NBA Free Agency 2010: Is Amar'e Stoudemire New York Knicks' Savior or Satan?

Michael AkelsonCorrespondent IJuly 5, 2010

When I awoke to the news Friday that the New York Knicks were prepared to offer Amar'e Stoudemire a five-year, $100 million contract I quickly became sick to my stomach.

Stoudemire had always been an extremely talented player, but he came with way too many red flags to be a $100 million man.

He had a severe allergy to playing defense, he had shortened his shelf life with micro fracture surgery back in 2005, his entire career to this point was played with two-time NBA MVP point guard Steve Nash, and he never was as good on the boards as a 6' 10" player should be.

I hoped and prayed that the Knicks would come to their senses and draw this offer off the table.

However, something has changed since Friday.

Amar'e Stoudemire has shown a desire towards making the Knicks a better team. He has already begun recruiting the likes of Tony Parker, Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron James, amongst others.

If Amar'e can lure LeBron, Wade, Melo, or even Tony Parker to the Big Apple, he could prove to be the single most important acquisition in Knicks history.

But that's a big if.

Stoudemire has already gone on record to say that Carmelo Anthony and Tony Parker are ready to join him in the Big Apple next season. But that's an awful big assumption to make.

Multiple reports have stated that LeBron James' representatives met with the Knicks for a second meeting on Saturday to discuss the possibility of playing alongside Stoudemire and hopefully Carmelo Anthony.

But that's a whole lot of hope for The King to put in Donnie Walsh.

Stoudemire gives Knicks fans hope, which is something they haven't been able to say since Patrick Ewing was dealt to Seattle back in 2000.

However, that hope could quickly turn to pain if Stoudemire's recruitment's fail and the Knicks are left with a 27-year-old, injury prone, no defense big man as their lone reward for two years of suffering.

If Stoudemire does save the New York Knicks franchise, his most important work will not be done on the court.

While his talent could still make him one of the NBA's ten best big men throughout the course of the contract, his persona will be the Knicks' biggest acquisition.

Because in order to save a franchise that has suffered so long, Amar'e Stoudemire must bring another star (possibly two) with him to shine in The City That Never Sleeps.

July 5th, 2010 will go down as the day that changed the New York Knicks franchise; whether it's for the better or worse.

The ball's in your court Amar'e, make sure it's for the better.