How Will Amar’e Stoudemire’s Minutes Cap Affect Knicks?

Amar'e Stoudemire's 29 game 2012-13 season certainly had its ups and downs.

Coming off the Knicks' bench in limited action last season, Stoudemire scored 17 points or more nine times. Serving as a double-figure points threat, he scored 10 points or more in 24 of those same games.

After all he had to go through to make his way back, it was exciting to see STAT make decent contributions through the middle months of the year. There was plenty of slamming and jamming. A terrific guy, Stoudemire is the type of guy you can't help but feel good for when things go right.

But that doesn't change the fact that he no longer can live up to the potential of a $100 million man. Stoudemire sparked a change in the culture of the New York Knicks, and his signing began an absolute domino effect of talented players coming together in the Big Apple in hopes of achieving something really special. There's no denying that, and no one can take that away from him.

That said, his ongoing injuries were not only a cause for concern last season, but a distraction. Coach Mike Woodson and the Knicks had to monitor him closely and limit his playing time, which obviously, limited what kind of a contribution he could truly make.

Having returned midway through the season and requiring extra attention, Stoudemire clearly needed to be accommodated through his rehab and return process. While all this was going on, the Knicks were winning and grinning all along. They found success without him, so when it came time to work him back into the rotation, Coach Woodson had to tweak and twist certain lineups that had previously proven to work well for the team, just to get Stoudemire in.

Though last season had some feel-good moments for Stoudemire, it was a failure by all accounts, if you consider the type of player he has been capable of being in the past. 

Could there be hope that he would come back strong next season to help the Knicks, or will the latter two years of his contract prove to be more burdensome than anything else? With the acquisition of Andrea Bargnani, it seemed as though the organization wasn't holding its breath. And with good reason, too.

According to latest reports, Stoudemire will indeed be placed on a (20) minutes cap going forward, which further explains the trade for the Italian Stallion. There's talk of limiting his play even further in back-to-back contests, and his agent has said that doctors are being talked to in order to figure out the best plan going forward.

With that last assertion in mind, this isn't simply at the preference of Woodson and/or the Knicks. Doctors are being consulted to best crack the code for preserving Stoudemire's body. That's a bummer, considering not only what he used to be able to do, but also, the type of cap hold he owns on New York's payroll.

I'm not one to know all the inside and out legalities of player contracts and such, but it's known that Stoudemire's five contract was indeed uninsured when he signed it in 2010. Could this be why it's acceptable for a player only to be able to play a certain amount of minutes without breaking down, and still have his contract honored?

Either way, it's an unfortunate development for STAT and the Knicks.