And now, they're not even being kind to each other.
Stoudemire is the most recent Knick to call out Woodson, following Tyson Chandler's not-so-cryptic critique of the Knicks's loss to Brooklyn last month. According to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York, STAT has had enough of riding the pine:
I feel great...I am ready to play. But it’s up to him if he wants to play me or not.
From a doctor’s standpoint, there hasn’t been limitations since the first week of the season...So we can’t keep saying limitations -- that’s a coach’s decision at the end of the day.
I talk to Coach all the time about it...He knows I am ready. He knows how hard I train. He watches me in the weight room and also on the basketball court. The whole training staff knows, the Knicks organization knows how hard I train.
That much is true. Stoudemire has worked as hard as anyone to get back on the floor after three knee surgeries over the last 15 months.
And for all of Woodson's terrible calls this season—and there have been quite a few—gluing Stoudemire to the bench is the right one to make.
Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk helped explain why:
Like with Carlos Boozer yesterday, I have no problem with Stoudemire saying he wants more minutes. As a competitor, he should want more minutes. He talked to his coach about it, and that’s the key step. At this point, there’s no harm in him sharing his desires with the public.
It’s just not in the Knicks’ best interest to give Stoudemire a larger role, and that – not a minutes limit – is really all this comes down to.
The Knicks are getting outscored by more than 10 points per 100 possessions with Stoudemire on the floor this season, according to NBA.com (subscription required). The only players to have posted worse marks are Cole Aldrich and—brace yourself—Chris Smith.
It's important to note that, for the last 12 months, Stoudemire has handled his diminished role about as gracefully as a one-time superstar could have. Especially considering that his basketball demise was no fault of his own, but rather a pair of helpless, balky knees.
Amar'e deserves respect for biting the bullet and signing on with New York before any other player of value in 2010. If he wasn't on the team that season, it's unlikely Carmelo Anthony would've come over at all.
But Amar'e needs to accept what the entire NBA has known for the last few months, if not years. His career as he knew it is gone for good. So while Coach Woody has deservedly been on the receiving end of serious backlash this season, he's simply doing himself and Stoudemire a favor by keeping him off the floor.