The rumors that were first addressed in the Fanposts and extended amongst today's sloth bears appear to be true. Because Amar'e Stoudemire's precarious knee and eye situations are uninsurable, the Knicks are requesting that he not report to the US national team that will participate in the world championships in Turkey. Howard Beck has the details:
"There’s too big a risk out there," said the team president, Donnie Walsh.
Stoudemire was expected to be a featured player for the United States at the world championships in Turkey next month. The team began practicing Tuesday in Las Vegas.
In general, N.B.A. players do not need team permission to play for their national teams. But the N.B.A. grants teams the right to forbid a player from competing if his contract is uninsurable.
Walsh said he informed Stoudemire of the decision on Monday. Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters, declined to comment.
I'm not really sure how to take this. Stoudemire is likely pretty bummed about not getting to represent his country, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's a little miffed at the Knicks for keeping him on lockdown. At the same time, I can understand why Donnie Walsh and company are hesitant to let their $100 million uninsured investment run the risk of injury before he ever sports the orange and blue. Withholding a guy from international play isn't unusual at all, but this won't make Knicks fans any more comfortable with Stoudemire and his contract. Ultimately, this isn't a big deal, but it'll be interesting to see how Amar'e and his camp react to this development.