Amar’e Stoudemire has struggled to stay healthy the last three years. When he is on the court for the New York Knicks, he looks old and injured. Even when Stoudemire is supposedly healthy, it looks like his back or knee is always hurting. Stoudemire lacks the jumping ability he once had, and he looks quite slow and sluggish at times. This has been going on for three seasons, including this one. However, as of late, Stoudemire has looked much better. Though he’s nowhere near the player he used to be, he is contributing, and this helps the Knicks in two distinct ways.
Stoudemire is only 31 years old, but you wouldn’t be able to tell how young he is with how he’s played the last few years. An ailing knee and a bad back have hindered his playing a career — a career which was once MVP-esque. Stoudemire missed some time in January, but he has looked very good in February and March. In eight games this month, Stoudemire is averaging 17.5 ppg while shooting 60 percent from the field. Before March, he was averaging just over 10 ppg.
The Knicks’ power forward has been playing 20-30 minutes a game, more than he’s played all season. This seems to be too much at times, as he takes off once every five or six games. But those resting days are paying off for Stoudemire. He’s taking a game off and coming back at full strength. When Stoudemire isn’t worn out, he’s a productive player. He’s contributed greatly to the Knicks’ seven game winning streak, and will be critical to this last playoff push by the team.
Stoudemire is playing well and that’s great for the Knicks’ playoff chances, but there’s another way he’s benefiting them at the moment. If new Knicks president Phil Jackson has any intentions on bringing in new players next year, he might be thinking about trading Stoudemire this offseason.
Of course, Stoudemire is owed $23 milion next year in his last contracted season. But with his recent play, he has some value, and the Knicks are sure to bargain with a potential suitor in shaving some money off the contract. Either way, Stoudemire is helping the Knicks, but it is still unclear how he will. I don’t think New York will be able to get what they want for him, so they’re basically going to have to hope he continues getting better as he stays healthy.