Opening Tip: Amar'e off the bench?

Carmelo Anthony was shocked and disappointed when he heard that Amar'e Stoudemire would be out for at least the first six weeks of the season.

Anthony viewed this year as his first opportunity to play an 82-game season with a healthy Stoudemire.

Now, Stoudemire will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks following a surgical procedure on his left knee. And he and Stoudemire will have to wait longer to develop the chemistry that's largely eluded them over the past 18 months.

"I definitely thought that this was going to be the season that we had a chance to go out there and play together in a full season (with) no injuries," Anthony said. "But at the end of the day, you can't control what happens to your body, you can't control injuries. We just want him to be healthy."

That may take a while now. In the meantime, you can expect Anthony to shoulder the scoring load for the Knicks -- which may be a good thing.

Anthony, you'll remember, put the team on his back last April when Stoudemire was out with a back injury. The Knicks went 9-4 over that span and Anthony won Player of the Month in the Eastern Conference.

If he duplicates that success early this season, you can be sure that some will say Stoudemire should come off the bench when he returns. Mike Woodson has been opposed to the idea of splitting up Stoudemire and Anthony. Stoudemire, a max-contract player, is probably opposed to it as well.

But it may make sense.

In a lineup without Anthony and Chandler, Stoudemire could operate between the elbow and mid-post -- where he's most comfortable. And he could also serve as the primary screener on pick and roles -- a role currently occupied by Chandler. So it could be a win-win for everyone involved. If Woodson pulls the trigger.

Question: What do you think? If the Knicks -- and Carmelo Anthony in particular -- play well in Stoudemire's absence, should he come off the bench?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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