Amar'e Stoudemire won't be with the New York Knicks when they begin the preseason this week, per Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk. However, Stoudemire thinks he might be ready for the regular-season opener on Oct. 30.
Al Iannazzone of Newsday shared a comment from Stoudemire on his impending return from offseason knee surgery, which is his third in 12 months.
Amar'e said it's possible he will play in the season opener Oct. 30 and he believes he can dominate again.— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) October 8, 2013
Knicks fans have heard this from Stoudemire before, but they're still waiting to see the power forward dominate at Madison Square Garden. He turns 31 on Nov. 16 and his knees aren't getting any better, leading to discussion of limiting his minutes.
This offseason—reportedly even before Stoudemire's most recent knee surgery—his agent, Happy Walters, told Marc Berman of the New York Post that there were discussions about Knicks coach Mike Woodson limiting Stoudemire to 20 minutes a night. Which begs the question, how can Stoudemire "dominate" if he's going to be a backup to Andrea Bargnani?
First things first, he needs to get back on the floor. Stoudemire is just starting to get into basketball shape, and Mitchell Abramson of the New York Daily News shared an update on Tuesday afternoon:
#Knicks Amare Stoudemire says he hopes to be back for some preseason games and start of regular season, did some light running in practice.— Mitchell Abramson (@nydnmabramson) October 8, 2013
#Knicks Amare Stoudemire said today's practice "was hardest by far. running part same but more basketball work, more explosiveness.”— Mitchell Abramson (@nydnmabramson) October 8, 2013
He's currently in the fourth year of a five-year, $100 million contract he signed with the Knicks in 2010, but has hardly lived up to his billing. He's played in 154 of 230 possible games for New York since then, including just 29 last year.
If Stoudemire settles into a bench-player role this season while getting paid nearly $22 million this year, he's going to be an easy target for criticism. If he can't stay healthy, things will be even worse for Stoudemire in the court of public opinion.