Jacob Eisenberg details four realistic trade possibilities that.
The Knicks are not the championship caliber team they had hoped to be when they acquired Tyson Chandler last off-season.
Trading Amar’e Stoudemire would be a step in that direction. Even though Stoudemire is a big reason why the Knicks are finally relevant, he has worn out his welcome in New York. You can blame it on injuries and bad luck, but the simple truth is that the Knicks were not good enough to beat the Heat in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Even if Stoudemire had successfully avoided the fire extinguisher, the team did not stand a chance against in Miami.
Here is the saddest part of the Knicks’ embarrassing playoff defeat: their title window is already closing. Carmelo Anthony is only getting older and Tyson Chandler throws his body around dangerously every single game; it seems like the team will always be hampered with injuries. If the Knicks keep their current roster intact for the next season as Stoudemire wants them to, they will be unable to afford Jeremy Lin when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2013. Therefore, it is imperative for the Knicks to trade Amar’e Stoudemire right now to maintain salary flexibility for the future.
Critics and analysts will argue that Stoudemire is untradeable. After all, no team came close to matching the Knicks’ offer to Stoudemire in free agency in 2010 because many believed New York overspent. He has three years and $65 million left on his contract and has had a wide array of injuries over the span of his NBA career. Currently, Stoudemire sports a severed hand, suspect knees, and an aching back. These injuries vindicated the GMs around the league who claimed the Knicks were making a bad investment when they signed him.
However, with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s (CBA) Amnesty Provision, teams now have the opportunity to release one player from the roster unconditionally without the player’s remaining contract counting against the team’s salary cap. Unfortunately for the Knicks, the team already used the amnesty on Chauncey Billups to make salary space for Tyson Chandler. Now, the team is stuck with Stoudemire.
Despite common perception, there is, in fact, a way for the Knicks to clear Stoudemire’s contract. The Knicks would have to sell Stoudemire for change on the dollar but clearing his salary will certainly benefit the Knicks for the future.
A large portion of teams in the league would be uninterested in Stoudemire. Teams like the Bulls, Thunder, Lakers, and Heat already have their championship caliber rosters in place. For up-and-coming teams such as the Timberwolves, Nuggets, and Jazz, acquiring Stoudemire would do more harm than good to their teams’ chemistries. Furthermore, teams like the Hornets and Kings already have a blueprint in place for their teams’ futures yet do not figure to be competing until Stoudemire’s contract is up and would find no appeal in his large contract.
Lastly, you can wipe the Suns, Pistons, and Bucks off of the Knicks’ radar, as these teams would not be able to offer packages that would appeal to New York.
This means that the Knicks can really only trade Stoudemire to one of four different teams: the Rockets, Wizards, 76ers, and Bobcats.
In no particular order, here are four realistic trades involving Amar’e Stoudemire that would make sense for both parties:
1. Amar’e Stoudemire (3 years – $65 Million) for Kevin Martin (1 year – $13 Million) and Marcus Morris (rookie contract).
Why New York should do it:
The Knicks desperately need a consistent shooter. Enter Kevin Martin. For years, Martin has been one of the best-kept secrets in the NBA. From consistently putting up around twenty points a game to shooting well over 35% from three-point range, Martin would provide much needed offense for New York. Furthermore, Martin’s 6’7” length allows him to match up with small forwards on defense, which would enable the Knicks to slide Anthony to power forward and further space the floor. Adding the 22-year-old Marcus Morris would also give the Knicks a young piece to develop for the future. Most importantly, however, Martin’s expiring contract will give the Knicks plenty of cap space in the summer of 2013 to pursue a big name free agent such as Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, James Harden, or Josh Smith. In the short term, New York would also save enough money from the trade to offer new contracts to Landry Fields, Steve Novak, and J.R Smith (should he opt-out of his current deal.)
Why the Rockets should do it:
Ever since David Stern foiled the Rockets’ attempt to acquire Pau Gasol last offseason, Houston has been searching for a big-name superstar. While Stoudemire is not quite as good as Gasol, his name recognition would surely entice Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey. Now that Stoudemire is so readily available, it would make sense for the Rockets to trade for the All-Star while his price tag is at an all time low.
Why the trade wouldn’t happen:
The reason why the Rockets were so eager to take on Pau Gasol’s contract last offseason was because they were also going to ship off Louis Scola’s large contract in the trade. By adding Stoudemire without trading Scola, the Rockets would be log-jamming themselves with power forwards and centers. With a roster already comprised of Scola, Samuel Dalembert, Patrick Patterson, and Marcus Camby (who has expressed interest in re-signing), it is unlikely the Rockets would want to add another big man. They could, however, amnesty Scola and his large contract upon acquiring Stoudemire.
2. Amar’e Stoudemire (3 years – $65 Million) for Rashard Lewis (1 year – $23 million), Chris Singleton (rookie contract), and a top-seven protected future draft pick.
Why the Knicks should do it:
While Lewis is well past his prime, he is still an effective corner three-point shooter and can provide veteran leadership to the Knicks. In the trade, however, the Knicks would certainly be more excited about adding the young Chris Singleton. Although he is just 22, Singleton could quickly become a rotation player in New York. After all, the Knicks strongly considered drafting him over Iman Shumpert in 2011. Singleton’s length and quickness would give the Knicks an added dimension on defense that could become valuable in the playoffs. Most importantly, Lewis’ $23 Million comes off the books next summer and would give the Knicks a strong chance to be active in the summer of 2013. Lastly, the future draft pick alongside Singleton would give Knicks’ GM Glen Grunwald a nice foundation for the future.
Why the Wizards should do it:
PG. John Wall
SG. Jordan Crawford
SF. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Projected)
PF. Amar’e Stoudemire
Now, that is a playoff-caliber starting five. By acquiring Stoudemire without having to trade their lottery pick or John Wall, the Wizards would instantly become an electrifying contender in the Eastern Conference. While Stoudemire is a poor rebounder and defender, Nene and Kidd-Gilchrist’s tenacities on the boards and on defense more than makes up for it. Furthermore, Stoudemire is excellent in the pick-and-roll and could help John Wall reach his All-Star potential. With one trade, the Wizards can go from cellar-dwellar’s to contenders.
Why it is unlikely:
While the trade would work out well for the Knicks in the long run, it is unlikely the recently hired Grunwald would be willing to make such a high-profile trade so quickly. Furthermore, Wizard’s Owner Ted Leonsis already has $52 Million committed to Nene over the next four seasons and would be wary of committing over $110 Million combined to two big-men who have had health concerns in the past. Still, a starting five that good in Washington may be hard for Leonsis to pass up.
3. Amar’e Stoudemire (3 years – $65 Million) for Elton Brand (1 year – $19 Million)
Why the Knicks do it:
Acquiring Brand would immediately give the Knicks a better defender and rebounder at power forward than Stoudemire. New York would also see Brand’s contract expire in time for them to pursue a top free agent in 2013 without necessarily compromising their team’s success in the short term. Furthermore, Brand, a New York native, has developed an elite mid-range jump shot, which would immediately give the Knicks better floor spacing.
Why the Sixers should do it:
The Sixers already have a playoff team in place. However, when it comes to the closing minutes of a game, Philadelphia lacks an offensive star they can count on. With Stoudemire, the Sixers would have the proven go-to scorer they need to seriously compete in the playoffs. With the Sixers’ leading scorer, Louis Williams, looking to opt-out of his contract after this season, Philadelphia will need to bolster their offense in some way. By swapping Brand’s defense for Amar’e’s offense, the Sixers would be able to maintain their high level offensive attack.
Why it is unlikely:
The Sixers and Knicks are division rivals. A trade of this magnitude between two rivals would be unprecedented. In a trade like this where both rivals get better, both teams would be cautious to help each other out. Furthermore, the Sixers would be wary to commit money to Stoudemire when they still need to sign Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner to long term contracts.
4. Amar’e Stoudemire (3 years $65 Million) for Corey Maggette (1 year – $11 Million) and D.J. Augustin (1 year – $4 Million qualifying offer)
Why the Knicks should do it:
Acquiring the small forward Maggette would enable the Knicks to move Carmelo Anthony to power forward – a position he dominates more naturally these days. Adding Augustin would also give New York a backcourt duo of Jeremy Lin and D.J. Augustin, which could solve their problems at the point guard position once and for all. After all, the last time the Knicks took a point guard from the Bobcats, it worked out very nicely. Augustin has proven he can shoot the basketball well and has always been agood playmaker. With Maggette the Knicks would get an athletic defender and capable shooter to matchup with opposing stars in the postseason. If the duo of Maggette and Augustin does not work out in New York, the Knicks could let them walk in Free Agency in 2013 and maintain cap-flexibility. In the short term, New York would save enough money in the trade to retain Landry Fields and Steve Novak.
Why the Bobcats should do it:
Michael Jordan is tired of losing. With a roster that can’t seem to do a single thing right, acquiring Stoudemire would instantly give the Bobcats a spark. Should Charlotte get lucky in the lottery and win the rights to Anthony Davis, the Bobcats would suddenly find themselves with a promising nucleus of Stoudemire, Davis, and Kemba Walker.
Why it’s unlikely:
In theory, trading Stoudemire for two starting-caliber rotation players is a steal. However, because Maggette and Augustin lack name-recognition in New York, it remains to be seen how the fans would react. Charlotte would be reluctant to trade Augustin, one of the best players in franchise history. However, with Jordan being unsuccessful in recruiting stars to come to Charlotte so far through free agency, it would make sense for him to seize this opportunity to land his first proven star.
Trading Stoudemire will be difficult, but not impossible for the Knicks. If New Yorkers can recognize that the current roster does not equate to a championship caliber team, they should understand why trading Stoudemire to clear salary space for the future is so imperative. With the clocks ticking on Anthony and Chandler’s primes, the Knicks have to take action to improve their roster immediately.
Jacob Eisenberg writes for The Fan Manifesto. He can be followed on Twitter @Eisenberg43. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally Published on TheFanManifesto.com on 05/13/12