The summer of 2010 will go down as one of the most memorable in Suns franchise history. The organization had a big decision to make; sign Amar’e Stoudemire to a long-term contract despite the concern over his knees or eyes or let walk and sign elsewhere?
More than two years have past and we all know what STAT’s decision ended up being. Stoudemire left Phoenix for the Big Apple to join his former head coach Mike D’Antoni and become the face of the Knicks franchise.
It wasn’t without Robert Sarver and company trying though. The Suns owner offered Stoudemire a deal similar to what he ended up getting with the Knicks, but with certain provisions and protections in case the power forward had an issue with his eyes or with his knees. Stoudemire didn’t like it and took the guaranteed cash with the Knicks.
In his first season in New York, Stoudemire had an MVP caliber season for the Knicks. Stoudemire averaged 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists and help led his new team to their first postseason birth in six seasons.
That postseason was just the beginning of a rash of injuries for the 29-year-old though. During the four-game sweep by the Boston Celtics in the first round, Stoudemire had to deal with a back injury. In Game’s 2 and 3, Stoudemire had only a total of 11 points and played just over 50 minutes, both Knicks losses.
Stoudemire’s back injury would flare up again last season. He would only play in 47 of the Knicks 66 regular season games. STAT also suffered a self-inflicted hand injury after Game 2 of the Knicks playoff series against the Miami Heat, which would require him to miss the following game. New York would go on to lose the first round series in five games.
His third season in the Big Apple hasn’t gotten off to a good start. The Knicks are already battling all sorts of injuries and Stoudemire is one of them. He is expected to miss the first week or two of the season because of a ruptured cyst in his left knee.
Because of all the injuries and three years left remaining on his deal, Stoudemire was placed second on ESPN’s list of the NBA’s worst contracts just behind Gilbert Arenas. The article written by Justin Verrier came out early Thursday morning.
Here is what Verrier had to say about Stoudemire.
2. Amare Stoudemire, five years, $99.7 million: Stoudemire’s deal reeked of desperation from the outset; after whiffing on LeBron James et al., in 2010’s free-agent bonanza, the Knicks needed to overpay so they didn’t come away empty-handed. Now it’s wreaking all types of havoc on New York’s finances. Things started well, with Amare looking like an MVP candidate early in 2010-11, but now he can’t stay on the court — which, given his diminishing skills and the fact that he blocks Carmelo Anthony at the 4, may actually be his best position.
Verrier hits on the head. LBJ was the main guy that the Knicks wanted during the summer of 2010. Once he signed with the Heat, the Knicks then turned to Stoudemire and gave ton a money to a guy with a long history past in Phoenix.
Before the Anthony acquisition, the Knicks were an updated version of the “Seven Seconds or Less.” Stoudemire was in the middle, Raymond Felton was playing point and guys like Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Landry Fields were out on the wings. All of that changed after New York got Anthony and the Knicks haven’t been the same since and Stoudemire hasn’t been able to stay on the floor.
Looking back, the Suns made the right decision to not sign Stoudemire to a long-term deal. Sarver made very poor decisions in trading for Hedo Turkoglu and signing Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick to replace STAT’s production, but Phoenix has been able to get rid of those contracts and the organization has flexibility going forward.
No one could have predicted all these injuries that Stoudemire has had since he put on a Knicks uniform, but the odds were much in favor of him missing games than staying completely healthy during the entire five years of his deal. Sarver knew that and he did the smart thing of putting provisions in that deal he gave to Stoudemire.
As for Stoudemire, lets hope he can get back healthy and help the Knicks win some games. His time in the Valley will never be forgotten by Phoenix fans and one day he will put in the Suns ring of honor.