The New York Knicks are going to have a hard time finding a spot for Amar'e Stoudemire when he returns from injury, and the recently surfaced report that the team did everything in its power to trade him did not help this process.
The New York Times' Howard Beck dropped this bombshell on the public:
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.
I'm not blaming the Knicks for shopping Stoudemire, but I'm also not blaming every other team for politely refusing the advances. Stoudemire is an injury-plagued player whose best days are behind him, and he has a giant contract.
However, perhaps the Knicks could have been more subtle about this?
It is always rough for a player to return when he knows the team has been shopping him. This becomes only more complicated when it involves the kind of ego that Stoudemire has earned during his fabulous career.
Well, now Amar'e finally appears to be on the verge of returning from his recent bout with knee woes. Although, "appears" is the key word there. There is no timetable set for his return.
Newsday's Al Iannazzone hit us with this update:
Amar'e Stoudemire won't play tomorrow, Woodson said. He may not play on the trip either, Woodson said.— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) December 22, 2012
The question now turns to: What are the 19-7 Knicks going to do with him?
When Amar'e last played, the Knicks were a struggling group of mismatched talent. After a few offseason moves towards cohesion, all of a sudden the Knicks have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. Carmelo Anthony is having an MVP-caliber season, and it is clear that the offense should be flowing through, and revolving around, him.
This is all going to leave Stoudemire a far smaller offensive role than he is used to.
Amar'e can still be a big boost to the Knicks. They can use his rebounding, and his scoring ability will come in handy, especially when Anthony is not on the court.
However, for this to happen, Stoudemire is going to have to buy into his new role and believe in this team.
Is Stoudemire going to be anxious to do this for a team that was trying to give him away for "free"?
Those efforts are going to chip away at Stoudemire's desire to be all-in for the Knicks, and that will make it even more difficult for the Knicks to find a useful role for him.