Grunwald: Amar'e can return to All-Star play
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Even if Amar'e Stoudemire is on a minutes restriction in 2013-14, which Glen Grunwald has said is a good possibility, the Knicks GM believes the star big man can still play like one.
"Amar'e can definitely return to All-Star level play," he said on Tuesday, commenting on the often-injured Stoudemire, who underwent debridements on both knees last season. "We'll see how it all plays out when training camp rolls around. ... Amar'e can certainly come back to All-Star status. He works hard."
Grunwald also said Stoudemire, who's a six-time All-Star (the last coming as a Knick in 2011), will likely not be in competition for playing time with newly-acquired Andrea Bargnani and Metta World Peace, who both could play the 3 and 4 spots. That's likely because STAT could be regulated to only 20 to 25 minutes per game -- a small output with potentially big results.
"We're very hopeful that Amar'e will be a key contributor for us next year," Grunwald said. "I know he had some injury issues last year, but we're hopeful that we'll be able to manage that going forward. He'll play as much as he possibly can. ... I don't think either Metta or Andrea necessarily impacts his role. I think they're all good players, and good players will play."
Stoudemire could play some minutes behind Tyson Chandler. As of now, the team has no backup center, and there could be some interest in using Stoudemire more in that role, especially with his developed post-up game. When he averaged 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9. blocks per game in 2010-11 -- his first season in New York -- he managed the middle, taking advantage of slower mismatches like Carmelo Anthony did last season at power forward. If Stoudemire played some center, it could also help with spacing if Anthony and Bargnani are on the court together with him.
This summer, Stoudemire has traveled back and forth between his residences in New York City and Miami, working out at the Knicks' training facility and the University of Miami. His focus has been weightlifting to build core strength, physical therapy for both knees, and more swimming for cardio and to take stress and pounding off his joints.
Travis King, Stoudemire's co-agent and manager of basketball operations for Amar'e Stoudemire Enterprise, said his client is responding well to the training and he's not concerned with his minutes next season.
"His knees are great," King said. "He's prepared to follow whatever the Knicks plans are for him. He just wants to help bring a championship to New York."