Carmelo Anthony thought Amar'e Stoudemire exit reports were false when first told

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The New York Knicks confirmed today that Amar'e Stoudemire had left the franchise after agreeing to a buyout.

Despite recent rumors and speculation concerning the big man's future at the organization the move still shocked many when announced early on Monday - not least Carmelo Anthony.

Total shock

Speaking today, Melo proclaimed his shock at hearing of his friend's departure from the Knicks - admitting he thought the initial reports where false when first told.

"My reaction when I first heard (about the buyout), which was maybe ten minutes ago, it was hard for me to believe, I thought they were lying about it," explained Anthony.

"Knowing that I'm losing a friend, a teammate, a guy who I wanted to come to the city and play with. One of the main reasons why I'm a New York Knick today was because of him."

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Amar'e Stoudemire leaves the New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony is now the only remaining player from the 'Knicks Tape' roster of 2012-13 but, despite yet another sign that the struggling franchise are in major tank mode, the veteran backed Stoudemire's desire to move on.

"To see him leave, to see the situation and where he's at right now, I know what he wants, and you have to respect that. As an athlete, as a competitor you only want the best for your friends."

What next?

Stoudemire leaves the Knicks in the final year of his five-year, $99.7 million deal and, after clearing waivers through Wednesday, will likely find a number of suitors in free agency.

The Dallas Mavericks are believed to be the early favorites to land the veteran and, with the Mavs currently sitting fifth in the Western Conference, Stoudemire could be about to swap life at the NBA's basement for an assault at the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

As for Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks, they are staring down the barrel of one of the franchise's worst years in recent memory. 

At time of writing they have a 10-43 record. Letting go of the likes of J.R. Smith earlier this year, and now Amar'e Stoudemire, there is no doubt as to their intentions - lose, and lose now in order to improve their chances of a top draft pick this summer.

Melo may still be in shock after saying goodbye to a close friend but Knicks fans will be hoping he has been doing the leg work this All-Star weekend to bring in a few more of his buddies during this summer's free agency.

What do you think Knicks fans? Where does the franchise go from here, and are you sad to see Stoudemire go? Let us know in the comments section below...

New York Knicks
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
Carmelo Anthony

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