NBA Sunday: The End For Amar’e Stoudemire?
Without Stoudemire, Knicks’ Title Chances Take Huge Hit
As we enter the final stretch of the regular season, the New York Knicks have surpassed most expectations and find themselves at the top of the Atlantic Division standings. Through 60 games, the team is on pace to post its best regular season (.633), in terms of win percentage, since the 1997 campaign (.695) when Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing was still roaming the middle. It has been a long road back to the ranks of the elite for the storied franchise and the future seems bright.
But the team’s hopes of an extended playoff run this season may have taken a huge hit with Saturday’s announcement that former All-Star forward Amar’e Stoudemire would miss the remainder of the regular season to undergo surgery on his right knee. Doctors will be performing a debridement procedure on the troublesome knee which in essence will attempt to remove the damaged tissue impacting the area in order to spark the long term healing potential of the remaining healthy tissue.
Stoudemire has been limited in recent years to an assortment of back, knee and eye injuries but the latest setback may very well put his career in jeopardy. The Knicks still owe Stoudemire $45 million the next two seasons and while he was serviceable in a reserve role since returning to the lineup this year it is becoming clear he will no longer be the dominant force the club signed back in the summer of 2010. The Knicks are projected to be in luxury tax territory once again in 2014 and Stoudemire accounts for a whopping 28.9 percent of the cap number next season.
“It’s a loss, a major loss to what we’re trying to do,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson told Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News. “I feel for him because of what he went through in camp. But we can’t sit and sulk and be upset about it.”
This season marked the first time in Stoudemire’s career where he primarily served as a bench player with zero starts. In 29 appearances this season Stoudemire posted averages of 14.2 points and 5 rebounds in just 23 minutes of action per night (his Per 36 minute production was right in line with his career numbers).
Stoudemire won’t turn 31 until the start of next season, which is still a spot where aging veterans are highly productive. But with Stoudemire’s long and storied injury history the writing may be on the wall that this could be the beginning of the end of a very respectable career.
The Knicks, who have also played their last three games without Carmelo Anthony (knee), are set to embark on a five game Western Conference road trip versus Golden State, Denver, Portland, Los Angeles (Clippers) and Utah. All five teams are in the thick of the playoff chase out in the West.
Mavericks Waive Dominique Jones, Looking At Filling Roster Spot
The Dallas Mavericks have waived former first round pick Dominique Jones. The shooting guard was the No. 25 overall pick of the 2010 draft but appeared in just 80 games with the franchise in three seasons. The club opted not to exercise the fourth-year option on his rookie scale deal and he was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Those who follow the NBA’s annual summer league circuit know Jones is oozing with potential to carve out a niche at the pro level but his work ethic and conditioning have been questioned in the past. The Mavericks’ decision to part ways with him was due to his inability to consistently produce and some off the court issues.
“From an organizational standpoint, it’s a move that gives us some flexibility to the end of the year and we can look at some different guys,” Mavericks head Rick Carlisle told Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. “That was the thinking. It was time to make this move.”
According to the report the Mavericks are evaluating whether to use the newly created roster spot on a younger player toiling in the D-League. Chris Wright (Iowa), Justin Dentmon (Texas) and Sean Singletary (Texas) are reportedly on the team’s radar.
The Mavericks have made the playoffs for 12 consecutive seasons but would miss the festivities as it stands currently. The Mavericks (28-33) are three games behind the eighth place Utah Jazz. Portland and Los Angeles (Lakers) are also above them in the Western Conference standings.
Bulls Remaining Patient With Derrick Rose, No Disconnect
One of the biggest storylines as we approach the playoffs is the status of former league MVP Derrick Rose. The guard suffered a torn ACL during last season’s playoffs but according to reports has looked good in working out with the team.
The big question is when will Rose return to game action?
Rose has maintained since the start of the season that he won’t rush back into the lineup and he’s taking a long term approach to the well-being of his surgically repaired knee. But fueling the questions on when Rose will return is the fact he suffered the same injury on the same day as Knicks’ wing Iman Shumpert. New York has benefitted from the return of Shumpert for 23 games, while Rose is still on the mend without a definitive return date.
An ESPN report surfaced this weekend implying Rose has already been medically cleared to return but team officials were mum on the validity of those sources.
“We talk all the time — high-level communication,” Bulls GM Gar Forman told Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune.
Forman went on to reiterate Rose has a large say on when and if he returns to action at some point this season.
“(Rose) obviously has a big, big say in (when he returns),” Forman said. “From our medical staff to our training staff everybody remains communicating on a consistent basis, with the goal being getting him back on the floor, 100 percent ready to play.”
The Bulls currently occupy fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The team has managed to post an above .500 record both home and away this season without their injured star.Cast Your Vote: Click here and Tweet #players name and the hash tag #dunkuary