Would it be best to get rid of Amar'e Stoudemire even if he's healthy and plays well? It's a simple question that has been on the mind of New York Knicks fans since the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony. The question became an even more pressing and prominent one when Stoudemire imploded in the playoffs last season. So, is his chance up?
The first part of the question is already in jeopardy as ESPN has reported Stoudemire will miss two to three weeks with a ruptured cyst behind his left knee. So, the whole idea of having him healthy has already taken a hit. However, its an 82-game season, as opposed to last year, so this form of small injury is far from making or breaking a season.
However, having Stoudemire healthy and playing for the remainder of the season would not be any form of guarantee that he will remain so. STAT has been plagued with various injuries to his knees, neck and hand throughout his career. The Phoenix Suns are renowned for having the best training and medical staff in the league, and there's nothing they could do to keep Stoudemire healthy.
Should New York keep Stoudemire?
The reason this is relevant is in terms of returns. The Knicks may want to trade their power forward at some point in the future, but that will only happen if they can get valuable pieces in return. That goes through convincing everyone that Stoudemire's body will hold up, which won't be an easy task.
However, if Stoudemire can return to the player he once was, there will certainly be a team willing to take a chance on him. Fortunately for New York, it seems that scenario is still a possibility. Stoudemire can still rain the mid-range jumpers, has strength inside and has worked on his interior post moves.
The set of skills is there. The past performances are there. Can it be there with Carmelo though? Since Melo's arrival at MSG, Stoudemire simply hasn't been the same and hasn't been able to gel with what is perhaps the most skilled offensive player in the world. Melo's success at the power forward position during Stoudemire's absence certainly didn't help things either.
Let's say he figures it out, though. Let's say he finds a way to be effective on both ends of the floor while leaving room for Melo. Let's say the chemistry with Raymond Felton is still there and he simply needed a point guard better suited to his needs. What then? Do the Knicks jump on the chance to get rid of him?
In his first season in New York, Stoudemire set a franchise record with nine consecutive games with a minimum of 30 points. He finished the season with 25.3 points per game as well as nine rebounds. His combination of inside presence and outside shot had him at the top of the list in terms of power forwards.
At this point in time, it seems his contract was excessive, however, his chance isn't over. He did it once, and he can do it again.
If he lives up to his contract this season, it will be as a return to form, not a fluke reemergence. His past performances weren't a matter of luck, they were a matter of having a player with immense skill in the right position. There would be absolutely no reason to let that go, especially considering the lack of movable pieces worth replacing him with.