Amar'e Stoudemire
via Keith Allison / CC-BY-2.0

Following news that they had agreed on a buyout over the weekend, Amar’e Stoudemire was officially waived by the New York Knicks on Monday (Feb. 16).

The 32-year-old big man says he’s leaving the Big Apple with a “heavy heart,” and will now, seek an opportunity to join a playoff contender.

“I feel truly blessed to have been able to play for the incredible New York fans, Mr. Dolan, my coaches, teammates and the entire Knicks organization for the past five years,” Stoudemire said in a statement released by the team. “I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to contribute positively on the court and in the community.

“Although I leave the Knicks with a heavy heart, I wish the organization the best of luck. Once a Knick always a Knick.”

The Knicks announced that they have waived Stoudemire Monday, who was in the final year of a five-year, $99.7 million contract he signed back in July 2010.

Stoudemire, who makes $23.4 million this season, is expected to clear waivers on Wednesday (Feb. 18), after which he will become a free agent.

It’s believed that the Dallas Mavericks are the frontrunner. However, word is the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns have also expressed interest.