Amare Stoudemire will be back in Miami this week, playing in a Big3 league game Friday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Stoudemire last played in the NBA while with the Heat in the 2015-16 season.
The 35-year-old Stoudemire is hoping his time in the Big3 can catch the eye of an NBA team. He won a championship playing in Israel before taking time off last season. He will turn 36 in November.
“Hopefully, I can get with a team before the Big3 ends,” he told Ira Winderman of the Floria Sun-Sentinel. “So, as of right now, I’m showing my athletic ability and the way I move. I think a lot of teams haven’t really seen me play since the last time I played in Israel, so I just want them to see I have great heath and am able to be on that level.
“Once they see how healthy I am and how good I feel, I think teams will be able to sign me at that point.
“I haven’t spoken to the Heat. The Heat is definitely a team I’m highly interested in.”
He believes he’d fit well with the way the NBA is played today.
“Where the game is going, it’s fast paced and a quick game,” he said. “I’m one of the originators at that game and I feel I’m still able to compete at that game.”
Stoudemire, who still has a residence in nearby Southwest Ranches and attended several Heat game last season, has nothing bad to say about his time with Miami.
“No regrets, no sour taste at all,” Stoudemire told Winderman. “I felt great about my time there.”
His teammates on Tri-State in the Big3, coached by the legendary Julius Erving, include former Heat big man Jermaine O’Neal and other former NBA players Bonzi Wells and Nate Robinson.
“I knew the Big3 was about kind of retired players, or players that still wanted to play the game of basketball,” Stoudemire said. “So it gave them the opportunity to stay in shape and still play basketball at somewhat of a higher level.
“And then once I actually got involved with the Big3, I realized that this was a pretty big deal. Everything has that NBA feel to it. So it’s definitely been a surprise.”
After Stoudemire’s last season with the Heat, Miami signed center Hassan Whiteside to a four-year, $98 million deal. With two seasons left on that contract, Whiteside and coach Erik Spoelstra are attempting to find ways to maximize the big man’s effectiveness after he played sharply reduced minutes in the playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers last season. He is expected to remain with Miami this season.
“I think for Hassan,” he told Winderman, “it’s all about him wanting to improve as a player and get better at whatever he’s doing. You can’t be satisfied with the money and the fame; you have to be able to work to become great. And that’s one thing that a lot players don’t understand. You can have amazing potential, but you’re never going to reach that potential unless you put in that work.
“I think for Hassan Whiteside, this summer is a pivotal summer for him to really sharpen up on his skills, get a nice back-to-the-basket game, being able to score when the ball’s thrown to him in the post. That way, traditional bigs can still keep a job.”