New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire is going to work out with all-time great center Hakeem Olajuwon this August, marking the second straight summer STAT will head to Houston to train with the Hall of Famer, according to a report from Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com on Saturday.
Stoudemire will resume learning the finer points of low post offense and defensive movements from Olajuwon, who, according to the report, charges $50,000 for a week of one-on-one work with a player. As Zwerling writes, last summer's areas of emphasis in Stoudemire's workouts with Olajuwon were establishing a major presence on the block -- in-part to help free Tyson Chandler for pick-and-roll opportunities -- and proper offensive spacing on the court with Carmelo Anthony.
Enduring another injury-plagued season in New York, Stoudemire came off the bench in 29 regular season games. Playing in just under 24 minutes a night, Stoudemire averaged 14.2 points per game -- shooting 57.7 percent from the field -- while pulling down five rebounds per contest.
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson, a former teammate of Olajuwon's with the Houston Rockets, first helped set up the training sessions for his forward last year. Olajuwon has also worked with the likes of LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant.
In Zwerling's report, Woodson talked about how, if healthy, Stoudemire could have been a big difference-maker in the playoffs:
"STAT could have really helped us in that area because we had developed him over the summer to give us some low-post scoring. The fact that he just wasn't up, I think, where we needed him to be based on his injuries, that kind of hurt us a little bit."
In the Knicks' Eastern Conference semifinal series loss to the Indiana Pacers, Stoudemire played double-digit minutes only once, averaging 8.3 minutes per game in the postseason. He scored 3.8 points per game against Indiana, grabbing 2.3 boards a night while shooting 38.5 percent from the floor.