The Knicks, despite losing three of their last five games, have looked phenomenal. They are currently ranked first in the Atlantic Division, and they are third in East behind the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets. Another thing to note: they’re achieving all of this success without one of their star players—Amar’e Stoudemire.
Although they are playing well without Stoudemire, it is paramount for their long term success that they figure out a way to make him a weapon when he returns. ESPN New York reports that Amar’e plans on returning later this December, but even head coach Mike Woodson is rather cryptic in regards to whether Amar’e will even be a starter when he returns.
In the same article, it is indicated that despite a documented losing record with Amar’e in the lineup, the Knicks were an impressive 6-1 when Stoudemire was in the lineup along with Carmelo and former Knick, Jeremy Lin of “Linsanity” fame.
The fact remains that Amar’e is coming off yet another surgery, his numbers were down last season and he still has three years left on his massive contract (worth over $99.7 million). These aforementioned variables mean that Amar’e is too much of a risk for any team in the league to take the risk of clogging up their cap space for an injury-riddled vet who turned 30 this month.
Although on paper that is what most executives consider when doing a risk assessment, it doesn’t necessarily mean Amar’e won’t come back in dominant form. He has had knee problems in the past, and he’s demonstrated to be resilient in bouncing back from such troubles, but it doesn’t mean that league executives are still convinced he can do it again.
As a result, the Knicks front office may not be able to move him, so it means the Knicks are stuck with him. Does that mean that this is a bad thing for the Knicks?
In short, no. Not at all.
Amar’e is still one of the league’s better forwards, and whether he has to adapt to a different role or change his playing style, there is no doubt that he makes the Knicks a better team.
Still skeptical? Then let’s examine why despite the aforementioned knocks against him, Amar’e still makes the Knicks a solid squad and legitimate title contender.