GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Amar'e Stoudemire was in no mood to make any recruiting pitches. If anything, the power forward has only one prerequisite of any player the Knicks add via free agency: Be in shape and ready to play.
So despite mutual interest between guard Baron Davis and the front office, Stoudemire suggested that his preference would be to pass on the 32-year-old, who has a lower- back injury.
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"This guy's out for eight to 10 weeks, he's not our concern at all,'' Stoudemire said of Davis, who was waived by the Cavaliers on Wednesday. "We can't do anything about his injury. Right now we can't afford to have any setbacks. We have a positive thing going. We feel great about our guys. Everybody's healthy, so we've just got to keep it going.''
Davis has until Friday night to clear waivers, and if a team does not put in a bid for him, the Knicks could attempt to sign him now. Or they could wait until he has recovered from the back injury, which his agent projected could take more than two months.
With the $2.5-million "room exception'' now burning a hole in Glen Grunwald's pocket after the Knicks lost out on yet another free agent -- forward Shawne Williams opted to take more money from the Nets -- the next notable free-agent target for the Knicks is veteran sharpshooter Michael Redd.
Though he is well-known for his shooting prowess, there is some risk with Redd because he is attempting to come back from major knee surgery. He missed 14 months before returning to the lineup with the Bucks late last March. He appeared in the final 10 games of the season, averaging only 4.4 points and shooting only 23.5 percent from three-point range.
Grunwald started off the free-agency period with a dazzling move to land center Tyson Chandler, but since then, the magic has fizzled. With the start of the regular season only nine days away, the list of available free agents gets thinner and thinner.
Williams, 25, who had a career renaissance last season with the Knicks, accepted a two-year, $6.1-million contract from the Nets Thursday. The Knicks initially offered Williams a one-year veteran's-minimum deal, but when Williams started leaning toward the Nets, they followed up by offering a two-year deal with the "room exception'' of $5 million.
Williams said in April that his intention was to re-sign with the Knicks regardless of the money. But that changed when the Nets came in not only offering more money and the security of an extra guaranteed year, but also the opportunity to earn a starting role.
"Shawne made a decision that was best for him and his family, as far as I'm concerned,'' said Stoudemire, who shares the same agent with Williams. "We have a solid team with what we have now. We feel comfortable with the roster.''
"We're solid,'' Carmelo Anthony said, adding, "I think if we do what we gotta do, we're definitely one of the teams to beat in the East . . . I'm very confident in this team we have right now.''
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