That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone and puts the Knicks in quite a bind in terms of salary cap flexibility this summer.
By exercising his player option, Bargnani will make $11.5 million this season, a salary he wouldn’t have come close to earning had he elected to opt out and test the open market.
During his first season in New York, Bargnani only appeared in 42 games, averaging 13.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 29.9 minutes per game.
Yet, the Knicks played much better without him in the lineup.
They were 15-27 when he was healthy, versus going 22-18 after he suffered a season-ending elbow injury. The Knicks also scored 6.8 points more per 100 possessions when Bargnani was on the bench compared to when he was on the court. Throw in the fact that they gave up less points per 100 possessions when Bargnani wasn’t on the court and it is fair to say that last season’s trade too net Bargnani was a total bust.
As for Stoudemire, he would have been a fool not to exercise his option and remain in New York, especially since it will pay him $23.4 million.
This will be the fifth and final season of a five-year, $100 million deal with the Knicks as a free agent in the summer of 2010.
STAT was a perennial All-Star when he signed the deal but injuries have led to a dramatic drop in production.
Stoudemire managed to stay relatively healthy last, averaging 11.9 points and 4.9 rebounds on 55.7 percent shooting in 65 appearances. However he had to do so with a serious minutes restriction all season, something we will likely see again this upcoming season.