With Amar’e Stoudemire still clearly not at 100% strength, the frustration with the other New York Knicks superstar, Carmelo Anthony, is reaching an increasingly high level.
As noted by Brett Pollakoff from Pro Basketball Talk at NBCSports.com, one of the original major motivations for Anthony to pursue his trade from the Denver Nuggets to join the Knicks was their recent signing of Stoudemire, the talented and explosive power forward who was playing at a torrid level before Anthony’s arrival.
Per Basketball-Reference’s website, Stoudemire was averaging 26.1 points per game, 8.6 rebounds per game and 2.7 assists per game before the trade for Anthony. He shot 50.7% from the floor on 19 attempts per game and was also averaging eight free-throws per game on 78.9% shooting.
It seemed as if the $100 million contract (which was uninsured) he signed to undertake the role of Knicks’ franchise player would be justified, even against all claims that his knees would not hold up.
However, we counted our chickens a bit too early in this case. Since the Anthony trade, Stoudemire has suffered a bevy of injuries to his knees requiring three surgeries with the most recent coming this summer. This uninsured contract is now a giant financial burden against the team’s cap space if Stoudemire cannot return to even 75% of his previously stellar form.
The bigger burden lies with Anthony. He had hoped to conquer New York and the NBA with his sidekick, Stoudemire, but for most of his stay in the Big Apple, he has been disappointingly without said help due to these injuries. Lesser players like J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton have stepped up in frequent instances but do not possess the talent or capability that Stoudemire had, or even still may have left.
And so, this latest setback in Stoudemire’s injury saga is understandably saddening and difficult for Carmelo, the Knicks’ lone wolf. For now, he must go it alone again and we must be ready for more heavy usage of Anthony on offense.