Maybe the Phoenix Suns knew exactly what they were doing after letting Amar’e Stoudemire walk without putting up much of a fight, offering him only a two-year deal. We now see why they were hesitant to offer him a big deal. In year number three of a five-year deal with the New York Knicks, Stoudemire is going have a second knee surgery and going to miss another huge chunk of the season.
Stoudemire has only played in 29 games this season. He hasn’t been the same $100 million player the Knicks signed him for in 2010, but he was efficient scoring 14 points a game with a field goal percentage of 57 percent.
Amar’e gave the Knicks a down low post presence they needed. With Stoudemire out, players like Kenyon Martin and Marcus Camby are going have to really step it up from role players off the bench to key contributors down the stretch and into the postseason.
Where does this leave the Knicks for the future? Stoudemire is owed $45 million over the next two seasons. With the condition of both his knees, it’s very hard to imagine STAT being a productive player with that price tag or even on the court at this point. Carmelo Anthony is great, but it’s very hard to ask a superstar to win all by himself. Kobe Bryant had Shaq and Pau Gasol, Dwyane Wade had Shaq, LeBron had Wade and Chris Bosh, and etc.
No one is going to trade for Amar’e. With the money he is owed and his health, trading him is straight out unrealistic. I think Knicks’ owner James Dolan needs to swallow the contract and buy out Amar’e. It’s going to burn on both sides: Amar’e loves New York and was the first one to come here and the Knicks obviously envisioned him as a huge piece to a championship puzzle, but it just isn’t working on anymore.
That leaves the Knicks to dive back into the free agent market. The obvious name that will come up is Josh Smith. Smith is extremely athletic and hasn’t had major health problems. I can see him and Chandler working well next to each other and dominating the paint on defense. Another great big man available might be Paul Millsap, who is as underrated as they come when it comes to big men. David West may also be available, who is playing well in Indiana and can spread the floor with this shooting ability.
Two huge names who have expiring contracts this offseason are Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Paul did not sign an extension, but it is widely believed he did too to get the biggest contract he could with the Los Angeles Clippers after the season. Paul has been linked to the Knicks for a while because of his close friendship with Anthony.
If CP3 hits the open market and the Knicks have the room, you go after him. No question about it. Howard on the other hand, I would not give a max deal too. He and Tyson Chandler would not work well together and Howard has just been a big baby these last two and a half years. He’s just doesn’t have the winning attitude for a big man, especially in New York.
The Amar’e situation sucks in general. It hurts the fan base, the team, and the entire organization. The job for Knicks management is to build a winner now and for the future. With Stoudemire’s health and contract, it is going to be very hard and interesting to see what they do.