Newest Knick Amar’e Stoudemire (above).
Stoudemire’s career stats:
Career Season Averages
The Knick “braintrust”, faced with the possibility of the music stopping and being left without a chair, after putting three years stock into the Lebron James charade, continued the games by adding forward Amar’e Stoudemire. Stoudemire, who underwent the dreaded microfracture surgery in 2005, has never been the same player since the injury. Because of the injury, the Knicks will not be able to insure the nearly $100 M contract.
Sound familiar? When I close my eyes I can hear Isaiah Thomas talking like Michael Jackson about Eddy Curry.
While the Nets impressed Lebron James Thursday with a contingent that included Avery Johnson, Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov, and recording legend and James’ buddy Jay-Z, and don’t think it of little consequence that Johnson and Jay-Z are black, Curry happened to be the only contemporary “ambassador” from the Knicks to meet with James, who scorched the Knicks and their hapless coach, Mike D’antoni when granted a personal audience with James. It was probably the first time Curry has ever been right, too.
According to a source close to Curry, the Knicks‘ veteran center met with James in Ohio to discuss Curry’s future, which may or may not include having LeBron as a teammate. The conversation, the source said, “had nothing to do with Eddy trying to recruit LeBron to New York.”
In fact, Curry may have been recruiting himself to join James either in Cleveland or Chicago. Curry is entering the final year of his contract and has told close friends he’d welcome a buyout from the Knicks in order to become a free agent.
Curry has talked about returning to his hometown of Chicago to restart his career. The Bulls are one of several teams with salary cap room to sign James, who is expected to visit New York, New Jersey and Chicago when he becomes a free agent on July 1st.
The Knicks “braintrust” was betting on a major summer in free agency, but the summer looks like more of a disaster than anything, with the impending loss of David Lee set to completely offset the Stoudemire signing, especially on the glass, where Lee is perennially one of the finest rebounders in the game. For those of you who assume Stoudemire and D’antoni have this great rapport and comfort level, think again. The word out of Phoenix was that they frequently came to loggerheads, and that star guard Steve Nash had to act as a buffer and a peace maker between the two.
Asked about D’antoni in an interview at the end of March, here was Stoudemire’s reply:
Do you agree that Mike D’Antoni not emphasizing defense set you back:
“I think so. With us not really focused defensively and not teaching defense a lot of the finger pointing was towards me saying that I wasn’t a good defensive player but I just was never taught defensive strategy so it really was kind of unfair to put the blame on me. I think over time, it shows now that we are a better defensive team, we got guys that can play defense and my defense is not really that bad.”
This is Stoudemire being diplomatic, too. This deal was born out of necessity on both sides. The Knicks needed a player, and the player needed a team to offer 5 years at $ 19 + M a year on average. The Suns, who know Stoudemire best and who got his best years, were unwilling to pledge to hima 5th season, and the Heat tried to get him on a 5 yr deal for almost $ 25 M less than the Knicks offer.
What’s next for the Knicks, who are about to strike out on the top 3 free agents, and who don’t seem to have the muscle to work out trades for Chris Paul or Carmelo Anthony with their flimsy roster? We are hearing that the Knicks are looking for a partner in crime to put along aside Stoudemire at the 5, and have their sights set on Dallas big Brendan Haywood.
Can you feel the excitement?
Luckily for the Knicks, Dallas is probably going to lavish Haywood with their own millions, saving New York from more folly.
The Knicks made their bed more than 2 years ago when they hired Walsh who hired D’antoni, over Mark Jackson, the widely respected commentator, New York product, and a much savvier pitchman and face of the franchise when it comes to selling free agents on the virtues of New York, being a guy who actually played here, and did so on successful Knicks teams. Speaking of Jackson, whom the Knicks have not had a reliable point guard since his departure nearly 20 years ago, the Knicks should foresake their pursuit of a center for now, considering they have Curry in a walk year–likely the only year you will ever see the guy motivated, and try to obtain a quality point guard. The point guard position has been broken for far too long here, and a permanent fix for less than max dollars would leave the Knicks in decent shape next off season to recruit, should they wisely dump D’antoni, who is unlikely to be extended, as he goes into the 3rd year of a 4 year contract.
With Curry and new Knick “star” Stoudemire already vocal opponents of D’antoni, a alck of success this season, which is almost a certainty, could be the final nail in D’antoni’s already sized and outfitted coffin. Should they not trade all their assets for Tony Parker, and perhaps get lucky in free agency with pass first point guard Raymond Felton, in whom they have interest, a new coach who desirable players do have interest in playing for could possibly convince Carmelo to play for the Knicks. The Knicks would also help themselves for the future immensely by keeping their 2011 first round pick, one that has an excellent chance of being a lottery selection.
More of the status quo will only earn them more of the status quo, which right now, is second tier, and second team all the way, in their own city, with the first team being the Nets led by NBA icon Jay-Z. It’s ironic how the Knicks threw away so much money for so long and would happily continue to do so, but now have slim pickings as far as who they can throw their money at.