Steve Kerr had left the Phoenix Suns a few weeks before the club elected to let Amar’e Stoudemire walk to New York. But the former Suns general manager agreed with ownership and the club’s medical staff that Stoudemire was a medical risk not worth taking.
“Yeah,” Kerr said. “I was on board with it.”
As Stoudemire recovers from yet another knee surgery and questions swirl over whether he’ll ever return to his All Star form, Kerr said he feels “sad” for his former player because “Amar’e just loves to play basketball.”
Neither Stoudemire nor the Knicks can say Stoudemire will return to the basketball court. He had right knee surgery two weeks ago, just five months after the same procedure on his left knee. Stoudemire is currently in the third year of a five-year, $100 million contract.
Suns owner Robert Sarver had offered Stoudemire a five-year, $96.6 million pact with $56 million guaranteed. The remaining $40 million was based on incentives. According to the Arizona Republic, the Phoenix deal required Stoudemire to play 2,200 minutes (26.8 minutes per game for 82 appearances) in each of the third and fourth years.
Stoudemire has appeared in 29 games this season for the Knicks and has played a total of 682 minutes.
“What I remember is our orthopedic surgeon Tom Carter saying that generally after six to eight years after a player has a microfracture there could be problems,” Kerr told the Daily News. “We calculated he had a couple of good years left and that the back end of the contract could be a problem.
“You never know for sure but you go with your experts and in this case it was Dr. Carter.”