When Amar’e Stoudemire and the New York Knicks agreed to terms on a $99.74 million contract four years ago, both parties saw a bright future with great success. The addition of Carmelo Anthony the next year helped make the situation in the Big Apple look even better.
But now, after missing the playoffs and heading into the final season of Stoudemire’s monster deal, the dreams of incredible individual and team accomplishments are running out of time to take place.
Stoudemire, except for his first year with the Knicks, has been a huge disappointment. After dropping 25 points and 8.2 rebounds per game over 78 games in 2010-11, he only played 76 games total the next two seasons. His numbers have declined each year and traveled to 11 points and 4.9 rebounds for the 2013-14 season. His assists numbers from that first year have decreased each year as well, from 2.6 per game and ultimately 0.5 this past season.
Despite the struggles, STAT was pretty vocal about wanting more playing time and getting a better opportunity in Mike Woodson‘s system. He then did not take advantage of his opportunities. The times have changed for the six-time All-Star, and it is about time for him to change with them.
With new president Phil Jackson and head coach Derek Fisher taking over, change is inevitable. With the new triangle offense coming in and a contract year coming up for Stoudemire, now would be a great chance to prove his worth as a solid sixth man, veteran starter with a smaller role or a role player. Stoudemire is clearly talented. That has never been in doubt. But after a couple of rough years and now hitting the age of 31, this is a huge season for his career. He has made a lot of money over his career, and the days of making top-of-the-league money may be over but he still has a chance to get a solid contract with a quality team that could use a veteran talent.
Stoudemire should fit in the triangle offense quite perfectly. He is an intelligent player, and he will have a great chance to be a solid performer in that offense he faced against the Los Angeles Lakers for many years in the Western Conference with the Phoenix Suns. With the ability to stretch the floor and score around the rim that he has, getting the ball at the elbow and top of the key area is something that can cater to his talents. Despite the decrease in numbers, his field goal percentage was 55.7 this past season. If he can find a way to become a better passer and embrace a smaller but more efficient role with the team, he could have one more solid year to finish with the Knicks.
At this point in his career, Stoudemire did not expect to be trying out for teams and have to show them what he is worth in the final year of his mega deal. However, that is the situation that currently presents itself. He is now in a team oriented system and he will need to embrace that, something that might be hard for a guy who only averages 1.3 assists per game for his career. If he does so, his talents could be a huge help for a Knicks team that is looking to make the playoffs. If he plays well, maybe the Knicks or somebody else will be willing to open up their check books for STAT.