Amare’s Stoudemire can’t stay healthy, a serious problem

Amare_stoudemireComing off a strong pre-season performance against Toronto, there was optimism around Amar’e Stoudemire and his impact on these 2012-2013 Knicks. That optimism will be tested once more as Stoudemire will again miss time with yet another injury. It turns out than an MRI on Stoudemire’s “bruised knee” shows that the $100 million Knick has a ruptured popliteal cyst in his knee. Here is the 411 on a Baker’s cyst from MayoClinic.com:

A Baker’s cyst is a fluid-filled cyst that causes a bulge and a feeling of tightness behind your knee. The pain can get worse when you fully flex or extend your knee or when you’re active.

A Baker’s cyst, also called a popliteal (pop-LIT-e-ul) cyst, is usually the result of a problem with your knee joint, such as arthritis or a cartilage tear. Both conditions can cause your knee to produce too much fluid, which can lead to a Baker’s cyst.

Although a Baker’s cyst may cause swelling and make you uncomfortable, treating the probable underlying problem usually provides relief.

So this sounds pretty bad to me. The Knicks, being the honest, competent training staff that they are, say Stoudemire will be out 2-3 weeks. More realistically, I think we could see Stoudemire miss far more time than that, especially if he has a cartilage tear. Make no mistake, this is not a good thing for the Knicks.

Granted, there can be some positives taken out of this. Stoudemire’s injury will allow Mike Woodson the ability to play Carmelo Anthony at power forward. We all saw how great Anthony was in that spot last year when he spurred New York’s late season playoff run. Not only did Anthony create matchup nightmares for opponents at power forward, but he was much better defending opposing 4′s as well. Also, in theory Stoudemire’s injury would make it easier for Mike Woodson to relegate him to the bench upon his return. However, Stoudemire has been injured before and he is yet to come off the bench with the Knicks.

There can be positives taken from it, but Stoudemire’s injury is a big problem for this Knicks team. At some point, Stoudemire will come back. Whether it is later this season or next season, he wil have to play with Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. This was supposed to be the year where they got a full training camp and pre-season together and that has not happened. Stoudemire also will have limited chemistry with two of the Knicks three new point guards. For all Stoudemire’s problems, there is a reason the Knicks paid him $100 million. He is an offensive beast and for a team that isn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, the Knicks need his scoring. We all know how great Carmelo Anthony can be, but he can’t do it on his own (although that may not stop him from trying). The Knicks need that dominant 1-2 punch that Donnie Walsh envisioned when he put these two stars together on the same team. Stoudemire’s injury also places 40 year old Kurt Thomas in a position to have more a bigger role on the team. I love Thomas, but I don’t think he is a guy who should be playing significant minutes. Not to mention that Marcus Camby is also injured, meaning Thomas may see time at center as well. Chris Copeland is an option, but we have yet to see him play serious NBA games. Renaldo Balkman was also great in pre-season last year and we all know how that turned out. Rasheed Wallace is an option in the front court as well, but he hasn’t even gotten on the court yet. Read more…

Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire makes his preseason debut

Amare_stoudemireGuys, the Knicks lost a preseason game. The season is totally over, like, really. Kill everything with fire. Panic mode: ENGAGE. Hold up a second, that’s what Nets fans are saying right now because they lost two preseason games in a row. BOOM. Obviously, I’m just kidding about the Knicks, but it’s funny enough that there are people who are already panicking in preseason form. This is the first time the Knicks faced the new Raptors young gun core, which included my current tall Lithuanian hero, or the other STAT, Jonas Valanciunas (I’m Lithuanian. Screw you, Linas Kleiza). That other guy that was being made fun of because of his execrable jump shot last season, particularly from beyond the arc, and just in general, Landry Fields, faced his former team for the first time as well. In case you didn’t watch this game, you didn’t really miss anything new. Actually, you did miss something important. This important thing I’m talking about is Amare’s preseason debut. Oh wait, I forgot! There’s another VERY substantial occurrence you also missed. Kurt Thomas was tagged with a technical foul. Ah ha! That’s what I was thinking about all this time! Anyways, here are some more notes:

  • As I just mentioned, Amare Stoudemire made his preseason debut after being out for the first two preseason games with soreness. His new and improved post game that he had worked on with Hakeem Olajuwon over the summer didn’t really appear that much in the game, but when it did, it was mediocre. Watching Amare’s post game was like watching a Milli Vanilli music video. It seemed like he was predetermining himself more than performing fluid natural movements. Since Amare only displayed his new post game approximately 2 times, I’ll let it slide. On one of Amare’s post possessions, he performed a beautiful spin move to the basket, which was then rejected by Jonas Valanciunas. I know Amare’s post game can improve. Again, being judgmental over preseason games is like saying you can drive a car with an empty oil tank.  There were flashes of Amare’s mid-range game from his inaugural 2010-11 season, which made me very jubilant because that was one of his offensive staples back in the 2010-11 season. I’m not worried about Amare right now. I think he’ll be fine. After all, he ended up going 8-11 from the field scoring 18 points.
  • As usual, Melo was off to a slow start. Shockingly, in the 1st quarter, Melo was called for a travel. A rarity? Yes, indeed. Although he finished with 24 points, Melo went 0-7 from the perimeter, missing mostly wide open attempts received from Raymond Felton and…PRIGS. Then Melo got lazy and went iso Melo. Despite all of that, his involvement in fantastic team ball. Read more…

Amar’e Stoudemire’s post game has a role in Mike Woodson’s offense

Earlier this summer, Amar’e Stoudemire paid a hefty price (approximately $50k) to work on his previously non-existent post game with Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon. Given the history of Stoudemire’s offensive game, devastation as a role man with a tint of mid-range shooting, there has been almost unanimous sentiment among the basketball community that Stoudemire’s post game won’t be used much in games. I too felt the same way, until I looked deeper into the matter.

It isn’t that Amar’e is going to become a post up player. He’s not. That has never been his game, and likely won’t ever be the base of his offensive repertoire. However, that doesn’t mean Stoudemire’s post work this offseason can’t help his game. After analyzing Mike Woodson’s offense, I think there will be opportunities for Stoudemire to score in a post up game and in that area of the floor. We know that Woodson’s history indicates that he run a slower, more isolation based type offense. Unlike Mike D’Antoni’s offense, the pick and roll has never been a staple of the Woodson offense. That doesn’t mean pick and rolls will be eliminated, but we’ll likely see less of them next season. That means Amar’e Stoudemire will have to find other ways to score, because he won’t be rolling to the basket every third possession.

Thanks to Synergy Sports, I was able to track both Stoudemire’s shot attempts when rolling to the basket compared to when he was posted up. After Mike Woodson took over on March 14th, Amar’e Stoudemire played in 15 games. In those 15 games, including the playoff series against Miami, Stoudemire had 35 shot attempts rolling to the hoop and 28 shot attempts while posting up. I certainly was surprised by these numbers, as I expected a higher number of attempts as a roll man. From simply watching the games, I didn’t remember Stoudemire posting up so many times. After looking at the film, I realized that the Knicks weren’t utilizing Stoudemire in a post up game like you’d see a normal post up big man, such as LaMarcus Aldridge or Carlos Boozer. Read more…

Satire: New York Knicks write Jeremy Lin a goodbye letter

The debate will go on for the New York Knicks and Jeremy Lin as to if one is better without the other, but key members of the Knicks sat down and took a brief moment to say goodbye to Lin.

It can be argued with out the key burst Lin gave the Knicks, they wouldn’t have made the playoffs this year and for that Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire say thanks.

Knicks Letter to Jeremy Lin

Amare drops F-Bomb on Twitter fan

NBA players have STILL not learned that they can’t call refs or fans “fags.” And I’m not sure they ever will. (And yes, I’m actually using the word fag. I don’t censor. I think it’s important to use the words we’re talking about. I’ve done it before and I will continue to do it.)

This latest incident came to light when deadspin.com published tweets allegedly from Amare Stoudemire to a fan where he drops an F-Bomb on the fan.

Reportedly, the NBA is looking into this matter and I fully expect Amare to be fined just like Kobe Bryant and Jokim Noah were when they used the same slur.

Read more here…

Knicks’ Stoudemire taking notes from Kevin Garnett?

Amare_stoudemireAmare Stoudemire was in Miami for tuesday nights game against the Boston Celtics. He happened to get lucky that night, he watched the team that put him out the playoffs get handed a bitter loss. Perhaps it was Stoudemire enjoying a game of basketball or it could have been a bittersweet moment for him. Either way he was out and it looks like he was having fun.  Read More…

Stoudemire possibly cost the Knicks another playoff run?

New York Knicks Jeremy LinThe New York Knicks have had a season filled with injury and controversy. Game 2 of the playoffs wasn’t any different. Amar’e Stoudemire walked off the court after his Knicks loss to the Heat and did something extremely stupid. Amar’e out of frustration hit a glass Fire extinguisher and cut his hand. The injury was pretty bad, he needed stitches. Now, the Knick’s coaching staff are saying Amare will not play game 3 or 4. This is something The team did not need. Read more here…

Video: Slam dunk contest, Top 10 dunks of all-time

Dwight Howard

Dwight HowardThe NBA All-Star dunk contest has always been a favorite event that takes second place only to the actual All Star game. Through the years, many great athletes have competed and we have been treated to dunks that made our eyes bleed.

But what dunks stand above the rest?

Here we try to pin down ten of the greatest stuffs ever.

10. Dwight Howard-‘Superman’ Throw Down (2008):

Sure, we can chalk up some of the excitement surrounding this one to Dwight Howard’s donning the outfit of a certain former citizen of the planet Krypton, but the man was not trying to get extra points or get his mug on Sportscenter, he was trying to get your attention.

Dwight takes off in such a way that you would think he actually thinks he can fly and throws the ball into the hoop with such ferociousness that any opposing defender would have been hard pressed to find this Superman’s Kryptonite.

9. Spud Webb-Floor To Backboard (1986):

Simply put, Spudd Webb put everything he had into this dunk. All his hops, all his athleticism and all his heart. He took nothing back to the locker room that night as he faced off against then teammate and relentless dunking machine Dominique Wilkins.

Suddenly, after this dunk, kids that were deemed too short to play pro ball or were cut from their school team due to height could be heard practicing in driveways, parks and gyms all over the country.

8. Jason Richardson- Final Dunk (2003):

Although the dunk itself is as impressive as it gets, with Richardson pulling off a between the leg dunk with a reverse finish, it was the storyline behind the dunk that made this sweet jam even more exciting.

Richardson had won the Dunk Contest in 2002 and had agreed to compete again to defend his crown. The pressure was about as high as it can get as Richardson needed a 48 to tie Desmond Mason’s score and needed at least a 49 0r a 50 to win it all and repeat.

He triumphed in this brief moment of glory and made sure that he would go down in Dunk Contest history with one of the best final dunks of all time.

7. Amare Stoudemire- Get Your Head in the Game:

In one of the most interesting uses of an assistant’s body parts in the contest, Amare Stoudemire used former teammate Steve Nash’s soccer skills to have Nash make a head pass to Amare, who then caught the ball, spun in the air, and threw down a one handed slam.

The dunk was not the best in the world but the set up was creative, well timed and something that was sure to get the fans out of their seats and the judges scrambling to find the score cards with the double digits printed on them.

6. Gerald Green Makes A Wish (2008):

As Kenny Smith loves to point out when he is on broadcast team at a dunk contest, ‘you have to sell your dunks’. The contests themselves are pure entertainment for fans and non fans alike and the more you put into a dunk in terms of set up and originality, the more awesome it is for the casual fans at home.

In 2008 Gerald Green decided to put a cup cake at the back of the rim next to the glass with a lit candle stuck in the center. As he went up and competed the stuff, he blew the candle out. If your thinking the movement of the ball going into the rim or something else put out the candle, watch the replay in the video below in slow motion.

He actually blows the candle out.

5. Dominique Wilkins- Windmill Dunk (1986):

There have been many windmill dunks in the history of the contest and many more will most likely be attempted as it’s future rolls on, but none can beat Dominique Wilkins windmill in the 1986 contest.

It is perfect in execution, the way his arm windmills with the ball palmed in his hand, his feet walking across the air as he glides to the rim. Then comes the the intensity as he slams the ball into the cylinder.

There are many windmill dunks in the history of the dunk contest, but this is the best.

Ever.

4. Andre Iguodala- Behind the Backboard (2006):

Getting an assist from Allen Iverson (Wonder if he “practiced” the routine?) , AI tosses the ball off the glass behind the backboard. Iguodala catches it and slams it home on the other side. Even more amazing, Iguodala actually had to bend his head down so that it did not hit the backboard as he goes underneath it, a spectacular feat of athleticism and execution.

Afterwords Iggy runs to the locker room tunnel, as there is no need to wonder about the judge’s score.

3. Michael Jordan- ‘Jumpman’ (1988):

We have all seen it.

Even if you have never watched one game of basketball in your life or you live in a third world country, most likely you have seen this dunk at least once in your lifetime. It is on our clothing and our shoes and it is an image that is, for better or for worse, is iconic as Neil Armstrong landing on the moon or President Kennedy getting shot.

This dunk has transcended everything to become something beyond basketball, it is a living, breathing  thing and with good reason. It is surely one of the most supreme examples of hops, hang time and athletic talent ever captured on film.

2. Blake Griffin- Driving to the Rim (2010):

Of course you knew this one had to make the cut, although you might not agree with its rank, but jumping over a car with a pass thrown from the sun roof is an amazing feat no matter how many choirs were singing in the background.

What also makes it special is the calm manner in which Griffin delivers the dunk, as if to say it is no big deal, he can do this all day long. Even the camera crew seems not to have realized he was up in the air until it was almost over.

The dunk contest has always been about the young talent showing that they are no fluke, that they belong to be among the best basketball players in the world and have supreme athletic skills.

1. Vince Carter- 360 Windmill Dunk (2000):

Before Vince Carter was a role player in the NBA he was Vinsanity, riding the wave of the search for the next Jordan. His excellent ability to dunk and score made him on of the brightest young stars restocking the NBA’s talent pool after most of the former generation of stars had left the game behind.

Carter sealed the deal by bringing his ‘A’ game to the 2000 dunk contest, and despite all  of his dunks being special that night, his first slam told everyone that this contest was over as he pulled off a 360 windmill that is so perfect you would think it was computer generated special effects.

Thomas Willam Spychalski is a freelance writer for hire who co-edits the UK cult website Cult Britannia.co.uk and has been published at such sites as Kasterborous, Whotopia and is also a reporter for the paper Dolphin Talk in Port O’Conner Texas. Tom is also working on breaking into fictional works as well as a long term non fiction book project on the Amityville Horror. 

Lin the Knick of time

After the season the New York Knicks have been having, the emergence of Jeremy Lin couldn’t have come at a better time. Both Carmelo Anthony and Amare’ Stoudemire are out and the Knicks were already pretty far back in the standings even when those two were in the lineup but Lin is showing how important a good point guard is to Mike D’Antoni’s offense.

Having a point guard that can run the pick-and-roll, push the ball in transition and break down the defense with penetration makes the game so much easier on the other four guys on the floor. If you don’t believe me then watch the last three games Lin has started.

Then go back and watch the last three games Anthony and Stoudemire played together. Knicks’ players do a lot of standing around, no one is sure what to do with the ball and there are virtually no fast break points. Anthony does a decent job of distributing the ball but the offense becomes stagnant the more Anthony has the ball in his hands.

So where did Mr. Lin come from? Lin was not drafted coming out of Harvard but Donnie Nelson of the Dallas Mavericks was intrigued enough with Lin’s game to offer him an invitation to play in the Maverick’s Summer League team.

Lin made the most of his opportunity and really turned heads when he outplayed rookie John Wall when the two went head-to-head during a Summer League game. Lin would receive offers from four teams but would choose to sign with his hometown team the Golden State Warriors. That ended up not being a very smart move since he would see little playing time on a guard heavy roster that featured both Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry.

Lin played two stints in the NBA Developmental League last year then would be waived by the Warriors during the offseason so the Warriors would have enough room to make a run at DeAndre Jordan. The Houston Rockets would claim Lin off waivers only to waive him again when they signed Samuel Dalembert. Lin would finally find a home when the Knicks claimed him off waivers on December 12th of last year.

Things this season hadn’t been much different than last season as Lin found very little time early on. Rookie Iman Shumpert was playing well and so was Toney Douglas which meant very little minutes were left for Lin. Despite the Knick’s poor record, Lin would once again be sent down to play in the NBADL on January 18th.

But something happened during Lin’s third stint to the D-League. A frustrated Lin would drop a triple double on the Maine Red Claws just three days into his D-League assignment. The Knicks would call him back up three days later.

D’Antoni was still hesitant to play Lin despite the slumping play of Shumpert. Lin would play a total of 39 minutes during the first seven games after being recalled from the D-League. Then Lin would come off the bench to spark the Knicks to a win over the New Jersey Nets. In 36 minutes off the bench, Lin would score 25 points and dish seven assists while adding five rebounds and two steals.

Next game Lin would be inserted as the starter and he would reward his team with 28 points, eight assists, two steals and most importantly another win. Then on Wednesday night he would continue his stellar play by scoring 23 points and adding ten assists against John Wall, the guy he made his name off of in the 2010 Summer League. Oh yeah, the Knicks would win that game also.

So is Lin a fluke? His numbers will definitely drop when Anthony and Stoudemire come back and the Knicks face stiffer competition than the Nets or the Washington Wizards but for the most part Lin has a game that is tailor-made for this offense. If nothing else he has proven that he is a better option than any of the other point guards they currently have on the roster.

Roosevelt Hall is an NBA Featured Journalist for The Sports Blitz. You can also follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.

Howard for Stoudemire: Financially possible?

Dwight HowardThe Orlando Magic inquired about a potential move that would send Dwight Howard to the New York Knicks for Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, but would this deal even work out financially for both teams? The Knicks alone have $31 million wrapped up in those two players. They would have to also take back a sizable contract from Orlando.

The 2011 figures in this rumored trade look like this:

Amar’e Stoudemire $18,217,705 million

Tyson Chandler $13,107,838 million

Total: $31,325,543 million

Dwight Howard: $17,885,400

The new NBA collective bargaining agreement contains new rules pertaining to trades. Taxpaying teams can take back 125% of their outgoing salary plus $100,000. Non-taxpaying teams (based on team salary after the trade) have two options as to how much salary they can take back. Non-taxpaying teams can acquire up to the lesser of 150% plus $100,000 OR 100% plus $5 million. Teams can trade up to $3 million in a trade but the Knicks used up that $3 million in the Tyson Chandler sign and trade.

The Knicks sit at $62,487,871 in salary. The Orlando Magic currently sit at $69,066,010 million dollars in salary. This figure puts them slightly under the $70 million luxury tax threshold. Here are the 2011 salaries for their players, significant to this trade, minus Dwight Howard:

Hedo Turkoglu: $10,600,000 million

Jameer Nelson $7,305,555 million

JJ Redick $6,500,000 million

Glen Davis $6,300,000 million

Jason Richardson $5,395,000 million

Chris Duhon $3,460,000 million

Quentin Richardson $2,446,200 million

Ryan Anderson $2,244,600 million

Earl Clark $1,200,000 million

Excluded: Von Wafer, Daniel Orton, DeAndre Liggins, Justin Harper, Larry Hughes

Because of the cap standings of both teams, both teams being under the luxury tax threshold, the Knicks and Magic have more flexibility with a potential trade. However, the Knicks swapping $31.3 million in salary with Orlando and taking in Howards $17.8 million in salary is not possible. Under the new CBA trade guidelines, the Knicks would have to take back another salary because swapping STAT and Chandler for Howard would not work. Here are some trade scenarios as pertained to each CBA rule:

  1. The Knicks take back 100% of Orlando’s salaries plus 5 million. The Magic would have to give up $26,325,543 million or more in salary to make this scenario work. That means in addition to Howard’s salary, the Magic would have to shed an additional $8,440,143 million in salary. Any trade of Howard likely will include the long term contract (3 years remaining, $34.2 mil) of Hedo Turkoglu. Turkoglu makes 10.6 million this season thus bring Orlando’s salary price up to $28,485,400 mil. This trade will work under the new CBA rules. However, the Magic would be taking back an additional $2,840,143 million in salary. Under the 100% + 5 mil rule, the Magic would have to remain under the tax. Therfore they would have to give up another contract resulting in an excess of $1,906,153 million. In my opinion, ex-Knicks Chris Duhon (3 years remaining, approx $11 mil in salary) and Quentin Richardson (2 years remaining with an additional players option for 2013, approx 5 mil in salary, $7.8 mil with option) would be the most likely candidates to be included in a trade. I believe that the basic framework of a Turkoglu/Howard/additional contract for Stoudemire/Chandler trade is the most likely trade if one is to come to fruition.
  2. The Knicks take back 150% of Orlando’s salaries plus $100k. The Magic would have to give up a little bit more than $20.8 million in salary to make this trade work. Given the long term contracts the Magic have on their roster along with the minor rebuilding they will need to do losing their star player, I believe the Magic would want to give up more than $20.8 million in a trade. In order to use this 100% + 100k clause, the Magic would have to give up between $20.8 million and $26.325 million (from the scenario above). However, if they were to give up Turkoglu, which they should and which they want to, they would eliminate this clause from being used in the CBA. This scenario would be plausible if the Knicks were going to take back any other Orlando player not named Hedo Turkoglu in a trade. This scenario is unlikely because I truly believe the Magic are going to part ways with Turkoglu as well as Howard in any trade they make.
  3. The Knicks and Magic never have serious discussions. Per the new CBA, Tyson Chandler, a newly acquired free agent, cannot be dealt until March 1st. If Orlando is swept off its feet by the Lakers, Clippers, Mavs, Nets or a mystery team, which I do not believe it will be, then they could move Howard before the Knicks can even discuss this trade seriously.
  4. The Knicks and Magic find a 3rd team. Conceivably, just like the trades that brought Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler to New York, the Knicks could find a 3rd team to deal with. Any trade scenario involving 3 teams would have to include more parts than just Turkoglu/Howard and Stoudemire/Chandler. At this point it is impossible to predict what 3rd team could be involved because no serious talks have gone on between Orlando and New York.

In conclusion, the main idea of this long and potentially head-ache enabling blog post is that financially the Knicks could pull off a trade for Dwight Howard. The new CBA allows it and both teams have contracts to make it work. The factors that would hold up a trade go beyond the financials. Whether the Magic are fully committed to trading Howard is up in the air. It is unknown whether the Knicks would part ways with newly acquired Chandler. As well as whether to give up Chandler, there have been no indications from the organization that Dolan is ready to break his loyalty with Stoudemire. It also remains unknown as to whether Orlando would even take this kind of deal. They would be locked into two long term big contracts and two decaying Amar’e Stoudemire knees. In my opinion, I do not believe this is a trade that will ever come to fruition. I think it makes obvious sense for the Knicks but I think the financials of the situation would far outweigh the on-court benefits for the Magic. I believe Amar’e and Tyson Chandler could fit nicely with that already strong Orlando team but I do not think the two players would launch the Magic into championship contention. Either way, Chandler cannot be dealt until March 1st so the Knicks will have their current center for at least 6 more weeks before they go chasing after another team’s star center. A lot can change in six weeks but if I had to bet a hypothetical house (seeming that I don’t own a house) on whether this trade would happen, I would bet against it.

and be sure to check out other great articles at The Meloship of the Ring.