For the past two years it was told to anyone that would listen that the summer of 2010 would be the summer that the state of the New York Knicks would change. The Knicks had been largely irrelevant since the end of the Patrick Ewing era, but pieces were put in place and moves were made to clear enough room to make room at MULTIPLE maximum contract free agents this off-season. Much of that centered on acquiring the most coveted prize of all, LeBron James. There’s a reason Madison Square Garden was abuzz every time the Cavs came to town. Cleveland featured the player who was going to save their franchise. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to Spike Lee becoming a face we have to see a lot.
First, the Knicks signed Amar’e Stoudemire to a max contract for five years for roughly $100M. Stoudemire is an extremely talented player. We can all agree on that. He has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his career with the Phoenix Suns. The Suns were actually interested in bringing him back, but they were reluctant to go five years due to the expected wear and tear on Amar’e. Keep in mind that he entered the NBA straight out of high school. We’ve seen guys like Jermaine O’Neal and Kevin Garnett (other guys who have entered the league straight out of high school) hit that wall a little sooner than others.
The Knicks obviously signed Stoudemire because he is a good player, but it was hoped that signing him would be a key to bringing James to the big apple. That never happened. James decided to chase the sunlight instead of the spotlight. Thus, the Knicks had to settle for Stoudemire as the big prize.
The entire off-season has to be a big letdown for the Knicks. If I am a Knicks fan, I’m a little disappointed in how this summer has played out. I certainly wouldn’t mind having Stoudemire on my team. But I have doubts about whether or not he can carry the load. Not to mention he has a history of injuries. I think I would want him as a complementary player. That’s essentially what he was in Phoenix. He really wasn’t even the best player out in the desert with his former team. It’ll be interesting to see how he player with Raymond Felton as opposed to Steve Nash. No offense to Tar Heel fans, but that’s quite a difference.
Likewise, Stoudemire has to be a tad disappointed himself. I don’t feel sorry for him at all because he is going to be quite the wealthy man. But career-wise, this is a risky move. He moves from the Valley of the Sun where he played with a two-time NBA MVP, to a team where he is expected to be “The Guy.” He was playing for a consistent contender in Phoenix, and now he goes to a team that hasn’t won more than 33 games the past six seasons.
It’s a risky move on both ends. Perhaps it works out, and Amar’e is able to make the Knicks relevant again. But from how it looks now, it just looks like this move could be a disaster on both sides.