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Free agency concerns already looming

Here's where it starts to get nerve-wracking if you're the Knicks. Or a Knicks fan. Consider that more people in the NBA believe there is a greater chance that Joe Johnson stays in Atlanta than LeBron James stays in Cleveland.

Super Joe and King James are still expected to be on the market come July 1, but already the Knicks offseason rebuilding plans have taken a hit from Marcus Camby's decision to sign a two year extension to remain with the Portland Trail Blazers.

And now there's a report from Sam Amick that quotes a source close to Amar'e Stoudemire that says the Suns are "getting closer" to the kind of contract extension offer he's looking for.

If Stoudemire is no longer in play, that would be another hit. I checked in on things with Camp Stoudemire on Saturday and his agent, Happy Walters, told me that "Nothing will happen or even be discussed until the playoffs are over" because Stoudemire "is 100 percent focused on winning."

The Suns are tied 2-2 with the Portland Trail Blazers.

As we've told you before, Johnson and Stoudemire are friends and would consider reuniting in New York with Mike D'Antoni. But Johnson would certainly be leaving money on the table in Atlanta -- the Hawks are certain to offer the full Bird Rights max -- and so would Stoudemire if the Suns ante up with a full max, as well. Stoudemire also wouldn't want to play center, so he'd want to see the Knicks sign a legit five-man. Camby would have been a perfect guy, but now the Knicks will need to perhaps look toward the likes of Brendan Haywood to play next to Stoudemire.

Of course there still is the outside chance LeBron is in a New York State of Mind. And perhaps Dwyane Wade is tired of carrying the Heat by himself and would consider a fresh start in the Big Apple. And if the Knicks can find a way to pull off a sign-and-trade for Chris Bosh, perhaps that gets the ball rolling like the Ray Allen trade did for the Celtics in 2007. Yeah, that's optimism, Fixers.

Pessimism is the belief that Stoudemire stays, which makes Bosh a much more sought after free agent. Several teams with cap space are looking for a high end big -- the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls and perhaps even the Oklahoma City Thunder -- and there will be several sign-and-trade scenarios for Bryan Colangelo to consider.

Damn, is it really still only April?

New York Sports