(photo credit: REUTERS)
New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire said it would be “great” to play for Hapoel Jerusalem in the future, a club of which he is a part-owner.
When asked by the New York Post if he plans to join his Israeli team after his contract with the Knicks expires at the end of next season, Stoudemire said: “We’ll see. You can’t rule anything out.
The future is unknown and so if I have an opportunity to [play in Israel] and am still in great health, it would be great. I have one more year left on my deal and we’ll go from there.”
Stoudemire is part of the ownership group, headed by Ori Allon, which purchased Hapoel Jerusalem last year.
The six-time NBA all-star is currently averaging 11.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for the Knicks, with one season remaining on his five-year $100 million contract.
Stoudemire claims he has Jewish roots on his mother’s side and has visited Israel in the past. He hopes to travel to the country again for the BSL final in June, assuming Jerusalem qualifies.
Allon believes there is a real chance Stoudemire will ultimately play for Hapoel.
“We’ve discussed it in the past,’’ Allon said. “It would be tremendous and unbelievable but it’s still early. I think it’s a real possibility, but he played very well this season so it’s up to him.’’ Stoudemire also told the Post about his involvement in the decision making process at the club.
“Input is very important, knowing the game and recruiting, knowing players here in America,’’ said Stoudemire. “I get calls from guys who’ve played in the league and want to know about playing for Hapoel. I make a call to the GM and ask him to take a look and see if they fit the brand.”
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