Amar'e Stoudemire misses the first half of the 2010-11 season. I haven't spoken to him, and I'm sure he hasn't mentioned it in an interview or to any of his teammates. But trust me.
That's because that part of the season represents a time, not too long ago, when Stoudemire was the newly crowned king of New York, and his future was bright. He was a leader, a possible MVP candidate, a relevant name in the media, he was THAT guy.
"The Knicks are back." He said that (via ESPN), and he made it a reality. That's something that only a select few great players are capable of doing.
What was best of all? His team was good and ready to make a run in the playoffs.
Then Melo had to come in and ruin everything.
How are they now? The Knicks are still good. But for Amar'e, 2013 is shaping up to be just another chapter in what's starting to look like a $100 million Greek tragedy. Amar'e Stoudemire is now the odd man out in New York, and it's that simple.
For STAT, it's amazing how much can change in just two seasons.
Sure, we knew about the possible knee problems (he's already hurt for God's sake), and his inability (and indifference) on defense. Not many people thought he would ever live up to that ridiculous contract, anyway. But seriously, who could saw all of THIS happening?
Stoudemire is now a weak link, a guy who just doesn't—and never will—fit in to this New York Knicks team.
He's watched this whole team, HIS team, disassemble right before his goggle-protected eyes, and then rebuilt without any consideration for him. Hell, the coach that he thrived under for years is gone because Melo said so.
Honestly, with this kind of system in place, how is this guy NOT demanding a trade at this point?
But the better question is, what should the Knicks do about it? Should they even try to make this frontcourt work? I don't see it happening. We can look at the fact that this Knicks team had a whole preseason to figure things out, but maybe we just have to accept that, at the end of the day, this dilemma in downtown Manhattan could be impossible to overcome.
How about making him the most expensive sixth man in the NBA? Nope. Can't happen. Won't happen. Stop that nonsense immediately. I'm upset with myself for even mentioning it.
Amar'e is just to talented to ride the pine. You don't put a guy like that on the bench because he doesn't fit into whatever "system" the Knicks are working with these days.
Better yet, Amar'e will never even consider the bench. He's a baller, and for all of STAT's devastating injuries, you can never question the guy's heart. Not for a million years. There's a fire extinguisher somewhere that would agree.
Could Melo play the 4? No doubt. He's proven he can do it and do it effectively to boot. But STAT was here first. Without STAT, there would be no Melo, there would be no Chandler and there would be no excitement in Madison Square Garden. You have to respect that.
Or do you?
Where, exactly, is the rule that you can't trade a guy under any circumstance because of what he's done for you in the past? If he doesn't fit on this team now, then he doesn't fit on this team. This should be more than just a sense of pride.
The NBA is a business. If STAT and Melo can't make it work, then one of them has to go. And I'm promising you that it won't be Mr. Anthony.
So, to put aside this false belief that STAT can't be traded for some reason, why not pull the trigger? Somebody will take him no matter how much he's still owed. Obviously, we'll probably just get a few shiny new basketballs in return, but that's to be expected. Sadly, it wouldn't be the most useless trade the Knicks have ever made, either.
We have plenty of veteran bench depth to make up for it. We clear up cap space for another big name to come to the Big Apple ('sup, Chris Paul?), and we start fresh, with Melo as the head honcho. Amar'e won't get in his way, he'll find a system where he can find success again, and the Knicks will have a little more wiggle room financially.
Trust me, I don't like the idea. I have a $200 STAT jersey that will never see the light of day again. But it will ultimately make this team better in the long run. Let's thank Stoudemire for all he's done, shed a tear, and send him on his way.
I know I'll miss him, or at least the old version of him.
For the Knicks, trading STAT isn't the best answer—it's the only answer.