Amar’e Stoudemire returned on Sunday from his hand injury for Game 4 and helped Carmelo Anthony lead the New York Knicks to their first playoff victory since 2001. Both played extremely well and proved they have the ability to defeat any team in this league if they are both playing at their best.
Whether you like the duo of STAT and Melo or not, the Knicks need to figure out how to get them play well together on a regular basis since they are both with the team to stay. The Knicks gave up many pieces to get these superstars together and have them both locked up to long-term deals for huge amounts of money.
Carmelo Anthony’s deal pays him around $41 million over the next few seasons with a $23.5 million player option for the following season. Stoudemire is under contract through 2015 and is set to make around $65 million during those three seasons.
Because of these huge contracts, it will be nearly impossible for the Knicks to move either star and receive equal value in return.
This is especially true for Stoudemire, who now also has a history of getting injured during the playoffs. During the 2005-2006 season, STAT injured his knee and was forced to miss the entire playoffs. The past two seasons with the Knicks he has also gotten injured during the playoffs, hurting his back and then his hand.
There is no team in the league that will be willing to give up any young talent or current superstar for Stoudemire until he proves he can stay healthy for an entire playoffs.
Unless the Knicks want to go through another decade of mediocrity, it is imperative they find a system that will make Stoudemire and Anthony’s skills work together.
Together they will be the cornerstones of the Knicks for the next few seasons, and the team’s success depends on how well they can play as a unit.