`Rock star’ Amare brings his Knicks to Phoenix

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“There’s nothing wrong with that,” Gentry said. “I don’t see anything negative in that. He just felt being here that it was going to be Steve’s team a lot, and I think he felt he would like to have a team that was his, that he was the focal point.”

Still, Stoudemire might have stayed had Suns owner Robert Sarver been willing to guarantee the final two years of a new contract. The long-suffering Knicks, desperate for a big name after failing to land LeBron James, were more than willing to give him the maximum, five-year, $100 million deal with each year guaranteed.

“I can’t be critical of that,” Nash said. “That’s not my money. Obviously, I wanted Amare to stay and I think, maybe foolishly, I thought he would, that somehow we would get an agreement.”

While the Knicks are 20-14 and on the rise, the Suns are 14-19 and have lost 10 of 13. They are 1-6 since they sent leading scorer Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark to Orlando for Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus, Marcin Gortat the Magic’s 2011 first-round draft pick and cash.

Even with the addition of the 6-foot-11 Gortat, the Suns are short on size and overloaded at the wing position.

“We lost an All-Star power forward and didn’t replace him,” Nash said. “We have no real power forward.”

That makes the Suns’ trademark pick-and-roll, so devastating with Nash and Stoudemire, more than problematic and defending Stoudemire nearly impossible.

Nash said he has been impressed with Stoudemire’s performance with the Knicks.

“For me it’s more than points, assists, rebounds,” Nash said. “It’s just the way he has taken on the challenge and fought and won games under a difficult situation.”

Even though he had some sour feelings, Stoudemire said Phoenix always would be his home.

“Oh man, I have so many memories here,” he said, “since I was drafted, since the late, great Cotton Fitzsimmons figured I was the best player the Suns ever drafted,” he said, “to the latest, sweeping the Spurs, all those memories are phenomenal.”

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