Amare Stoudemire is a member of the Erie Bayhawks of the D-League.
The team announced the move Tuesday but Stoudemire is not going to play a game for Erie — this was simply about getting him some workouts. Stoudemire has been cleared to practice following his knee surgery (to deal with a ruptured popliteal cyst) just before the season started. However, the Knicks are light on practices while the Bayhawks are getting in a series of workouts this week at the MSG Training Center in Greenburgh, N.Y.
So, Stoudemire is going to get his run in — and see how he responds — with the Bayhawks.
If all goes well he could join the Knicks soon, maybe by Christmas when the Knicks travel across the country to take on the Lakers on national television (Los Angeles should have Pau Gasol and Steve Nash back for that game).
Stoudemire is not alone, Chris Copeland and James White also were assigned to the Bayhawks. Copeland is coming off a 29-point game where he was the lone bright spot for the Knicks in a Monday night loss to Houston.
Once Stoudemire does return he will start coming off the bench (to keep Carmelo Anthony starting at the four where he has played so well). It will fall to Mike Woodson to come up with rotations and systems that work with both Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony on the court. That is the bid challenge ahead of the Knicks in January.
But it’s nice to do that from 18-6 and atop the Eastern Conference. They have some margin for error.