Amar’e Stoudemire plans to play beyond current contract with Knicks

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Amar’e Stoudemire is in the final year of a contract with the Knicks, one that will pay him more than $23 million for the upcoming season, but was uninsurable due to his history of serious injuries.

New York is undoubtedly looking forward to having Stoudemire’s deal come off the books at the end of the upcoming campaign, since it no longer reflects the level of contribution he provides to the team, and hasn’t now for the past three seasons.

But Stoudemire claims to be feeling healthy once again, and if he can stay that way, he’ll attempt to continue his NBA career — either on a new and substantially discounted contract with the Knicks, or perhaps somewhere else.

From Peter Botte of the New York Daily News:

“I feel great. My body feels great. I worked extremely hard this offseason to be in top shape and be there full-time. But my body feels great. I feel confident. Hopefully it pans out well,” Stoudemire said. …

Even with Carmelo Anthony’s new $124 million contract, Stoudemire remains the Knicks’ highest-paid player this season at $23.4 million. The Knicks are counting on his and Andrea Bargnani’s expiring deals for increased salary-cap space next summer, but Stoudemire added Tuesday that he expects to play beyond this contract.

“For sure, this is definitely not the last year for myself. I feel like the work I put in this offseason and the way I feel now is great motivation for me to continue to play,” Stoudemire said. “I want to be healthy regardless. Whether it is my last year or not, my children (are) excited to watch me play, my family still loves watching basketball and seeing me out there, so I do it for them. I continue to work hard to try to improve every single season. I battled through injuries, I persevered, stayed strong and stayed positive to be successful. With all the hard work, I am sure it will pay off this season.”

Stoudemire was limited in the first part of last season, but finished strong, appearing in the starting lineup in 20 of New York’s final 22 games while averaging in the neighborhood of 16 points and 28 minutes during that span.

Remaining healthy has been Stoudemire’s biggest challenge throughout what’s still been a largely stellar career that’s now entering its 13th season. If his injury issues have truly become a thing of the past, Stoudemire will have offers long after his current contract is finished, albeit at a dollar amount that will be much more palatable for teams, and in line with his current level of production.