Before Carmelo Anthony forced his way out of Denver and became the face of the New York Knicks, Amar’e Stoudemire was there first. He signed a max free agent contract the summer before the 2010-11 season, becoming the first major star talent to come to the Knicks to begin the franchise’s turnaround.
The reason Stoudemire wasn’t offered the same deal to stay in Phoenix was due to his previous knee injuries, which not only left his future contract uninsurable, but also served as a warning sign to team medical personnel that the problems may resurface a few years down the road.
Unfortunately for Stoudemire, that’s exactly what’s happened. He was limited last season, and looks to be limited in the upcoming one, as well. But Anthony may not have found New York to be as desirable a destination without another superstar already in tow, so it’s no surprise he feels a kinship with Stoudemire, and a disappointment with the way his injury situation continues to play out.
Anthony says the chance to play with Stoudemire was “one of the reasons I wanted to come to New York.”
So it’s difficult for Anthony to watch Stoudemire struggle with another knee injury.
“As a friend, it’s hard for me to sit back and act like it doesn’t bother me because I know how hard of a worker he is [and] I know the time that he puts in the gym to train and rehab,” Anthony said Tuesday. “To see him go forward and then take some steps back every time, it’s just sad.”
The Knicks have largely moved on from a personnel standpoint, and have added other pieces to fill Stoudemire’s role until he’s able to return at full strength. Unfortunately for everyone involved, that’s something that seems less and less likely as time goes on.