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Amar’e Stoudemire could return to Knicks on Jan. 1


Could the New York Knicks ring in 2013 with Amar’e Stoudemire?

The New York Knicks host the Portland Trail Blazers on New Years Day (which is fine because nobody in New York cares about college football anyway). And Stoudemire told Al Iannazzone of Newsday that could be against the Trail Blazers (via Sulia):

Amar’e Stoudemire finally has a realistic target date for his season debut following knee surgery. He said Jan. 1, 2013 is “a possibility.” It’s the first time Stoudemire has used a specific date.

The Knicks have the challenge of fitting Stoudemire into a rotation where Carmelo Anthony has thrived at the four spot. Tyson Chandler is clearly a five, so the question is how you get spacing on the floor with the three of them while getting them all to play to their strengths.

But with the Knicks three-point shooting coming back to earth (31 percent in their last five games combined) another guy who can attack the paint and has to be accounted for that way could help. We will see. Maybe starting in a week.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.