Cleveland reportedly close to trade for Amare Stoudemire

The balance of power in the NBA may be tilting toward the Eastern Conference, and it has nothing to do with a two-point win in a meaningless All-Star game.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly closing in on a trade in which they would acquire Amare Stoudemire from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Zydrunas Ilgauskas and J.J. Hickson.

If the deal is completed before Thursday’s trading deadline, the 6-foot-11 Stoudemire would provide a high-scoring complement to LeBron James and bolster the team with the best record in the NBA.

After scoring 25 points to help the East secure a 141-139 victory over the West on Sunday night at Cowboys Stadium, James said he did not address the trade rumors with Stoudemire.

“That’s the last thing I wanted to bring up with him,” James said. “He’s one of the premier athletes that we have in our game, but you know, we’ll see if it happens.”

James reportedly would prefer a deal for Washington forward Antawn Jamison, who is averaging 20.5 points and 8.8 rebounds. Stoudemire averages 21.2 points and 8.6 rebounds.

If Cleveland and Phoenix are unable to work out a deal, the Cavaliers reportedly have agreed to acquire Indiana forward Troy Murphy for Ilgauskas and Hickson. The team that picks up Ilgauskas would probably waive him, allowing him to go back to Cleveland in 30 days while providing salary-cap relief.

Friends again?

There were no uncomfortable moments between Chris Kaman and Pau Gasol this weekend after the Clippers center had criticized the selection of the Lakers forward as an All-Star reserve.

They greeted each other and exchanged pleasantries before playing together for the West.

“It wasn’t really awkward,” Gasol said. “We all make comments sometimes that are not very fortunate. He made some comments after the selections were presented and he was lucky that injuries got him in. So he should be happy and thankful to be here just as much as I am.”

Kaman said he wasn’t attacking Gasol last month when he said the forward “shouldn’t be in it at all” after missing 17 games because of injuries. Kaman was not selected as an All-Star reserve but was later added as a replacement for injured Portland guard Brandon Roy.

“I was just saying that I was a little frustrated not being selected and not being on as good of a team but having better numbers and playing more consistently throughout the year,” Kaman said.

Gasol scored 13 points on five-for-nine shooting Sunday and had six rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench. Kaman made two of four shots and finished with four points and three rebounds in 10 minutes.

He’s impressed

Kaman said Cowboys Stadium was the most amazing venue he had experienced besides the National Stadium in Beijing known as the Bird’s Nest.

“This is probably the sickest place in North America for this kind of thing,” Kaman said. “It’s unbelievable.”