As the fire sale in New York continues, the Knicks have made it known that the team is actively shopping Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon, according to an ESPN report. However, moving Amar’e Stoudemire is not in the team’s current plan.
Unless a team secretly covets the offensive game and heart of Amar’e Stoudemire and blows New York away with a deal that won’t eat into next year’s precious cap space, Stoudemire is part of the plan for the rest of the season until the expiration of his contract is April. Is this really a bad thing in all? Not so much.
Jan 4, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks injured power forward Amar
Before taking time off to rest his injury-prone knees, Stoudemire averaged 14 points and six rebounds in 11 games during the month of December. In just under 30 minutes per contest, the offensive numbers are acceptable — even serviceable. The achilles heel of Stoudemire has been, is now and will always be defense, but his improved post game and will to actually want to play in New York during a time where players are questioning the culture of the team and it’s higher ups says plenty about the player he is; the type you want around young players and a winning culture. Ask a few of the Phoenix Suns players who played with him.
Next year, the Knicks will have a hair under $30 million in cap space, that’s without moving Calderon, and will have a lottery pick in the 2015 NBA draft. New York’s plan should be to get the most talent it possibly can with the amount of money the organization will have. This means avoiding placing all the eggs in the Marc Gasol basket and possibly missing out on players like Wesley Matthews, Paul Millsap, Tobias Harris; the list goes on. The pool will be open and it’s up to the Knicks whether they want to sit in the shallow end and wait for free agents to swim to them, which didn’t work well in 2010, or dive in head first and make an immediate splash, signing players that will make a difference in play — not jersey sales.
As far as Amar’e Stoudemire goes, a home discount is certainly in play. For the only team who was willing to pay Stoudemire millions more than anyone else and the player who’s first words in the great city of New York were, “The Knicks are back,” the team deserves some slack. At a reasonable rate minus the scrutiny that comes with signing a max deal, Amar’e Stoudemire can help the Knicks pack a punch on offense next season off the bench.
Dec 5, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; New York Knicks forward Amar
Anywhere from $5-9 million for a multi-year contract for the 32-year-old who plays harder than any Knick this season isn’t much. Plus, for a team that wants to seriously improve the outlook on next season after this year’s train wreck, Stoudemire is great depth in a front court that could hit or miss terribly in that section of the floor. It is also reasonable to think STAT would like to return to New York and continue to fight to bring this team back to prominence, as the original plan stated in 2010.
There is the possibility that a contender will vie for the offense of Stoudemire off the bench and try to persuade him to leave New York for a chance to win; but there is also a chance New York could be a playoff contender next season, depending on the moves made this summer. It comes down to what Amar’e Stoudemire will want to choose. But if the New York Knicks are really trying to build something special here, keeping players within the organization is the way to do it. Keeping a consistent core of players to build around, though Stoudemire is no building block anymore, is always crucial to a teams success. Constant overturn will get a team nowhere, just as we’ve seen the Knicks deal with since the turn of the millennium.
Proven as a leader and offense post scorer — important in the triangle offense — Stoudemire does enough good for the team that his defense can be overlooked at a reasonable deal and role on next years team. The most important question, however, is do the Knicks see the same thing? Seeing that the Knicks aren’t currently looking to deal Stoudemire does. Leaving in the summer and getting nothing in return makes no sense. New York wants to keep Stoudemire around as much as Stoudemire probably wants to be here. It makes sense to keep the big fella around next year. The microscope will ease up if he is on a normal contract in a lesser role, but his heart and determination would play the biggest role on this team next season.