At this point of the season for the New York Knicks, we are passed critiquing their play and explaining how they can improve. There is absolutely no hope for this team in the foreseeable future. The issues are endless when it comes to the decisions of head coach Mike Woodson as well as the lack of will in the hearts of the players on this team. Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith have questioned the heart and the pride of their teammates. Meanwhile, Chandler and Smith themselves have stood around on defense and given lackluster effort over the last four weeks of games.
It’s time to look forward to next season, and with the future of Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks still in question, the team needs to start looking for other options. If Carmelo opts out of his contract and goes elsewhere, New York can possibly upgrade the point guard position in free agency as well as picking up a forward to fill Anthony’s shoes. Though it will be a nearly impossible task, the team will have to move on if Anthony does indeed sign somewhere else. Pretty much the entire roster from this year will be back next year due to horrific contracts. That’s where Amar’e Stoudemire comes into play. How Stoudemire finishes this dreadful Knicks season can mean everything in the world to next year’s team.
Stoudemire has been an utter disappointment for this New York Knicks franchise after signing his five-year, $99.7 million contract. He is owed $23 million next season with a player option he would be foolish not to exercise. But what if Amar’e held trade value this offseason? If the Knicks would agree to eat some of his contract, would there be a team out there willing to trade for him? This may sound crazy, but let’s look at what Amar’e Stoudemire has done this year. He’s currently averaging 10.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. That doesn’t sound like the production of a $23-million man because it’s not. But what if the Knicks were able to shave a few million bucks off that contract? Then Stoudemire becomes a player with an expiring contract in 2015, a player who can contribute to a team that can use him off the bench.
Amar’e is shooting 55.5 percent from the field in the 46 games he’s played this season. He’s only turning the ball over 1.5 times a game which is a career-best for him. Stoudemire is looking as healthy as he’s been since 2011 when he had an MVP-type season. Stoudemire has shown that he can still contribute if plugged into the right place. If he continues to be productive in these last 21 games, his stock will continue to rise and he will hold some value this summer in trade talks.
The Knicks may take anything for Stoudemire in a trade and if they can’t get a trade done, they’ll be stuck with him next year. But that may not be a bad thing. If Stoudemire can stay healthy and build on his encouraging recent play, maybe he can be a starter next season. Woodson will be gone and there will be no one holding back Amar’e but himself. If he wants to be out there 30 minutes a game, he will have the opportunity to do so. Plus, he’ll be a free agent after next season and he’ll be 32 years of age. I doubt he’s done with basketball, so he’ll want to compete at a high level next season as he’s playing for his next contract.
Only time will tell at this point, but Stoudemire is extremely important to next year’s New York Knicks team. He will either leave with his contract and a new player will come to New York, or Amar’e will have one more year to get his act together and help this team get back to their 2012-13 form.