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.
From Ian Begley of ESPN New York:
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.
Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.
He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:
In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”
“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.
The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.
Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.
Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.
General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.
McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.