man we are here to compete. It’s going to be an incredible season with what our plans are. Our plan is to win a championship and that’s our plans, so with those teams, the Boston’s, the Miami’s, and the Chicago’s of the world. They are phenomenal teams also. It’s going to be an incredible challenge.”
In order to bring Tyson Chandler in the team had to amnesty Chauncey Billups. Was that a tough loss for you guys?
“It was. Chauncey Billups was a friend of ours. I have been playing with him in the World Games and first time really playing in a season with him last year. But again it is a business, so we got something that we can’t control.”
How about the point guard situation with Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby? What is your confidence level with those guys?
“Our confidence is very high in those guys. Mike has been phenomenal his whole career. Toney did a phenomenal job last year when Chauncey Billups went out with the injury. The guys are really working extremely hard in practice, so I feel highly [confident] with those guys.”
Listen to Amar’e Stoudemire on 1050 ESPN New York here [Audio begins at the 12:00 minute mark of the podcast]