David Lee a Better Choice Than Amar’e Stoudemire For the New York Knicks


With the end of Amar’e Stoudemire’s contract now on the horizon, taking a look back at why he was brought here in the first place and what the return on investment for the New York Knicks has been seems appropriate. Perhaps much of it has been forgotten, but all of the intangibles should be discussed and just what Stoudemire’s presence has – and has not – been in the Big Apple.

In the summer of 2010, he opted out of his contract with the Phoenix Suns and was signed to a five-year, $99.7 million contract to resurrect a dying franchise. This was also the same time as “The Decision,” which was the dog and pony show surrounding LeBron James and where he would end up as a free agent.

The Knicks were frothing at the mouth for King James – as everyone was – and knew that it would take a welcoming committee to get the star to come to Madison Square Garden. So Stoudemire was signed for his own talent, of course, but it is very questionable if he would have been brought in and given a huge contract if James was also not on the open market.

David Lee was already on the team as the starting power forward and although he may not have the flair of a Stoudemire, the guy was an automatic double-double every single night. Besides, he was a fan favorite for his hustle and had a cap-friendly contract. But once Stoudemire agreed to his deal, Lee was shipped off to the Golden State Warriors, where he remains and has done exactly what he did in New York.

Most importantly, Lee has remained healthy for the most part while Stoudemire has continued to have injury problems like he did in Phoenix. He underwent knee microfracture surgery in 2005 and his knees have been a chronic problem ever since. He has also dealt with ankle sprains, bulging discs in his back and two separate eye injuries.

Although he is only 32 years old, Stoudemire’s body has a lot of mileage on it, being that he entered the NBA in 2002 straight out of high school. So that means needing nights off for rest, issues playing back-to-back games and being at less than 100 percent when he is in the line-up.

Stoudemire averaged 21.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in his first eight seasons in the NBA with the Suns. Compare that to the last five with New York, where his averages dropped to 17.4 and 6.7. And he has only made the All-Star team in his first season here, with five previous trips to the midseason gala as a Sun. To his credit, though, the Knicks did qualify for the playoffs in three consecutive seasons with Stoudemire.

On the other hand, Lee’s numbers have jumped from 13.0 and 9.6 as a Knick to 17.7 and 9.8 with the Warriors. He is a two-time All-Star and signed a $79 million contract over six years in 2010.

Knowing what they know now, would the Knicks have brought in Stoudemire for all that money and traded away a solid player to make room for him? Unless they deal Stoudemire and get something good in return for his expiring contract, these transactions appear like a resounding mistake for the Knicks.

Next: Ranking the Top 25 New York Athletes of 2014