Knicks would love to deal Amar'e, but ...

In a perfect world, the Knicks would probably love to deal Amar'e Stoudemire.

His production isn't what it once was, he has a history of knee issues and the team still owes him $65 million over the final three years of his contract (this season included).

The problem with trading Stoudemire, of course, is you have to find a team willing to take him.

They say any contract can be traded -- all it takes is one taker. But Stoudemire's deal may be the exception to that rule.

That's why it shouldn't come as a huge surprise to Knicks fans that the team was reportedly shopping Stoudemire over the summer. One league executive told Howard Beck of the New York Times that the Knicks were making Stoudemire "available for free" to any team that would listen.

Even a Stoudemire confidant wasn't really surprised to hear that his buddy's name was bandied about over the summer and at different points last season.

"It's just the business," the friend said on Friday. "(The Knicks) are probably looking into it now."

The Knicks couldn't find a suitor for Stoudemire over the summer. And I'd be surprised if they can find one now.

So the team has to make the best of a potentially sticky situation with their $100 million dollar man.

Stoudemire's return from left knee surgery appears imminent. So now it's on Mike Woodson and his staff to find a way to implement Stoudemire into the rotation without negatively affecting the chemistry they've established during the Knicks' 19-6 start.

The notion, though, that the Knicks are somehow better off without Stoudemire is ridiculous.

We're talking about a player who last season -- one of the worst of Stoudemire's career -- averaged 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds.

So to say that Stoudemire can't make a positive impact on the Knicks is foolish.

It depends, of course, on how he is used.

Stoudemire spoke on Thursday of wanting to return to dominance.

If he returns to dominance as the Knicks' sixth man, the team and Stoudemire will be fine.

This will allow him to operate as the primary screener on pick and rolls -- a role occupied by Tyson Chandler in the starting unit -- and will allow him to be the No. 1 scoring option when he's on the floor.

If Stoudemire has visions of being a dominant piece in the Knicks' starting five, the team is in trouble.

Carmelo Anthony has established himself as the clear-cut No. 1 option on this team. Players surrounding Anthony have fit around him as well as can be expected.

But anything that disturbs the balance -- such as implementing Stoudemire into the starting lineup -- has the potential to torpedo the Knicks.

That's why the onus is on Woodson and the Knicks' staff to find a way to integrate Stoudemire into what the team has established in a seamless manner.

On Friday morning, Woodson addressed the report about Stoudemire being dangled as trade bait at different points last season and over the summer. He dismissed it as media speculation, adding, "Amar'e is a big piece of the New York Knicks and that's why he's still here.

"We're just trying to figure out after he's healthy to get him back in the flow and swing of things. That's all I'm concerned about. All that other chatter outside the game, I don't buy into that."

Question: Are you glad Amar'e is back? Or do you think he could hurt what the Knicks have established without him?

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