To this point, Woodson has been dismissive of the idea of Stoudemire as a reserve. But if the Knicks do enjoy success without him, those questions will continue to come up. And things could get downright ugly if the Knicks do re-insert Stoudemire as a starter and it causes any sort of setback.
At this point, it’s safe to say that Stoudemire isn’t getting any healthier; whether or not he would willingly accept a bench role is anyone’s guess. Despite all that he’s been through, Stoudemire is one of the NBA’s hardest workers and is a true professional. He takes his craft seriously, prepares diligently and has done all that has been asked of him.
But asking him to accept being a full-time reserve? That’s gotta be a tough pill to swallow, even if it is best for the team.
Over the next three years, Stoudemire is set to earn about $65 million and his contract is uninsured. He’s virtually untradeable.
And you can’t amnesty him, because the Knicks already went down that road with Chauncey Billups—a move that I said was questionable, despite the fact that it brought them Tyson Chandler.
So, you see, the Knicks have a very interesting dilemma on their hands. There are few things worse than having an unhappy and untradeable max player on your roster. But there are also few things worse than continuing a real-life game of roster and rotation musical chairs.
The Knicks need consistency and continuity. They were supposed to have that this season.
Good luck, Mike Woodson.
Although conventional wisdom says that a coach is to do what he thinks is in the best interest of his team, the truth is that the Knicks need Stoudemire to be a reliable No. 2 scorer. Without him emerging as the consistent second scoring option that he was supposed to be behind Anthony, the Knicks will never be able to rise above the Heat or Celtics in the Eastern Conference.
Anthony, though great, is not unstoppable. And he can’t beat either of those teams by himself.
Aside from Anthony and Stoudemire, the Knicks do not have a player on the roster who is capable of scoring against tough defenses and consistently giving the team 20 points a night.
For better or worse, the Knicks have been built upon the foundation of believing that Stoudemire and Anthony could effectively work together. Now, Stoudemire’s health and the Knicks’ overall lack of continuity is raising serious doubts as to whether or not that is actually true.
Since Anthony was acquired in February 2011, Knicks fans have been waiting for the partnership to flourish. And now, unfortunately, they will have to wait a little longer – at least another six weeks.
In the meantime, the Knicks will begin the season without Stoudemire. As New York attempts to get back to business as usual in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the show must go on, as they say on Broadway.
With or without Stoudemire.
By the time he returns, we will have an idea of how good this Knicks team is without him. What we won’t know is how good they would have been with him.
Yet another prolonged absence for Stoudemire. For now, we know what the Knicks must do. But when he’s ready to return? We don’t have a clue.
Are Anthony and Stoudemire a dynamic duo? Or just two expensive pieces that don’t mesh particularly well? We don’t know, but this season, we will find out.
Eventually, Woodson will show us.
An interesting dilemma, indeed.
Moke Hamilton is a Senior NBA Columnist for SheridanHoops.com whose columns appear here on Fridays. Follow him on Twitter.
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