In the New York Knicks 109-106 loss to the Houston Rockets on Thursday night, it was entirely apparent who were the stars on each team. Both Carmelo Anthony and James Harden had total control over the ball for their respective teams all night, scoring 45 and 36 points respectively.
But while these two star players took control of the game on the night, the highest paid player on either team effectively took the night off, and truly has been taking the 2013-14 season off.
Yes, this would be referring to Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire, who played five minutes on the night, scoring a grand total of zero points, picking up one rebound, and having absolutely no impact on the game. The once explosive player simply had no first step, looked disinterested in the game, and truly left many wondering why he even appeared in the game in the first place.
While one dreadful performance could be understood from Stoudemire, the fact is that he is a guarantee to do effectively nothing each night, and everyone knows it. Knicks coach Mike Woodson announced this to the public when he made the statement that the former star player is being held to a strict 15 minutes per game limit throughout the 2013-14 season, and will also not be allowed to play in back-to-back games at any point.
Furthermore, after watching Stoudemire score an average of 2.8 points, pick up two rebounds, and play 9.6 minutes per game, there is no doubting that he is not the same guy that earned a five-year, $99.7 million deal in 2010. While this is understandable for a guy that has had three knee surgeries in the last year and had a micro-fracture on his left knee in 2005, this doesn’t mean that the Knicks should sit by and accept it; not when they are paying him $21.679 million during the 2013-14 season and $23.410 million in 2014-15, when things will seemingly only get worse.
These huge salaries are guaranteed no matter what the Knicks do with Stoudemire, which makes getting rid of him as soon as possible a necessity. At this point, it would be foolish to think that any team would trade absolutely anything for his services, which leaves New York in the position of having to release the former six time All-Star.
Making this decision may seem to be a waste of money to some, but in the end, it is the only logical decision. Stoudemire has not started a game since the 2011-12 season, and has effectively been replaced on the roster by Andrea Bargnani. At this point, his presence only provides fans with the fake allure that he may one day find the form that led many to believe he would team up with Anthony to bring an NBA Championship to Madison Square Garden.
Everyone that watched Stoudemire against the Rockets now knows that this is not going to happen, and it is time for owner James Dolan to bite his pride and admit it as well. Making the decision will allow the Knicks to finally move their attention to improving in the future and serve as a warning shot to the potential perils of trying to produce a winning team through free agency.