New York Knicks: Could Collapse in Playoffs Lead to Amar'e for Dwight Howard Swap?

Sam SiegelContributor IIApril 4, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic shoots a free throw shot during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on March 13, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Magic defeated the Suns 111-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

For the past few years, the New York Knicks had been making many changes in their roster in order to make cap space for LeBron James. 

This past summer, the Knicks did all they could in order to persuade him to come to New York.  However, he chose to team up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh and "take his talents" to South Beach. 

The Knicks didn't want to come up empty-handed in last year's free agent class, so they made a big move and signed Amar'e Stoudamire for five years worth $100 million.  The city of New York was finally excited about Knicks basketball again. 

This season, Amar'e Stoudamire is having arguably one of the best seasons of his career.  He's averaging 25 points, 8 rebounds, and a block per game. 

He was selected to the All-Star team and was the starting power forward for the East.  In fact, he was the first Knick to start an All-Star game since Patrick Ewing.

However, ever since the Knicks made the blockbuster deal to bring Carmelo Anthony to New York, Stoudamire has been in a huge slump.  He hasn't been the player we saw prior to the All-Star break, and Knicks fans are concerned. 

In fact, some of us thought he would be even better with Carmelo.

However, that's not the case. 

Stoudamire hasn't been the only one struggling since the trade.  The whole team has been struggling. 

The Knicks are 9-12 since acquiring Carmelo Anthony, and the team hasn't been living up to their expectations, mainly due to the lack of effort on defense. 

However, there have been a few games where the Knicks have played great defense, but it's very inconsistent. 

The 2012 free agent class will be another great thing for the NBA.  Players like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams will become free agents. 

Many indications point to Chris Paul joining Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudamire in New York and forming a dynasty at Madison Square Garden hoping to win multiple championships.

However, offense wins games, but DEFENSE wins championships, and defense isn't really a mind-set for the Knicks.

When you hear the word defense in the NBA, you immediately think of Dwight Howard.  He's won the Defensive Player of the Year award for two straight years.  In fact, he may win it this year also. 

Let's compare Amar'e Stoudamire's stats with Dwight Howard's.

This year, Amar'e is averaging 25 points, 8 rebounds, and a block per game.  Definitely outstanding numbers.  Dwight Howard is averaging 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. 

If you're asking who is the better player between the two, it's Dwight Howard. 

Howard is set to be a free agent in 2012 and the Orlando Magic may get scared of losing him in free agency. 

Therefore, they might look to trade him in the middle of the season next year, just like how the Nuggets did with Carmelo Anthony. 

Last night, the Knicks clinched a playoff spot with a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The Knicks will be heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

As the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks will most likely play the Miami Heat. 

In Carmelo Anthony's third game as a Knick, the team beat the Heat in an exciting night in South Beach.  However, that was their only victory against the Heat this year.  The Heat have won the other three games. 

In my opinion, the Knicks can put up a good battle, but I don't think they will be able to win the series mainly to the lack of defense they play. 

Many indications point to Dwight Howard signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2012. However, if the Knicks totally collapse in the playoffs, Donnie Walsh may be calling the Orlando Magic about Howard.

Many of you who are reading this may think I'm crazy, but I think a straight-up trade of Amar'e Stoudamire for Dwight Howard is very possible.  That, of course, is only if Howard says he would sign an extension with the Knicks.

I personally think a combination of Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard would be better than Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudamire. 

The Knicks need defense, and Dwight Howard provides just that.  Not to mention, he's also evolving into a dominant offensive center as well. 

He's also one of the top rebounders in the league.  Basically, he's the whole package for an NBA center. 

All of this leads up to one question.  Would a swap of Amar'e Stoudamire for Dwight Howard be a good thing for the Knicks?