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Amar’e Stoudemire: “I want to be a Knick for life”

Mar 21, 2014, 12:53 PM EDT

Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks Getty Images

When you talk about Amar’e Stoudemire the contract is the first thing that comes up — he is making $21.7 million this season and will pick up his player option for $23.4 million next season. Yes, that is overpaying for his current production, which has been improved this season (11.1 points a game on 55 percent shooting) but is not max contract numbers.

But then you have to remember the context of when Stoudemire signed — the Knicks had nothing. Donnie Walsh had gotten the Knicks out of the hole that Isiah Thomas had dug, but they needed a star to build around. They struck out with LeBron James. Stoudemire was the next biggest free agent that summer and the Knicks landed him. Teams were hesitant to go five years at a max salary for him because of his injury history, but the Knicks needed a home run to help put them on the map and attract other talent. Carmelo Anthony is not a Knick without Stoudemire.

Now, though, Stoudemire’s contract is an anchor on the franchise rebuild efforts. His three knee surgeries during his time in New York have been a blow. This summer the Knicks will shop his expiring deal around, but under the current CBA there isn’t much demand for big expiring deals so a deal may well not happen.

Which is fine with Stoudemire — he loves New York and wants to stay a Knick. Forever.

That is what he told Jared Zwerling in a fantastic first person feature at Bleacher Report (go read the entire thing, right now).

“Now, I’ve had a successful, injury-free year so far and I’m back in the starting lineup. From the hard work that I put in, I knew it was going to manifest into some positive. I feel like I’m back to my dominant self and I’m still improving, still getting better, still getting stronger. Now, we’re on a seven-game winning streak and we’ve got a chance to make the playoffs. We dug ourselves a hole, but we’re fighting out of it somewhat, climbing out of the hole, so I feel positive about that….

“I want to be a Knick for life and win multiple championships here. I don’t want to go anywhere else, especially with (Phil) Jackson coming in. He has an incredible legacy; it’s probably unmatched. With a leader like that, it can only become a positive output with that type of leadership. He’s been around great organizations, from Chicago to L.A., so now joining us with the Knicks, it’s great to see. Regarding the Triangle offense, it’s funny because I’ve been hearing that it would be great for me for the past six years. It could be possible that we implement the Triangle offense, and I just can’t wait to perfect whatever system we’re going to be in. I’m ready to get to work now.”

This is the effect Jackson is having in New York already.

While Knicks fans may not like the idea, keeping Stoudemire after this last contract expires may not be the worst idea for New York… with a couple big caveats.

First, Stoudemire would need to remain healthy the remainder of this season and all of next season. In doing so he has to continue to be productive and valuable on the court.

Second, he has to take a MASSIVE pay cut. Like down to the $6 million range give or take. Close to the league average.

Phil Jackson will set a tone and a direction for the Knicks — they are going to be a triangle team. Stoudemire can fit into that role, his mobility, midrange shot and skills around the rim could be a good triangle fit. But Jackson needs to see if there are better players out there for that role. Then he needs to get Stoudemire in at a fair price because he is not near a max salary guy anymore.

All of which is to say, stranger things have happened. This is not likely, but not impossible either. We just need to see how things play out with Jackson and with Stodemire’s knees over the next couple of seasons.

  1. sdelmonte - Mar 21, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    I really like Stat a lot. But if the right deal miraculously came along and someone wanted him and his knees and his uninsured contract for draft picks, I would take it. It’s not beyond the possible, since he still shoots well when his knees are behaving and he is a gamer. And I don’t see him playing a big role no matter what.

    Still, I wish things had been different.

  2. azarkhan - Mar 21, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    He’s 31, plays for the Knicks, and wants to “win multiple championships”? It’s fun to dream!

  3. slowclyde86 - Mar 21, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    “I want to be a Knick for life”—Please tell me this doesn’t mean he has some terminal condition.

  4. cbking05 - Mar 21, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    You will always be a Sun to me …

    • elcapitanfiscal - Mar 21, 2014 at 6:31 PM

      He and Nash had a nice run together in phoenix.

  5. losangelesbillsofbuffalo - Mar 21, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    “Carmelo Anthony is not a Knick without Stoudemire.”

    I don’t agree with this. ‘Melo probably wouldn’t have been a Knick during the year he was traded, but I don’t think Amare’s presence, or lack thereof, would have played a role in Carmelo’s free agency plan that year. Which, I believe, would have had NYC at the top of his list.

    • nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Mar 21, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      Its the only thing that saves Donnie Walsh’s face for the poor job he did as GM but the sheep will say differently.

      Anyways, in my opinion they should sit down with STAT and say prove it about being a knick for life. Opt out and then strike a new deal which is massively low because you have been grossly over paid the past three years. Otherwise you have no shot at staying here.

    • stoudemelo - Mar 21, 2014 at 4:26 PM

      Not true. Seeing the impact Stat had, and the idea of being able to team with a guy of that talent level got Melo to even look at New York. If they still had B grade talent he wouldn’t have even blinked.

    • cruzan80 - Mar 21, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      Amare definitely played a enormous role in Melo becoming a Knick….but Melo is definitely Knick whether Amare is there or not.

  6. sickswiff188 - Mar 21, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    IF he really want’s to stay a knick then he will have to OPT out of his contract this year and resign for a lot less.If he don’t he will either be traded or let go when contract exps. He is more valuable as a trade chip this coming summer or the trade deadline… Just food for thoughts.

  7. program33 - Mar 21, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    Too late now. You’re probably gone. We are living in time when they want more for less. Not less for more. It’s just a matter of time.

  8. chicagosports2014 - Mar 21, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    You will retire a knick trust me.

  9. zacksdad - Mar 21, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    If he truly wants to be a Knick for life, do not pick his option and let them sign a long term with much less money. See if he will help the team that way.

  10. eugenesaxe1 - Mar 21, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    I guess life ends after next season.

  11. cruzan80 - Mar 21, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    I like Amare. Love his heart. The guy runs back to the court the minute the Dr. gives him the green light to do so. He went to the Knicks with no one else there, took on the role of being “the man” & held that title well after everyone said he was only as good as he was because of Nash…which he proved quickly to nothing but BS.

    After being hurt & regulated to the bench. You couldn’t have asked for a better teammate & professional. He took the role on with pride & gave the team everything he had in very limited minutes. Also, he did this while having to watch Carmelo take the title he once owned just a year prior. Personally I don’t think he gets enough credit for that alone…..can’t think of too many players of his caliber who could’ve handled that as well as he did.

    All that being said…..if Amare really wants to be a “Knick for life”…he’ll opt out of the contract this summer & sign a long term deal for far less than the $23 mil he’s due to make next season…especially if Melo takes less than the max. The Knicks gave him a contract that no one else would & have been extremely patient with him through his injuries. They gave him that contract expecting a PF who will average 25 PPG, 9 REBS & be a corner stone in the franchise…..they haven’t gotten that outta him in 2 years & they won’t get it next year either.

    If he takes that money next season….the Knicks will watch him walk next summer….as they should. But if he’s serious about being a Knick for life (which I believe most Knick fans would actually like)…then he should take the pay cut…I know he won’t…but if he did it would actually fall right in line with the way he’s handled everything else since becoming a Knick….which would be pretty cool.

    • nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Mar 21, 2014 at 6:28 PM

      Give him a no trade clause if he takes the pay cut. I think its fair.

  12. SBoy - Mar 21, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    Healthy or not, I don’t see Amare getting a base of 6 mill given his injury history… Closer to league minimum plus incentives would make more sense for whoever signs him. Would prefer the NBA and MLB had NFL contracts, but they don’t and I won’t fault Stoud for that. I respect the dude… It would be great if it worked for both parties… Odds are he and the Knicks will do what is best for themselves when the time comes… now is just speculation.

  13. campcouch - Mar 22, 2014 at 5:37 AM

    Don’t opt out STAT,the Knicks agreed to pay you…a silly move on their part because no one else was going to anyways. The worst “news” to be generated by you was giving a fire extinguisher case the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Collect that money bro,it may be your last contract in the NBA.

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