LOS ANGELES - Amar'e Stoudemire has his name on the Garden marquee and his image on a Times Square billboard and is showered with chants of "MVP!" But to suggest he doesn't want to share the Broadway spotlight with another star provokes an immediate look of disdain from the Knicks' All-Star starter.
Said Stoudemire, "There's a lot of room in New York for another king."
If the Knicks manage to pull off a trade with the Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony, Stoudemire said he is all for it. The Knicks' co-captain - who finally has gotten out of the shadow cast by two-time MVP Steve Nash, the face of the Phoenix Suns while Stoudemire was there - refutes suggestions that he wouldn't be happy about sharing the stage with another superstar.
"Not at all," he said. "I didn't want to get away from Steve. Steve was a phenomenal player; we have a great relationship. We had a great 1-2 combination, but it just didn't work out from the standpoint of the front office. I have no problem teaming up with other great players because I think that's what it takes to win a championship."
Stoudemire also went on to endorse the idea of adding veteran guard Chauncey Billups, who according to sources would come with Anthony as part of a proposed trade offer in exchange for Raymond Felton.
Stoudemire and Felton have developed a good relationship as co-captains, and Stoudemire was careful to talk about who may go "because you don't want to offend anyone."
But Stoudemire believes the Knicks actually might gain with Billups because "he won championships and knows how to win. You never know; any time you get veteran guys together, you can work everything out. It works itself out."
Stoudemire added of Billups, "They call him Mr. Big Shot for a reason."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers smirked when told there actually is debate in New York about trading for Anthony and whether the Anthony-Stoudemire combination would improve the team. "There's always debate in New York," Rivers said. That'll never go away, even when they get together, if they do."
Rivers then pointed to the summer of 2007, when the Celtics made blockbuster trades to acquire Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join Paul Pierce.
"Listen, we went out and got talent," Rivers said. "I just think the better your players, the better your team if they're all willing to play together."
Stoudemire said his sprained right big toe, which caused him to miss the Knicks' win over the Nets Feb. 12, feels fine and that he went without treatment Friday. He received treatment Saturday and said the toe will have no effect on him in the All-Star Game Sunday night at the Staples Center.
His minutes will be up to Rivers, who will coach the Eastern Conference team.
Stoudemire will start in his sixth All-Star Game and become the first Knick to be introduced as a starter since Patrick Ewing in the 1992 game in Orlando. Ewing also was voted a starter in 1997, but a groin injury forced him to miss the game.
"It matters to the fans,'' he said of his presence among the NBA's stars. "I think they deserve this type of success . . . For me to be in the middle of it is great."
The Dolan family owns