ESPN has the Knicks at 37% underdogs to win tonight? For serious?
Much has been written about Amar’e’s history of injuries, surgeries, how Phoenix, who once drafted amar’e in 2002 (Scott Layden’s Knicks picked Nene two spots ahead of Phoenix, only to trade Nene away for bust Antonio McDyess) was concerned about years four and five of the $95 million dollar deal they had on the table for Stoudemire this past summer of 2010.
Soudemire’s concern with Phoenix’s offer was legitimate: if the paychecks he receives in years four and five are determined by the number of minutes he gets, who is to say the coach won’t play him less at the request of the GM? Phoenix put these clauses into the offer to protect themselves in case Amar’e re injures himself, obviously Amar’e is going to feel more comfortable inking a fully guaranteed 5 year, 100-million dollar contract. “I wanted an NBA contract,” Amar’e was later quoted as saying in regards to the deal Donnie Walsh signed Stoudemire to.
Lets face it: it is not just Steve Kerr and Robert Sarver that are hoping Stoudemire injurs himself so that they are proven right. Plenty of NBA analysts threw dirt in Stodemire’s face this summer in the 2010-2011 season previews. A typical Knicks season preview started with “well, they lost out on LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh, but Knicks fans can look forward to Amar’e Stoudemire for as long as his body holds up.” The world is full of skeptics, not just in Phoenix, but in New York, and everywhere in between.
Somewhere in all of the fallout is Nash, former two time NBA MVP, who re-inked with Phoenix for no good reason it seems. Nash is extremely loyal to Phoenix, but Phoenix has since blown up the team and Nash is looking at possibly missing the playoffs for the first time in a long time while Amar’e is looking forward to giving New York their first playoff appearance in almost a decade.
Amar’e is 28 years old, has had six surgeries–both knees and eye socket surgery, but New York fans are enjoying his excellent play and leadership, and Amar’e has mastered that midrange jumper that helps New York close out victories in the fourth quarter.
Donnie Walsh wants another chance at a title, and it is on James Dolan to extend Walsh’s contract in order for Walsh to have that opportunity. New York isn’t that far away from the gold. A little more emphasis on defense and rebounding and the Knicks are right there with the top three teams in the Eastern conference: Miami, Boston and Orlando.
Chicago and Atlanta may be ahead of New York in the standings at the moment, but New York is already better than both teams right now. Chicago, even when healthy, can’t shoot, and are the antithesis of New York with Tom T. running the show. They play an antiquated style of basketball, the Knicks of the 90′s basketball, which doesn’t work in today’s game because the rules of the game are ever-evolving, and Mr. Stern would like to see the league play more up-tempo, perhaps influenced by D’Antoni’s innovative SSoL during his Phoenix days.
Walsh was smart enough to see the trend and book the man who branded they style.
Speaking of Mike D’Antoni, here is a Suns blog that has a poll Gentry vs. D’Antoni. Who do you think won? Their arguement is that Gentry has won more in the playoffs, whereas Mike D’Antoni didn’t go very far even when his teams won 60 games in the regular season. This is a very Steve Kerr kind of way to think. Steve Kerr, as in, get Shaq, and get rid of D’Antoni, then we’ll do better. Kerr, how do you like them now?
Enjoy the game fellas. Should be a good one. In fact, the subplot of Amar’e returning to Phoenix is only mildly interesting to me. I just love to watch this team that Donnie has put together, could care less about Phoenix except I hope they show some love for Amar’e. Kerr and Sarver really screwed up that franchise and they’re basically haters now wishing Amar’e would get hurt so they don’t like buffoons any more.
Hey Kerr, here’s a mirror.