Many were wondering where 30-year-old forward Amar'e Stoudemire would fit into a well-defined New York Knicks lineup when he returned, but apparently the team's front office decided over the offseason that he wouldn't.
According to Howard Beck of The New York Times, his team tried to trade him to several teams over the summer.
This past summer, the Knicks offered Stoudemire to nearly every team in the league — “available for free,” as one rival executive put it. But they found no takers because of his diminished production, his health and his contract, which has three years and $65 million remaining (counting this season) and which is uninsured against a career-ending knee injury.
Beck stated in his article that among the most serious talks were those with the Toronto Raptors, as the Knicks tried to send Stoudemire north of the border for Andrea Bargnani.
However, arguably the most surprising concept in Beck's report is that New York made a push to package Stoudemire and center Tyson Chandler in a deal for Dwight Howard. Such a move would've made a huge splash across the league, arguably as big as the one D12 made when he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
But the real meat of this whole concept is that the Knicks are obviously ready to move on without their former franchise player. The man who single-handedly brought the once-diminished organization from irrelevance back into the spotlight is now expendable.
Upon Carmelo Anthony's arrival in the Big Apple, many hoped his partnership with Stoudemire would be the start of a "Big Three" that would rival the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference for years to come.
Instead, the Knicks have gone 30-36 in games in which Anthony and Stoudemire have both played, while the team has excelled with Anthony as the obvious centerpiece and a plethora of players who know their role around him.
With a massive contract, it's hard to imagine Stoudemire as a role player or a bench player on this new-look Knicks roster. But with a settled lineup and players executing their jobs perfectly this season, that might be all his responsibilities will be upon his return.
Perhaps a completely healthy Stoudemire would push this Knicks team even further on their quest for a NBA title, but the reality is he's far from healthy. Both he and the organization are going to have to realize his diminished role if he is to have a future in New York.
If they can't, then they better keep looking for suitors to take on that massive contract.