I won’t even entertain the rumors about the Lakers being interested in moving Pau Gasol for A’Mare straight up. There’s a few reasons why that deal would make zero sense for both teams. But the primary one is money-wise it doesn’t work. Gasol is owed $19 million this season and $19.3 million next year. A’Mare, with probably the most un-tradeable contract in the league, is owed $20 million this season and nearly $46 million out to the summer of 2015. In addition to the math not making sense, the Lakers would be making a slightly less-than-lateral move considering the injuries Stoudemire is riddled with. You also has to remember that the Knicks already have 2 aging centers and the starting DPOY Tyson Chandler. On paper, because Gasol is a true center, if this was a trade that was going to happen, it should’ve happened over the summer.
That being said, what can the Knicks do with STAT when he returns? Well the expectation is if you’re paying a big man $20 million/season, he’s a must-start. However, the chemistry with the Knicks has looked the best it has in years. Melo looks comfortable playing the 4 position, while still being able to knock down long range shots. He’s more aggressive attacking the rim as well. His usage rate is high which is to be expected considering he’s 1 of the best ISO players in the league. The flip side of that is bigger 4 guys like Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Kevin Love will give him significant problems in the paint. Fans and analysts have belabored the point of Melo and STAT having problems with chemistry. But I honestly think it’s more about having STAT at the 5 position than anything else. So the straightforward answer is split his minutes between Melo and Chandler based on the match-ups. For example, against a team like Memphis, STAT should be the starting 4.
Here’s the thing; when James Dolan committed a $100 million deal to STAT, his knee/back injuries were well-known and documented. It’s a little late to go back on that now.
In the NBA you never know what’ll happen. But I think STAT is staying put. Do you think the Knicks can trade STAT? If so, to where and how would it work?