LeBron James gets Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire on same team at charity game
BY Frank Isola
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Monday, October 10th 2011, 4:00 AM
J Pat Carter/APKnicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire throws one down at Isiah Thomas' charity game. Related NewsNBA stars come out for Isiah, charityAmar'e looks fine in Isiah star-festShort stay in playoffs for KnicksLawrence: Amar'e, Melo no can duoCeltics push Knicks to brink, 113-96Amar'e will play, but not at 100 percent
MIAMI - LeBron James started it 15 months ago at Carmelo Anthony's wedding when he advised the soon-to-be Knick that Anthony and Chris Paul should join forces with Amar'e Stoudemire in New York. That partnership, according to James, would give the trio their best chance of competing for an NBA championship.
So when it came time to pick teams for the South Florida All-Star Classics here on Saturday, James had an easy choice to make.
"Do you think Knick fans liked that?" Anthony asked. "I'm sure they did. I liked it."
James gave Stoudemire, Anthony and Paul the opportunity to be teammates for one night at least. That the game was played at Florida International University and with Isiah Thomas in the building is no coincidence because Thomas, according to sources, helped the Knicks obtain both Stoudemire and Anthony and is working behind the scenes to bring Paul to New York as well.
Thomas, the coach at FIU, was instrumental in bringing Saturday's game to the FIU campus and he seemed to have a hand in every aspect of the event. Proceeds from it were directed to Mary's Court, an educational foundation named after his late mother. Thomas and his wife, Lynn, sat courtside while their son, Joshua, a New York-based disc jockey, provided the music.
The event was important for the Knicks because it marked the first time since April that Stoudemire had played in a competitive game. Stoudemire, who suffered a back injury prior to Game 2 against Boston, is probably a few weeks away from regaining his top form. But the fact that he's playing again is an encouraging development.
"I thought he looked great," Anthony said.
Stoudemire has been a regular on the FIU campus, working out with Thomas' players and even attending classes with them. He even has a new nickname, "Renaissance Man," which is what Thomas called Stoudemire on Saturday.
No one knows what title to give Thomas, who remains close friends with Garden chairman James Dolan and says he'll always root for the Knicks. Thomas is probably something between the de facto general manager and an unpaid adviser.
When asked about the Knicks' chances for the upcoming season, he agreed that Stoudemire and Anthony are the right building blocks.
"I think they have a chance to be extremely successful," Thomas said. "Both of those men, Carmelo and Stoudemire even with Chauncey (Billups), their mentality is they want to win. Carmelo's won in college. He understands how to win. They're tough enough to go out and win and win big and have big moments in playoff situations."
Billups is the one proven winner on the team, but he has an expiring contract, which many teams covet. For the Knicks to have a shot to trade for Paul, they'll likely have to use Billups in a potential deal.
Under that scenario, the Knicks would have exactly what Miami has: three All-Stars and a legitimate chance to make a title run.
"With the talent of (Dwyane) Wade, James and (Chris) Bosh, if that's the model, it's going to be pretty tough for a lot of teams to (deal) with," Thomas said.