There’s a good chance that at this stage of his career, Amare Stoudemire is the most overpaid player in the NBA. That makes the New York Knicks wish he takes the chance of opting out of his deal, but if there’s even a shred of realism to their hopes this offseason, they know he’s staying and taking the money.
They always love to dream in New York. About keeping Carmelo Anthony. About being NBA contenders. But the truth is that decisions made in the past have turned this team, at least for this season, a lost cause. Even with Anthony, there’s no cap space to add new players, and the roster that’s there isn’t very impressive. Maybe they can get back into the playoffs after one year of recess. However, hoping for more than that is foolish.
Even if Stoudemire, who’ll be making more than $23 million next season, decided to take the Early Termination Option (ETO) and hit free agency, the Knicks will still be way over the cap. The only real benefit from it would be in terms of the tax dollars day pay. No one loves to pay the luxury tax but the Knicks, like the Lakers, don’t really need to worry about that considering the profits they make no matter how badly they’re doing.
Stoudemire start off as a bench player last season. Mike Woodson kept him off the floor, citing his knee and health problems. Stoudemire himself felt like he’s fine and can start and play more than 20 minutes a night. As the season reached the point of no return, Woodson simply gave up on trying to use defensive lineups and put Stoudemire back in the starting five. He finished the season averaging 16.9 points per game in March, five points higher than his season average.
So there have been talks for these past two years about Stoudemire retiring, but he has no intention of doing so. He is very interested of playing more basketball and getting paid, which is natural. Whether or not he can come close to playing at an All-Stat level for more than just a month in a season while staying healthy and looking a bit less embarrassing on defense remains to be seen.