Amar’e Stoudemire has struggled mightily this season. That is a fact and is non-debatable. Physically, Stoudemire is a mess. He just announced today that he is going to try and drop the extra weight he gained in the off-season. I think this is the right thing to do but obviously you do not want your star player worrying about losing weight during the season. The consensus opinion among fans and critics on Stoudemire seems to be that he is not right physically but will eventually improve his level of play. I beg the question: what happens if Stoudemire continues to regress?
Twitter has been filled with Stoudemire trade rumors for months but nothing has come to fruition. His contract, due to his bad knees, is uninsured therefore making a trade very unlikely. If he continues to regress, there will be no suitor willing to pay max money for a broken down star. If the Knicks were to part ways with Stoudemire, a trade is not the only option. The Knicks can waive Stoudemire but that would still result in their paying Stoudemire his full deal.
I have previously stated that the new Stretch Exception is an option for the Knicks. I was mistaken. The stretch exception is NOT an option for the Knicks as it only applies to contracts signed in the new CBA.
The stretch provision allows a team to release a player and extend his salary over twice the remaining years on his deal plus a year. For example, if player x was making 21 million total over the remaining 3 years of his deal, a team could cut him and pay him 3 million/year over 7 seasons. This would provide a team with 4 million in cap savings for three seasons and then a 4 million dollar cap hit for the remaining 4. This would have been a great provision for the Knicks to have for Stoudemire in the event that his health continues to fail him. Stoudemire has approximately 64 million remaining on his deal after this season. The Knicks would have been able to stretch that salary out over 7 years at approx 9 mil/year.
I apologize for my mishaps in discussing the Knicks ability to use the stretch exception on Stoudemire. Numerous times I have referenced that as a potential option for the Knicks but it is not. The stretch exception can be used only on contracts signed under the 2011 CBA.
The Knicks no longer have their amnesty clause, having used it on Chauncey Billups, but the Stretch Exception will be able to be used repeatedly. Out of the Knicks broadway bigs, Tyson Chandler is the only stretch-eligible player. Given Chandler’s injury history, it is not inconceivable to think that he could get hurt later in his contract. I don’t think they Knicks will ever use the stretch exception on Chandler but it is a possibility. As can be seen from the graphic above, the Knicks only have 3 players signed through the 2013-2014 season. Toney Douglas has a qualifying offer and Iman Shumpert has a team option for that year but they technically are not under contract. Having only 3 long term deals basically rules out the Knicks from using the stretch exception unless they chose to do so on Chandler.
Again, I apologize if I have mislead anybody. The Knicks do not have the stretch exception to use on Amar’e Stoudemire. Their only ways of getting rid of him are to either trade him or waive him. Waiving him would only clear a roster space, his contract would remain on the Knicks books. For that reason alone, I do not see the Knicks waving Stoudemire unless he literally cannot play. Basically, unless somebody wants to make a deal, the Knicks will have Stoudemire throughout the duration of his deal. I do not rule out a return to stardom for Stoudemire. In fact, I think it is possible for him to revive himself this season. Knowing the type of player he is, I believe Stoudemire will work his tail off to get back in shape and ultimately he’ll get some of that athleticism back. I do not believe he’ll ever be back at the level he played at last season but I think he can still be a star player in this league. For his sake, and the Knicks sake, I hope that I am right.Follow @tarmosino