Amar'e Stoudemire has gone from punching a fire extinguisher last season to reportedly saying he is willing to pack a punch off of the New York Knicks’ bench this season.
It depends how his injured left knee responds over the course of at least the next two weeks. Then it is on.
Or is it?
Believe it or not, a sixth-man role for Stoudemire just might be the final resolution to solving the dilemma of a co-existing relationship with Carmelo Anthony.
But that is head coach Mike Woodson's decision to make.
According to a source who spoke with ESPN New York.com's Ian Begley, Stoudemire would accept a role as the Knicks' sixth man if asked by Woodson, who has been rather tight-lipped about what role Stoudemire would play for New York upon returning from arthroscopic surgery and rehabilitation regiment during the past four weeks.
All he cares about right now is helping the team and winning," said one source, who has been around Stoudemire regularly in recent weeks. "He'd be fine with coming off the bench if that's what they want.
"He just wants to win," the source says. "He sees how well they're playing and just wants to help. He'll be fine with whatever they want to do.
Without Stoudemire, both Rasheed Wallace and Chris Copeland have split time in the post for the Knicks but the production just has not been there and something has to give. So, why not Stoudemire as a sixth man?
Typically J.R. Smith and Steve Novak carry the scoring load off of the bench but even then there is a missing element regarding consistency, so adding Stoudemire’s ability (the 10-year vet averaged 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game last season).
Another factor Stoudemire has going for him that will be a plus off of the bench: the opportunity to play with either Ray Felton or Jason Kidd (when healthy) in pick-and-roll situations or cutting to the rim in the second unit.
On Wednesday night, the Knicks bounced back from losing their last four road games by beating the Milwaukee Bucks, 102-88. And while Anthony led the way with 29 points and Novak and Pablo Prigioni went for 19 and 11 points off of the bench respectively, being able to call Stoudemire’s number in the starting unit would be a welcomed addition while Anthony, Felton and Tyson Chandler hold down the starting five.
In the end though, the sixth man decision really falls on Woodson not Stoudemire.
Every coach in the league would not mind having that dilemma.