Just one year ago, a typical free throw attempt at Madison Square Garden for him would mean “MVP” chants. He was the main attraction of the New York Knicks for the first half of last season. Scoring almost 30 points a game leading a bunch of young and talented players to the teams first playoff appearance since 2003.
Ever since that trade for superstar SF Carmelo Anthony in February, Amar’e Stoudemire (STAT) has now become the second option and possibly the first player to be traded this season.
It is such a sad story to hear especially reflecting back on how effective he was. During the free agency frenzy two years ago with players such as LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Joe Johnson, Amar’e stood the bravest. Most of these players either signed with each other or back with their respective teams. Stoudemire made the boldest move and reunited with head coach Mike D’Antoni and signed a max contract (5-yr, $100M) with the New York Knicks.
The Knicks he originally signed with weren’t the Knicks we know today. This team was still rebuilding from the days of overblown contracts and consistent trading of draft picks from Isiah Thomas, their former general manager and coach. Donnie Walsh brought in players like Raymond Felton, drafted Danillo Gallinari, and completed D’Antoni’s team with Stoudemire.
This team was relevant before the Carmelo Anthony trade even went down. They were on pace to make the playoffs by being a seventh seed without Anthony. Once Anthony demanded a trade to New York that instant, James Dolan folded too quickly and resisted the request of Walsh to decline the trade and wait for the off-season. It was too late, as the Knicks gave up a good amount of players to get Melo’ along with a few bench players.
The New York Knicks have been playing under-average basketball since the Carmelo Anthony trade. Reasons could be from a lack of decent bench players to having no point guard to run the infamous D’Antoni run and gun offense. But this shouldn’t be the reason why Amar’e is playing like he is lately.
Last season, Stoudemire averaged 25.3 points per game while grabbing 8.1 rebounds. At this point into the season, he averages 17.7 points per game and averaging 8.2 rebounds.
The lack of offensive play could come from Anthony’s lack of passing. In a game against the Denver Nuggets, Stoudemire didn’t shoot the ball at least five times during the fourth quarter and overtime, while Melo’ took over 30 shots in the game.
It’s games like this that have fans and reporters looking at possibilities to trade Stoudemire to get value. According to a few reports, the Philadelphia 76ers have inquired about trading for Stoudemire. Possible trade ideas include Andre Iguodala and Spencer Hawes, or Elton Brand and Lou Williams.
Although Stoudemire is the reason why the Knicks became relevant again, this trade idea works for both teams. The Knicks need better ball movement and more consistent role players, while the 76ers need a first scoring option.
All four possible players eligible for Stoudemire make sense in their own ways.
Andre Iguodala isn’t the player he once was when combined with Allen Iverson, but he’s exactly the versatile shooting guard the Knicks need. A stat sheet stuffer averaging 12.8 points per game, 5 assists per game, and 6.4 rebounds. Iguodala isn’t a shoot first guard, but rather makes plays for other teammates and once in a while can get hot and drop 30.
Spencer Hawes is a solid big man down low. Usually a 10-10 player, he’s starting to improve and show his presence in the paint. Of course he’s not Stoudemire, but he’s one of the best passing big men in the league. Hawes averages three assists per game, so there would be better ball distribution with him.
Elton Brand isn’t anything special like he once was with the Los Angeles Clippers, but he would be a solid replacement. He’d probably come as a trade package that involves a point guard since this position is what the Knicks really need.
Lou Williams would probably be the most likely trade asset out of all four to be traded for Stoudemire. All the Knicks need is a decent point guard that is young with a lot of potential, and Williams fits this criteria. He’d probably get traded because of the 76ers having another point guard starting over him in Jrue Holiday. Only 26 years of age, D’Antoni’s system would make him look like Raymond Felton 2.0.
There might not even be a trade at all. What many people are concerned about with Stoudemire is not only that hefty contract, but rather his knees. The knees are a major part of his game; as big men always have to jump up to get rebounds and deal with posting up other big men. Not only the knees, but his back is another issue. During the first round of the NBA playoffs last season, Stoudemire played with back issues that cost the Knicks a first round sweep.
It was sad enough to even write this article, but business is business in the NBA. Feel-good stories don’t win championships. We’re seeing this with Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts now. Not everyone gets a happy ending. If a trade has to go down to better the teams future and championship dreams, so be it.