Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 12/21/12

Amare Stoudemire might be nearing a return to the court with the New York Knicks, but his team might not actually be looking forward to it all that much. The Knicks have jumped out to the best record in the Eastern Conference without Stoudemire this season, and are now discussing him coming off the bench for the team despite his lucrative contract. What’s more, the team aggressively explored trading away the forward this offseason. “This past summer, the Knicks offered Stoudemire to nearly every team in the league,” Howard Beck writes in the New York Times. The team made the 30-year old forward “available for free,” according to a rival executive, but were unable to find any takers thanks to concerns about Stoudemire’s health, production and huge contract. According to Beck, New York explored a trade with Toronto for Andrea Bargnani, but had the deal vetoed by owner James Dolan before it reached the Raptors. There were also discussions of sending Tyson Chandler and Stoudemire to the Magic for Dwight Howard before the All-Star center was shipped to Los Angeles. Stoudemire has three years and $65 million remaining on his contract. He averaged 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game last season with the Knicks, but the team is under .500 when both he and Carmelo Anthony play together for New York.

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