Posted December 21, 2012

Knicks tried, failed to pawn off Stoudemire via trade

Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks
amare-stoudemire-knicks

Amar’e Stoudemire is close to returning from a knee injury. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By Rob Mahoney

When the Knicks cleared out their roster to acquire Carmelo Anthony, they voluntarily accepted the complications that come with integrating two high-usage, offense-first stars who operate from similar spaces on the floor.

Positional redundancy wasn’t yet a concern as Anthony was deemed to be a nominal small forward, but the complexity of getting the most out of both Anthony and power forward Amar’e Stoudemire — without the team’s defense collapsing in the process — presented a very real challenge for Mike D’Antoni and, later, Mike Woodson.

Various injuries to Stoudemire and Anthony tabled the most serious concerns regarding the cohesion of two players who were independently thought to be the Knicks’ saviors, but Anthony’s sensible, full-time move to power forward this season (along with New York’s incredible success without Stoudemire in the lineup) puts the two at more direct odds.

The Knicks are well aware of the potential problems presented by Stoudemire’s looming return from a knee injury, so much so that — as noted by Howard Beck of The New York Times — they tried their damnedest to unload their former centerpiece and his bloated contract over the last few months:

This past summer, the Knicks offered Stoudemire to nearly every team in the league — “available for free,” as one rival executive put it. But they found no takers because of his diminished production, his health and his contract, which has three years and $65 million remaining (counting this season) and which is uninsured against a career-ending knee injury.

In February, the Knicks wanted to send Stoudemire to Toronto in a deal for Andrea Bargnani, a person briefed on the discussion said. But the proposal was vetoed by James L. Dolan, the Garden chairman, before it ever reached the Raptors (who would not have made the deal anyway, team officials there said).

Before that, the Knicks tried to package Stoudemire and [Tyson] Chandler in a bid to land Dwight Howard.

The implication is clear: for all his scoring prowess and star power, Stoudemire is no longer viewed as a critical piece. The reasons are obvious, too.

Trading Stoudemire would make all kinds of sense, but he remains in New York by the team’s own doing. Not only are the Knicks responsible for the insanely priced and completely uninsured deal that now makes the 30-year-old Stoudemire so hard to trade, but they also created their current predicament by attempting to field a somewhat doomed combination of stars. Injuries have made it significantly more plausible for Stoudemire to come off the bench, but even that adjustment won’t totally alleviate the tension created by inevitably using both players at once, not to mention the potential strain that comes with folding up Stoudemire’s proud game and personality into a more compact role.

As much as this situation boils down to the overlapping games of Anthony and Stoudemire, the bigger issue here is New York’s warped roster construction. The two most important pieces to the team’s success, Anthony and center Tyson Chandler, will make $34 million combined this season and even more over the next two. Stoudemire is infinitely more dispensable but comes at too great a cost and risk for any team to take on the three years left on his deal.

Some pruning can be done around the edges, but those three players will lock up the core of New York’s cap room, even if the team finds some way to pare Stoudemire’s role to fit a reconstructed offense. Regardless, Stoudemire’s return — in whatever form and whatever role he takes — will give the Knicks a test unlike any they’ve seen this season, a challenge for which they have only their own inconsistent team building to blame.

12 comments
KyleRalphAnthony
KyleRalphAnthony

With the Lakers looking like either Howard or Gasol(both)should be moved due to not fitting into D'Antoni's offense..  this is dumb.  Amar'e, Novak, and J.R. Smith could be a good trade for either guy.  Chandler is probably an untouchable since he continues to punk Cuban for not giving Dallas a second shot at a title.  Dude is playing better than he ever has. 

 

Lakers need to change their mind on Gasol unless they have him playing center where he's faster and can play with his back to the basket.  But they look so slow... and Amar'e, Smith, Chandler can all run and dunk.  Maybe Houston will trade some guys to get a major star like Howard.  And they've loved Gasol since day one. 

playultimate
playultimate

I don't trust a story about the Knicks written by a beat writer for the Nets... forgive me for thinking there might be an ulterior motive behind this report.

mchamwey
mchamwey

This is a no-brainer. The Knicks and Lakers share identical problems with expensive players that don't seem to fit in with their current lineups and style of play. The Lakers have an expensive 18 month contract remaing with Pau Gasol, and the Knicks have a similar problem with Amare Stoudemire. Why don't the Knicks trade Amare to the Lakers, and the Lakers trade Gasol to the Knicks? This would solve both teams' problems. Amare would be back playing with his old former team mate Steve Nash, and former coach Mike D'Antoni, and Gasol would be a better fit coming off the bech for the Knicks as a post up player anchoring a second unit. Makes sense to me!

AlbertTydings
AlbertTydings

The Knicks if they had any sense should trade him for AROID.   Stoud the Stud can flex his tattoos as a NY Yankee First Baseman  and ARoid  could be a point guard.  He should score as nobody would guard him

STAT1
STAT1

Knicks' regular season record last year with both Amar'e & Melo in the same lineup after Mike Woodson took over = 8W - 2L. These guys have already shown they're capable of playing together & winning games under this head coach. Now that the surrounding cast has much more defensive minded player depth than last year, I don't see why you would think the results would be any different.

S712399
S712399

Stoudemire should produce more to the Knicks. Also, does Stoudemire really need such a big contract?

BrianG
BrianG

Wait so the Knicks need to do more roster adjustments despite having the best record in the Eastern Conference right now? It seems that whatever Donnie Walsh attempted to by signing Amar'e has been thwarted by Grunwald's ability to swing trades for Chandler, Felton, and sign Kidd.  They are an older team but one capable now of playing great ball w/o Amar'e.  Having a guy with Amar'e talents coming off the bench is something most teams would love to have, certainly not at his current price, but as long as they are winning it really doesn't matter. 

AjBallsoHardMclaren
AjBallsoHardMclaren

 @mchamwey Why gasol is way better than amare and nobody wants him he coming of knee surgery and they dont know how long he will last plus even though paul is hurt with pantar in his knee or whatever he is still a better player plus a better fit think about it why does nobody want amare.

crdurrett018
crdurrett018

 @mchamwey Amare kills any cap flex they might have if that roster can't get it done then they'd basically be at the mercy of who's available for the minimum.

crdurrett018
crdurrett018

 @S712399 He had the best season of his career prior to Melo. Man people have really short memories this was less than 2 years ago.

pcappit
pcappit

 @BrianG You aren't going to win a title with a max salaried player coming off of the bench.

KevinTravers
KevinTravers

 @pcappit  @BrianG But... they're one of the top teams in the league right now with a max guy not playing at all.