Harrellson: Knicks are 'special to me'

After one of the Knicks' preseason games last year at MSG, Josh Harrellson, an avid hunter, asked Amar'e Stoudemire where they could go hunting during the season.

Stoudemire replied, "South Florida." A half-amused, half-confused Harrellson asked Stoudemire, "What can we hunt in South Florida?" Stoudemire replied, "We're hunting D-Wade and LeBron."

Now, more than a year later, Harrellson is part of the prey as a member of the Heat.

"It's weird," he said before the Knicks-Heat game Friday night. "This is my first home, so the Knicks always have a place special to me for giving my first opportunity in the NBA."

Harrellson had planned to play with the Knicks during the Las Vegas summer league, but a few days before games tipped off, he was traded to the Rockets in the Marcus Camby deal. A month later, he was waived by Houston, and then a month after that, the Heat signed him.

He said the three-month-long process was surreal.

"It was definitely quick," he said. "When I found out I got traded, it was right before summer league, so I had to go to Houston. ... I didn't know anybody in Houston besides my former (Knicks) teammates, which are still good friends of mine.

"I was really excited to be able to play with those guys and then I got cut, so it was definitely an awkward moment not knowing where I was going to be, not knowing if I was going to be playing. ... And then I went to Miami, one of three or four teams I was actually thinking about going to, and they liked what they saw and I made the cut. So it worked out."

Now that Harrellson has had about six weeks to get a taste of the Heat's culture, he said there haven't been any major differences from what he experienced last season in New York. He called both organizations "first class."

"Both teams are competitors, both coaches are great, smart coaches, and they know how to prepare you," he said. "I've got a lot of great veterans on this team, and same with the Knicks last year."

Reflecting on last season in New York, his first in the NBA, here's what Harrellson had to say about his favorite memories:

"Getting to know the guys, having a brotherhood. I just went over to see the guys now. They're still happy to see me and stuff. They're definitely still good friends of mine, even though a lot of the other guys have left as well. But great times in the season, obviously winning the first playoff game since 2004, so that was definitely exciting."

A lot of the excitement came in the form of Linsanity, and Harrellson said he and Jeremy Lin still remain close friends.

"Jeremy adjusted well when the whole Linsanity and stuff happened last year, and I think he'll do the same thing down in Houston," he said. "He'll adjust to it, he'll make whatever changes he has to. He's a very, very smart kid, and he just has that natural knack for basketball. He picks up things easily."

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