Amar'e will practice with the Knicks on Thursday, and it is "possible" that he might play as early as this weekend.—
Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) December 17, 2012
This is good news, everyone.
I understand the concern about Stoudemire’s potential return. There’s the questionable history of Carmelo and Amar’e playing together, particularly alongside Tyson Chandler that scares people, along with the general terror of a decade of things going wrong with the Knicks that has a segment of of Knicksland simply waiting for the other shoe to drop, the dreaded second shoe for which there is no escape, or something.
But I think the concerns are wildly overblown for a couple of reasons, the first being that with their improved play at the point, the Knicks are in far better position to take advantage of Amar’e's considerable skills, skills that seem to have been almost completely forgotten, lost somewhat understandably amid a deluge of bad defense and broken fire extinguishers.
And yet, there’s another simpler reason for my personal lack of pessimism. The Knicks have played t
his entire season WITHOUT Amar’e Stoudemire. They are currently at 18-5 and have been without question one of the best teams in the league. The idea that the Knicks would sit back and watch as Amar’e systematically destroyed that seems silly. The Knicks are not legally required to play Stoudemire to the detriment of the team. If this doesn’t work, they have ample evidence to make the appropriate adjustment, whether that means fiddling around with his role or simply not playing him at all.
Obviously, such a situation would cause a certain degree of chaos that could naturally impact the team in a wholly negative fashion, but the Knicks have clear evidence that they can win, and win handily, without Stoudemire’s play, they will be obligated only to use him in a way that contributes to that winning and nothing more. Which really is as it should be.