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Amar'e Stoudemire press conference

Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire

Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire Photo Credit: AP

In just about nine hours (it's currently noon) the speculation will be over — The King will have spoken (from Greenwich, Conn., no less).

We'll finally know what's been in LeBron's head the past few weeks when he announces on an hour-long ESPN special dubbed "The Decision" ... his decision.

Did he want to join forces with Team USA teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami to form a "superteam"? Was the glitz of the big city enough to draw him to the Knicks or Nets? Did he like the allure of a ready-made Bulls team where he could still be a top dog? Or did his hometown tug his heart strings hard enough to stay in Cleveland?

Sources tell our own Alan Hahn it's the first option. And who could blame LeBron for wanting to form a younger, more talented version than Boston's Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen?

But until LeBron utters a team at approximately 9:10 p.m., it's all just speculation. So for a little while, we turn our attention to the five-time All Star we know will be suiting up in a Knicks jersey next year, Amar'e Stoudemire (pictured above in his new home with his new digs), who on Monday agreed to a five-year deal worth $99.7 million.

Today is the first day free-agent deals can officially be announced, and in just a matter of moments, the Knicks will introduce the 27-year old out of Cypress Creek High School in Orlando.

Interestingly enough, the Knicks could have had Stoudemire a long time ago, but they chose Nene Hilario (who they traded to Denver) just two spots before Phoenix took Stoudemire in the 2002 draft.

Since then, Amar'e has turned into one of the premier offensive players in the game. He's averaged at least 20 points and eight rebounds in every full season he's played except for his rookie campaign. And his Suns teams made the playoffs five times, advancing as far as the Western Conference Finals twice, including last year's 4-2 loss to the eventual champion Lakers.

Stoudemire also has a long history with Mike D'Antoni, who coached him in Phoenix for five seasons. The two clashed at times, but that apparently is water under the bridge.

To read more about the man himself, click here, and to check out a timeline of his career, hit it here.

Stick here with me, Chris Mascaro, throughout the next hour to catch all the comings and goings of the Amar'e press conference here at Madison Square Garden.

The MSG Network will also have complete coverage beginning at noon.

Pre-game, er, pre-conference: I guess the MSG employees wanted to serenade Stoudemire with New York-centric songs, as they've already played "New York Groove" by Kiss, "New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel, and, of course, "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, on the loudspeakers here at MSG.

They also have his likeness on the video screens around the upper deck, and his self-given acronym nickname S.T.A.T., which stands for Standing Tall And Talented, welcomes everyone into the arena floor.

Even better, though not Amar'e related, are the blue and orange Knicks themed M&M's being served in the media room. O.K., that's enough minutiae for now. More when they bring the man of the hour in for questions, albeit mostly LeBron-related ones.

O.K., one more thing, Spike Lee and Allan Houston are seated next to each other in the front row. They were mentioned by D'Antoni as key cogs in the recruiting process.

12:05 p.m.: Al Trautwig of MSG kicked off the festivities, announcing, among other things, that Stoudemire will wear his customary No. 1 jersey in New York. And with Chris Duhon leaving for Orlando, it didn't even cost him a gold watch.

12:09 p.m.: First on the mic is the Chairman of Cablevision, James Dolan, who described the scene on Monday when he asked Amar'e if he'd be interested in playing for the Knicks over a chess board, and was surprised when Amar'e said yes.

"It takes courage to play where the light shines the brightest," Dolan said in what could have been a veiled shot at LeBron. "It takes great skill to play in the No. 1 market."

12:13 p.m.: Next up was Knicks President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh, who called the Amar'e signing "the first step." He also called Amar'e somebody you "could base your team around."

Surprisingly, Walsh also thanked former team executive and head coach Isiah Thomas for helping in the recruiting process with Stoudemire. Thomas also reportedly took a trip to Ohio in an attempt to lure LeBron to the big apple.

12:16 p.m.: Coach Mike D'Antoni was brief. His most poignant was something Knicks fans have been yearning for.

"Amar'e," he said. "Let's see if we can win as many games here as we did in Phoenix."

12:20 p.m.: Amar'e said one of the reasons he came here was for "the challenge" and the challenge of "bringing the Knicks back to where they belong atop the NBA."

12:21 p.m.: And we've got our first LeBron question. Amar'e gave no inkling he knew anything about The King's decision, only wishing him good luck in the process.

12:30 p.m.: When asked what it would be like playing without Steve Nash, his teammate in Phoenix the last six years, Stoudemire responded, "Playing with Steve was great, we had great times. We had a phenomenal ride in Phoenix. It's all about making your teammates better."

12:32 p.m.: And with Trautwig again welcoming Stoudemire to MSG, that's the conclusion of today's program. Be sure to check back on this blog and here on the Knicks portion of Newsday.com for up-to-the-second updates on LeBron, Amar'e and the rest of free agency.

Thanks to all for coming out this afternoon. Have a great day!

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