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The Starting 5: Amar’e Stoudemire’s journey to Israel

FILE - In this March 28, 2016, file photo, Miami Heat forward Amar'e Stoudemire shoots during warmups before the Heat met the Brooklyn Nets in an NBA basketball game, in Miami. After retiring from the NBA on July 26, Stoudemire signed a two-year contract Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, to play for Israeli team Hapoel Jerusalem. Stoudemire says it was a very emotional decision for him and his family. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper, File)
AP Photo/Joe Skipper, File

The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet

1. “Ex-NBA star’s faith leads to personal promised land” – Mike Smith of The Times of Israel

Amar’e Stoudemire’s career tailed off in a disappointing manner before he turned 30 years old. However, it seems he’s found his niche playing professional ball in Jerusalem.

Smith chronicles Stoudemire’s unique journey to Israel, as well as the context leading up to and including his first game as a member of Hapoel Jerusalem.

2. “Optimism the current buzz word around NBA labor talks” – Jon Krawczynski and Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press

Nobody wants another lockout. The NBA offseason is already too long for most hoop heads (if you’re reading this, you probably qualify), and most of us remember just how difficult it was just five years ago when we were cheated out of two whole months of basketball.

Thankfully, it doesn’t look like a lockout is going to happen again. Krawczynski and Reynolds report the buzz they’ve been hearing from around the league here, and all signs are that both the players and league executives are eager to get a new labor deal done, possibly before the current one expires in December.

3. “NBA teams riddled with preseason injuries to star players” – AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today

I think we can all agree that injuries to key players during the preseason are pretty much the worst. Teams are simply in warm-up mode, playing their stars limited minutes and not requiring them to go full-bore.

Even so, injuries still happen, and there have been some major ones already in the past few weeks. Neuharth-Keusch breaks down the five big injuries from the preseason thus far, and ranks them in terms of how much they impact their respective teams.

4. “Strength and weakness for every NBA team: even Cavs, Warriors have flaws” – CBS Sports Staff

This piece by the CBS Sports Staff is one of those league-wide primers that everyone who has some gaps in their NBA knowledge (so, everyone) should read. It’s important to know what each team’s bread-and-butter is, as well as the area that they could use work in.

Some of the strengths and weaknesses are obvious (the Rockets are good on offense and bad at defense, the Knicks should be worried about injury histories and depth) and others are a little bit more below-the-surface. Be sure to read through the entire piece.

5. “5 NBA teams that need to make a trade as soon as possible” – Andrew Lynch of FOX Sports

The road to title contention usually includes at least one major trade. It’s pretty rare for a team to build the right mix of assets from the draft and free agency without getting imbalances at certain positions or overlapping playing styles.

Lynch outlines five non-title contenders who could improve themselves by swapping some value to other squads around the league. It’s a solid list, though I probably would’ve added the Orlando Magic and their glut of frontcourt players to the group.

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