"The Knicks are back," Amar'e Stoudemire said when he agreed to sign a five-year, $100 million contract.
But Amar'e is wrong. The Knicks are not back; they are just a bit more respectable.
Amar'e can't can't carry a team by himself. He needs certain pieces around him like he had in Phoenix, such as a point guard who has great vision, can run and gun, and run the pick and roll with him, or else he won't be as effective. He had that point guard in Steve Nash and was surrounded with great shooters, which is why the Suns played such good basketball for so long and Amar'e looked like one of the best power forwards in the league.
But Amare is not necessarily ineffective without a great point guard, because he is still one of the best power forwards in the league and a nightmare for defenses. When he gets that player that can set him up, then he is one of the most dangerous players in the league.
The Knicks would have gotten that player in LeBron James, but now it is looking unlikely and one Eastern Conference official is saying James will stay in Cleveland or go to Miami. Tony Parker was rumored to go the Knicks, but that is looking like it won't happen. Raymond Felton is a target for the Knicks, but he is just not a top-tier point guard. Monta Ellis, however, could work as well.
It would be a disappointing offseason for the Knicks if they don't get another star, but there is one player out there that could still save next season and may be perfect fit in Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo system.
Allen Iverson is only worth the veteran's minimum, and he can run the pick-and-roll as good as anyone except Nash. Stoudemire would play much better with Iverson on his side; Iverson hasn't had great athletic big men to play with in his career, and he still made Marcus Camby and Samuel Dalembert play better, so imagine what he and Stoudemire could do.
Iverson could start at the point for the Knicks and could average 10 assists per game for the first time in his career. He would be playing in an up-tempo system that he would thrive in, and could prove to the world that he still has it.
People are quick to say Iverson has slowed down and they point to his stats the past two seasons (Detroit and Philadelphia). In Detroit he averaged 17.4 ppg and 5 apg, but people forget that he was on a talented team with a lot of scorers. His usage rate was lower then he ever, he took less shots, and played less minutes. He was misused in Detroit and was put through hell by that franchise even though he did what everyone wanted him to do, which was sacrifice.
In Philadelphia his career was put on the line with a non-guaranteed contract and took even less shots, played less minutes, and had less touches. Worst of all Iverson was forced to play in Eddie Jordan's Princeton offense. So yes, Iverson can't be effective when he is touching the ball four times in a quarter and is forced to run a Ivy League offense. Iverson is a freelance player that likes to play in the open, and when he does he can be one of the best players in the league.
Last season the Knicks passed on Iverson and the fans were disappointed. They were ready to buy Iverson's Knicks jersey, start going to games, and finally get excited, but then James Dolan backed out because he thought Iverson was going to ruin team chemistry.
Well now there is no chemistry at all because by bringing in Stoudemire they just blew the whole team up. Iverson is respected by all the players and is still better then all the guards on the Knicks. Now that he is healthy. he could play 35-38 mpg for Mike D'Antoni give the Knicks at least 22 ppg and 8 apg, excite the crowd in Madison Square Garden, and the one-two punch of Stoudemire and Iverson could lead the Knicks to a fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Amar'e would benefit a lot from having Iverson. If a 36-year-old Steve Nash can do it with Stoudemire, a 35-year-old Iverson, who is one of the greatest players ever, can do it too.
Mike D'Antoni's system was made for players like Iverson; he would fit in perfectly. The Knicks will need another star no matter what, and Iverson would be the perfect pickup/ He is only going to cost about $5 million, which would allow them to get another star. That Knicks Iverson jersey could be the highest selling jersey in the league, and they will get national TV games and sell tickets. Best of all, the Knicks will play great basketball.
Iverson is training harder then ever and may even come back next season in better shape then he has ever been. Donnie Walsh would seem like a genius for taking a chance on Iverson when the rest of the league was too scared, and Iverson could even lure in Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks next season, Melo played with Iverson in Denver and has a ton of respect for him. But for the 2010-11 season Stoudemire and Iverson can be the highest scoring duo in the NBA and do some big things in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks have had three chances to get Iverson in the last four years, more than any team. They will have a disappointing offseason if they don't get another star, and Iverson could be that star that can electrify Madison Square Garden. The Knicks have the perfect system for Iverson to prove everyone wrong. He will be running and gunning, score a lot of points, and make sure Stoudemire has the season he is used to having. When Iverson has this kind of freedom, his team usually wins.
If the move doesn't work then it doesn't hurt them because they sold jerseys, tickets, got the buzz and don't have to offer Iverson a contract next season. The New York management shouldn't be afraid that this will turn into the Stephon Marbury situation because it won't.
Iverson did not cause any problems in Philadelphia this past season, and he doesn't want to go out with everyone's final perception of him being a team killer. He has been misunderstood throughout his career and recently said he would be willing to play any role for any team.
The New Yorkers love Iverson and his style of play even more. Imagine LeBron James coming to the Garden next season and getting outplayed by Allen Iverson (in D'Antoni's system). No longer would fans cheer for the other team when stars like Kobe, LeBron, and Wade come to town, because they would have their in own star in Iverson.
It could be the feel-good story of the sports year: Iverson comes into the season with everyone hating and doubting him, but the New York fans embrace Iverson as he proves everyone wrong and he and Stoudemire lead the Knicks to the playoffs.
James Dolan and Donnie Walsh might be disappointed that they didn't come out with LeBron, Wade, or Bosh should James decide against New York tomorrow, but they still have one player on the market that can save their season and make sure this free agency won't be a bust, and he is the "Answer" Allen Iverson. With this kind of city and system, Allen Iverson could definitely be the "Answer" for the New York Knicks.
Donnie Walsh, you have passed up on Allen Iverson numerous times, disappointing the fans. This season is headed nowhere if you don't pick up another star, and Iverson could be that star worth only $5 million. Iverson would thrive in D'Antoni's system, prove the world wrong, and the fans would embrace him. This would be a great move because Iverson is the perfect fit. Try it out, and then I guarantee you by All-Star break next season you too will be saying, "The Knicks are back!"