Should the Knicks Have Amnestied Amar’e Instead of Chauncey?
Got the idea for this post after reading a tweet from a Knicks fan I follow. It’s a fairly straight forward question with a bit of a complicated answer.
The question: Should the Knicks have amnestied Amar’e instead of Chauncey Billups?
To remind everyone, each team has a one-time opportunity to shed a contract without repercussion. No salary hit, no roster spot taken up… basically a get-out-of-jail-free card to apply to any contract.
The Knicks used this amnesty clause to clear Chauncey Billups’ contract off the books two summer’s ago so they could create enough salary cap space to sign Tyson Chandler. Billups had only one year left on his contract.
That’s the quick history, now an answer. At the time, I think the Knicks made the right choice.
I’ll be the first one to say though, Stoudemire’s contract is awful. It’s gigantic and it’s completely uninsured. Also, the guy only knows how to play one-side of the game and that’s becoming a bit shaky too.
Here’s the thing, every single person knew what we were getting into when we signed him. From management to the fanbase, we all were well aware we were taking a risk.
This is how badly we (the Knicks and fans) wanted a “star” in New York and just forget the previous decade (Isaiah Era): we signed a guy who had two bad knees and an eyeball that recently fell out of his skull. EVERYONE passed on us that summer, from LeBron James to Joe Johnson. No one wanted New York.
Well, he wanted that guaranteed max-contract. The the point is, he came.
And that decision, the decision to sign Amar’e Stoudemire to a max contract, set in motion a series of events and situations we just simply couldn’t avoid.
Once Amar’e put on that Knicks uniform, it was pre-determined that Carmelo Anthony would end up on the team. Amar’e even stated it the day he made his decision that he wanted to get Melo over here.
If you’re Knicks management and your recently signed “superstar” is telling you that Melo wants to come to New York, what the hell else are you going to do aside from making a play to acquire him?
Once Carmelo Anthony was in the fold, that was it. Management’s commitment for the next 5 years would be to build around these two guys. That’s the plan and they were/are completely sticking to it.
Now, would it have made financial sense to amnesty Amar’e and get out from underneath his awful contract and just build around Melo? Of course it does. But, Jim Dolan doesn’t do many things that make sense.
Again, management made a commitment to build around Amar’e and Melo and they are going to see it through.
So now you have Melo and Amar’e as your corner stones, what now?
Apparently, you go out and get the second best defensive center in the game. I am still shocked that this happened.
I am a HUGE Tyson Chandler fan. He doesn’t come here unless Melo and Amar’e are here. That’s my opinion.
The only way to make it work financially though (since we were over the cap), was to use the amnesty clause and create cap room.
Chauncey was the only option. He wasn’t going to make it to February (the trading deadline) so it just made sense to get rid of him then so we could make a move for Chandler.
I take Tyson Chandler over anyone that we could have feasibly acquired at the trade deadline for Billups.
If the commitment is to build around Amar’e and Melo, then going out and getting Tyson was the best move the Knicks could have done.
The only way we could have done that was to amnesty Billups.
Let’s say you do make the “financially sound” decision and cut Amar’e.
That move, although makes a lot of sense in a lot of operational ways, doesn’t sit well with me on a personal level.
I just don’t like the message it would send to future free agents that are thinking about signing in New York. I know, it’s a business, but… as a player it would be tough to give your all to a franchise that you don’t trust ownership. That’s a funny line because we’re talking about Dolan here. I don’t trust him with anything, but the guy is loyal (i.e. Isaiah, Allan Houston, etc.).
That’s a big reason why I wouldn’t have amnestied Amar’e.
A better question may be, should we have signed Amar’e at all?
A lot of people quickly forgot how truly awful this franchise was from 2001-2010. People want to fuss over the relative shitty-ness of “now” because well, honestly… what else are we going to talk about?
As a Knick fan… I can honestly say I’m much happier where this franchise is now then where it was 5 years ago.
Yes, hindsight is 20/20. But again, we knew exactly what we were getting into when we signed Amar’e. We bit the bullet out of loyalty. We bit the bullet because Amar’e was the only person that would come to New York when every other “star” said “no.”
This most recent injury isn’t a severe one, but it’s yet another set back on the series of injuries Amar’e has gone through the past couple of years.
We’re all in with Amar’e for the next 3 years… that’s it.. only 3 years left including this season. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. We can hit the rest button in 2015/2016. Until then, we can play the “what if” game all we want, but it’s not going to change anything.
Amar’e is our guy.
Unless it’s a personal goal to make his life miserable these next 3 years, I suggest root for him.
All he did was make New York professional basketball relevant again.
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