Amar'e, Knicks take on Howard, new-look Magic

Magic center Dwight Howard, right, goes up for Magic center Dwight Howard, right, goes up for a shot around Boston's Shaquille O'Neal during the first half of a game in Orlando, Fla. (Dec. 25, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

ORLANDO - Amar'e Stoudemire had yet to see a replay of his dunk on LeBron James - a rare facial against The King - from Tuesday's loss in Miami, but he expects he'll see the image soon enough.

"I'm pretty sure the fans that always stand outside for autographs will have that poster soon for me to sign," Stoudemire said with a grin.

He might prefer to instead sign off on a trade for a high-quality big man, such as Marcus Camby, whose presence would allow Stoudemire to move back to his more natural position at power forward. But while the Knicks, according to an NBA source, are keeping close watch on Camby's availability now that the injury-plagued Trail Blazers are at a crossroads, the Orlando Magic reportedly also are angling to land the veteran shot-blocker to back up Dwight Howard.

Magic general manager Otis Smith is in the midst of a massive midseason rebuild motivated by the fact that Orlando - before the Dec. 19 trades that brought in Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson - had fallen well below a championship-contending level. Like Chris Paul and Deron Williams, Howard can opt out of his contract in 2012 and the Magic don't want to get into a situation like the Cavaliers, Raptors or Nuggets.

Sure the Knicks would love to entertain the idea of a Howard-Stoudemire frontcourt, but Stoudemire sees no reason for it.

"They pretty much gave Dwight whatever he wants here," he said after the Knicks' practice Wednesday at the new Amway Center. "This is his team and he has a great opportunity here. I don't see any reason why he would want to leave."

Would it mean anything special for Stoudemire, who spent most of his teenage life in Central Florida, to perhaps one day play in his hometown? "I don't believe in magic," Stoudemire quickly replied. "Sorry."

He also apparently doesn't believe much in Howard's post game, despite being under the tutelage of former Knick Patrick Ewing and also getting summer help from Hakeem Olajuwon.

"He's definitely a physical specimen down there in the post," Stoudemire said. "He's a great defensive player. Offensively, he's a little limited, so we're going to use that to our advantage."

But Stoudemire has been susceptible to foul trouble, so defending Howard is still a dangerous assignment for the Knicks' most important player. Both teams run very similar systems, with one inside player surrounded by perimeter shooters to punish collapsing defenses. The idea is to force Howard to get the ball away from the basket because, as Stoudemire said, "Once he gets the ball in the paint, then he's tough to guard."

Notes & quotes: As reported by CBSSports.com, Timberwolves GM David Kahn has talked with Donnie Walsh about the availability of Anthony Randolph, who has played sparingly under D'Antoni this season. The Knicks would entertain a discussion that involved guard Luke Ridnour or a first-round pick, but not Sebastian Telfair.

Subscribe to Newsday’s sports newsletter for stories, photos and videos about your favorite New York teams plus national sports news and events.

You also may be interested in: