New York: Amar’e – The $100 Million Man
All of you should already know that the New York Knicks landed the first big time free agent to switch teams this summer. That man is Amar’e Stoudemire. The Knicks signed Stoudemire to a max contract for 5 years worth about $100 million… Not to shabby for a guy without a college education. The funny thing about this signing is that my non-Knick fan friends have no idea whether to offer me condolences or congratulate me for the signing.
Before I dissect this, let’s delve into a little history between James Dolan’s team and his new $100 million man. Amar’e is a guy that the Knicks passed on back in the 2002 NBA Draft. New York had the 7th pick in draft, choosing to by-pass Amar’e for the great Nene Hilario…..Amar’e was taken two picks later by the Suns and became one of just three players drafted in the first round that year to be named to an all-star team.
The Knickerbockers then made the brilliant move of trading Hilario, Marcus Camby, and NBA Finals announcer extraordinaire Mark Jackson for, wait for it…… Antonio McDyess. Then Knicks GM, Scott Layden said at the time, “Antonio McDyess is the kind of talent that improves our team immediately by adding size, strength and versatility…” Yeah, not so much Scottie…..
Why am I spending so much time talking about Antonio McDyess when this blog post is supposed to be talking about Amar’e? Well, if you can’t already tell, I see striking similarities between the two moves. When the Knicks got McDyess, he was 27 years old and had spent 7 years in the league. McDyess had career averages of 17.6 ppg and 8.7 rpg. Not too shabby. But with the Knicks, Antonio only managed to play 18 games with staunching numbers of 8.4 ppg and 6.6 rpg. Not exactly what the Knicks bargained for.
Just like McDyess, Amar’e is 27, and trust me he’s an OLD 27 if you can believe that. Those knees, those eyes, and whatever other problems we don’t even know about….not that of a 27 year old. Now I’m not saying that Amar’e is only going to play 18 games with the Knicks, I really hope it’s a lot more and even if he gets close to the 21+ ppg that he averages for his career I’ll be happy. I just look at this Amar’e signing and look at the McDyess acquisition from 7 years ago a see almost the same player. I really hope I’m wrong.
However, there are a lot of Knicks fans that are really excited about this move. I mean the guy does average over 21 ppg for his career and has played in 5 all-star games. I can understand where these Knicks fans are coming from. And believe it or not, I too have some level of excitement with this move. In part, it does mean that the Knicks are back. After 9 losing seasons of pain and agony, the Knicks once again may be a relevant cog in the NBA, with an emphasis on the word may. I now draw another comparison, this time to a free agent signing. I’m going to cross sports to hard ball and hop on the Long Island Rail Road to Flushing where we meet another band of lovable losers known as the New York Metropolitans.
In 2004, the Mets signed free agent pitcher Pedro Martinez to a 4 year, $53 million contract. There was no doubt in my mind that this contract, just like the Amar’e Stoudamire contract was too much money for too many years. However, the signing of Pedro Martinez meant one thing for baseball in flushing, the Mets now meant business. This message was heard loud and clear around the league and the overpayment of Pedro Martinez is what eventually convinced then prized free agent Carlos Beltran to join Pedro in New York. Now I’m not going to sit here and say the Mets have made nothing but screwed investments since then (cough cough Oliver Perez) but the overvaluation of Pedro did serve a purpose.
Now, if the signing of the Amar’e Stoudemire can play any role at all in bringing LeBron to New York, I will love him forever, even if he only plays 18 games.amar'e stoudemire, jake mastbaum, new york knicks, View from the Slope