In June 2010, the New York Knicks signed free agent Amare Stoudemire in hopes that he would bring winning basketball back to the Big Apple. Just two years later, the organization tried to give him away for nothing.
According to the New York Times, the Knicks actively tried to trade Stoudemire this past season. One NBA executive stated that the big man was “available for free.”
The Knicks were unable to trade Stoudemire because of his contract. He entered the season with three years left on his deal, and owed over $60 million.
When healthy, Stoudemire can be one of the best scorers in the league. However, he’s had trouble staying on the court in his career. Since coming to New York, he’s been plagued with a bad back, forcing him to miss 19 games last season. Stoudemire is also known to have bad knees, and has yet to play a game this season because of them.
The report states that the Knicks attempted to get involved in talks with the Orlando Magic about Dwight Howard. New York was willing to trade Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Howard was eventually sent to the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-way deal.
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New York also considered sending Stoudemire to the Toronto Raptors. The Knicks were looking to get Andrea Bargnani in a potential deal, though owner James Dolan overruled a decision by management to make an offer. The report claims the Raptors wouldn’t have accepted the trade anyway.
Stoudemire enjoyed immediate success upon joining New York. He led the Knicks to the playoffs in his first season with New York, and was considered an MVP candidate for much of the year.
The six-time All-Star’s fortunes changed in the middle of the 2010-2011 season when New York traded for Carmelo Anthony. The two stars struggled to mesh on the court together, and Stoudemire’s numbers immediately went down. In his first year with the Knicks, Stoudemire scored 25.3 points per game. One year later, his average went down almost eight points.
While some concluded that Stoudemire couldn’t flourish due to the additions of Anthony and Tyson Chandler, others felt the big man didn’t look healthy. There were rumblings around the league that he no longer had the same leaping ability because of his back injury.
Whatever the issue was with Stoudemire, the Knicks were unable to move him. After missing much of this year, it would be almost impossible to send him packing in the near future.
The Knicks have proven that they can win without Stoudemire. At 19-6 through 25 games, the return of Stoudemire might only hurt the team. New York was one of the worst offensive teams last season with Chandler, Stoudemire and Anthony on the court at the same time. This year, New York is the fifth highest scoring team in basketball.
The impeding return of Stoudemire has Knicks fans questioning whether or not they can have the same success with Stoudemire in the lineup. He has stated publicly that he wouldn’t mind coming off the bench, if it was best for the team.
It’s been over a decade since the Knicks were legitimate title contenders. New York’s attempts this past offseason showed that Stoudemire is in the Big Apple to stay. If they want to get back to the NBA finals, head coach Mike Woodson will have to figure out a way to make sure his assortment of stars can be successful together.