The Knicks will give Amare Stoudemire nearly $100 million over five years. As a fan of one of the worst NBA franchises over the last decade, we’re fine with it. Stoudemire, at that price, is not a terrible signing. In fact, it’s a good one.
1) A week ago, the Knicks were seriously looking at getting completely shut out in free agency. They weren’t getting LeBron or Wade. In the last few weeks, getting Chris Bosh turned into a massive longshot.
2) The Knicks would have had to pay somebody. After the big three, is there a better free agent than Stoudemire, a guy who may not play a ton of defense, but will give you 23-9, is much more of a “presence” inside than David Lee, and is only 27? You may try to debate Carlos Boozer or Rudy Gay or Joe Johnson, but we’ll go with Stoudemire. [The Knicks would have been hammered, and rightly so, if they had given a max deal to Boozer, Gay, or Johnson.]
3) A lot of folks seem hung up on this question: Is Amare that much of an upgrade over David Lee? Bad question, and here’s why – someone has to pay David Lee. It’ll be interesting to see what he gets, but we’ll guess it’ll be somewhere in between $8-$12 million a year (especially if scrubs like Drew Gooden and Amir Johnson are getting $5-6 million a year). Lee is only six months younger than Amare, and let the record show that while we like Lee, he posted 20-11 and 16-11 the last two years mostly because the Knicks had nobody in the frontcourt. Somebody has to collect those rebounds and score those garbage points. This is not to say Lee will be a bust at his next stop, but if he goes to a team with actual talent, we expect that scoring to be cut in half and then you basically have Troy Murphy without the range.
4) “Amare’s worth if it … if he can deliver another player!” Another popular sentiment today. Mostly disagree with this, too. Again, the Knicks had to sign somebody. They needed bodies, and definitely someone with star quality (which Amare clearly is). Amare is a good guy to pay (assuming he stays healthy, which is a big if) and any “recruitment” he did after that would be a huge bonus. Tony Parker would work. Carmelo Anthony would obviously work. But we’re not banking on either of those happening (low expectations is key).
5) Best case scenario next for the Knicks: Trade Eddy Curry’s expiring deal somewhere for a point guard – in an ideal world, Parker, Chris Paul, or Gilbert Arenas would work (yes, we’re aware that’s the stuff dreams are made of) – and then go into next season with a starting lineup of a star point guard, role player SG who can shoot (?), Gallanari, Amare, defensive-minded center who excels at rebounding. That’s a playoff team in the East.