Report: Knicks have had internal discussions about buying out Amar’e Stoudemire

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He was the biggest free agent signing the Knicks had made in a while and he, along with Mike D’Antoni, were going to turn around the Knicks. Sure, he was the second choice back in 2010 when LeBron James chose Miami, but he was still seen as a guy key to the Knicks future by many.

Oh, how things look different five years later.

Amar’e Stoudemire has been out since Christmas with a sore knee and since the Knicks are waiving the white flag on this season and making sure their pick has value — or, if you prefer, getting their young players experience — the franchise has talked about buying out the rest of Stoudemire’s $23.4 million contract (the last of his five-year, $100 million deal), reports Ian Begley at ESPNNewYork.com.

Amar’e Stoudemire plans to return to the New York Knicks’ lineup Thursday on their British detour against the Milwaukee Bucks. How much longer he remains a Knick is now up for debate….

The Knicks, sources told ESPN.com recently, are not looking to move Stoudemire and, at least for now, intend to keep him for the rest of the season.

But sources say they have discussed internally the possibility of buying out Stoudemire to let him play for a contender if he preferred that route. Stoudemire, of course, would have to agree to such a transaction.

What that really means: If Stoudemire is willing to save the Knicks some cash and take a discount on what he is owed to be bought out, the Knicks would be willing to set him free.

It’s just that Stoudemire may not want that. He says in the story he wants to be loyal to the Knicks. It is possible the Knicks just waive him after the trade deadline — they are shopping him but moving that contract will be difficult.

Despite his long history of knee and other injuries, other teams may give Stoudemire a shot if he’d play for the minimum because when he has played this season he’s played well — 13.1 points a game on 55.8 percent shooting, with a PER of 19.7. He could be a nice veteran role player on a good team. The problem has just been staying healthy and on the court.

My guess is that Stoudemire stays and keeps getting those checks. But keep an eye on the situation.