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Nash says Stoudemire will flourish with Knicks

HARRISON, N.J. - If anyone knows Amar'e Stoudemire, the newest Knick, it's former teammate Steve Nash.

Nash, who was on hand to watch the Red Bulls play D.C. United in an MLS match last night at Red Bull Arena, talked glowingly of his former running mate. "New York's going to love Amar'e," he said. "He's as exciting as they come."

Nash was instrumental in Stoudemire's growth as a player. But he insisted Stoudemire will be able to flourish on his own. "I think he'll love it," he said. "This city can eat people up. I think he'll take it all on and enjoy it."

Losing Stoudemire is painful for Nash, who said the two got along well. "Obviously, we had a great relationship and a connectivity on the court," Nash said. "Our kids play together and I'm sad to see him go. But New York's going to love him."

Much was made of the relationship between Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni and Stoudemire, particularly its reported deterioration toward the end of D'Antoni's run as Suns coach.

"I think that's overblown," Nash said. "Maybe they had a moment or two of disagreement, but overall, Mike and Amar'e had a great relationship. Mike and Amar'e know each other so well, [there is] not going to be a transition period. They'll be flying out the gates."

Fisher meets with Riley

Guard Derek Fisher, part of all five Lakers championships in the Kobe Bryant era, met with Heat president Pat Riley . . . Workers began dismantling a 10-story-tall iconic image of LeBron James on a mural in downtown Cleveland . . . The Nets reached a three-year, $10-million contract agreement with center Johan Petro, who will back up Brook Lopez . . . The Magic plans to take "the full seven days" to decide whether to match a three-year, $19-million offer sheet the Bulls gave restricted free agent J.J. Redick.

- AP


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