Friday, July 8, 2011

Anthony and Stoudemire give Knicks fans another reason to root against a lockout

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After reports surfaced that Deron Williams has a deal in place to play in Turkey if the NBA lockout doesn't end before next season, similar rumors swirled around Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.

Stoudemire and Anthony reportedly reached out to the players' union about rules and insurance issues of playing overseas. Stoudemire's agent said his client is not interested but if he was, this would be terrible news for Knicks fans.

The major problem with this idea is the risk of injury. The Knicks were one of the few teams willing to give Stoudemire a max contract last offseason because of his injury history, which includes retina surgery and microfracture knee surgery.

Stoudemire also was ineffective in the Knicks' first-round playoff series against Boston due to a pulled back muscle, which he is still in the process of rehabbing.

Even Anthony has not been allowed to lift weights or shoot a basketball while rehabbing right elbow bursitis and, while that injury is nowhere near as serious as any of the ones in Stoudemire's past, it still proves the point that the Knicks can't afford to have their two stars risking injury overseas.

I've said previously that the Knicks can't afford to lose a season during the prime of their star players due to a lockout and this news adds to that sentiment. What happens if, god forbid, Stoudemire plays overseas and suffers a career-threatening injury?

The Knicks could not get insurance on Stoudemire's contract when they signed and if he was injured overseas, they surely would not have to pay him the balance of his $100M contract. Both Stoudemire and the Knicks would be screwed.

That scenario would leave the team with money to sign another big-name player, but would also ruin the current team structure Donnie Walsh and others have worked so hard to build and set the rebuilding process back a year or two.

While Knicks fans need to root against an extended lockout, they also need to root against their stars going to play overseas. The move makes sense for Deron Williams, who has just two years left on his contract, can opt out after next season and may not want to stay in New Jersey anyway.

Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony are not Deron Williams. Stay put, boys.

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