The All-Star forward is working his way back and even said he would come off the bench upon his return, if necessary. According to Fox Sports and the Associated Press, Stoudemire said, "Whatever it takes to win."
The problem is, Stoudemire's absence might actually be what it takes to win.
The Knicks have established themselves as a contender in the East with Stoudemire watching from the sideline in high-priced, GQ sweaters.
All the while, Carmelo Anthony is having the best season of his career and it's no coincidence that he's in early MVP talk with Stoudemire out.
When Stoudemire was healthy, watching he and Anthony on the court at the same time really made things awkward. You could see each of them trying to make it work, but they just couldn't help stealing the offense away from one another.
Anthony looks more comfortable now. More comfortable than he has in his entire career.
It may be the new additions of Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton, but most likely it has something to do with the fact that a certain big man isn't stopping the offense anymore.
Anthony is averaging 28 points per game with a .476 shooting percentage. He's also shooting a career-high .458 percent from beyond the arc and riding career-highs in scoring and shooting efficiency.
Anthony's shooting percentages are at an all-time high because he's taking better shots. The rest of the Knicks aren't just standing around watching he and Stoudemire take on double-teams. They're running more fluid offense now and Anthony is benefiting with more open looks.
And there's no doubting Stoudemire's talent. The guy can play. It's just, he can't really play with Anthony.
Coming off the bench makes some sense. Stoudemire can be the scorer on the second team. It would be like James Harden when he was in Oklahoma City. He has starter talent and can take advantage of playing against second units.
Another option is moving him and his horrendous contract. Trading Stoudemire now would make the most sense. He has one of the worst contracts in the NBA and the Knicks will likely have to eat some of it, but just getting his name off the books would be well worth it.
They were desperate when they signed Stoudemire anyway. They whiffed on LeBron and answered by overpaying Stoudemire. Plus, they have Anthony. Biting the bullet now and paying another team to take Stoudemire off their hands is a lot easier to do when the team is winning.
The Knicks are 19-7 overall, 13-2 against the East and 11-1 at The Garden. They have asserted themselves as contenders and challengers to the Miami Heat.
Why would they want to go and change anything now?
They have a good thing going here.
They've already taken two out of three from their new step-brother, the Brooklyn Nets. They've also swept two games from Miami. They've got a stranglehold on the momentum in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks need to move Stoudemire now before it's too late. They can't let the All-Star forward make a mark on this team. They shouldn't let this turn into a big deal either. We wouldn't want things to get awkward.
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