Amare Stoudemire has star company, but can he become a championship-caliber big?

When Amare Stoudemire entered free agency last season, the question the Suns asked themselves was whether he was the right player to build around at a max-contract price.

The Knicks instead took that risk and now Amare has company among New York superstars after Carmelo Anthony FINALLY was dealt to the Knicks Monday, but I wonder if either of those guys have the chops to be the lead player on a championship-caliber team.

If the Knicks can find a way to finagle an all-world point guard from the free agency class of 2012 (cough cough CP3 or D-Will) then they’ve got a title contender to rival the Super Friends in Miami.

Perhaps it’s OK for now for New York to be a team with a second-round ceiling after so many years of misery in the Garden, but I’d be wary of giving up all those assets for a guy in Carmelo whose advanced stats numbers don’t exactly scream “superstar” thanks to his low efficiency, high usage nature. The Knicks are now also extremely thin although that’s what D’Antoni prefers I suppose.

I also question how Carmelo fits into a D’Antoni offense that has so long been known for the pick-and-roll, spacing for threes and transition points. Of course he could score in any offense, especially one drawn up by an offensive mastermind like D’Antoni, but Melo doesn’t exactly complement Amare in a Nashian way, and let’s not get started about his defensive fit.

All along I’ve thought the Knicks should find a way to upgrade the big man spot next to Amare and then pray for one of the point guards in 2012 rather than toss all their assets into the Carmelo derby.

If nothing else the Knicks just got a whole lot more interesting and with two All-Star starters among their starting five they will be a perennial playoff team for the foreseeable future.

I still feel the Knicks are one stud away from being able to challenge the Bostons and Miamis of the world, but in the coming years we will find out if Amare Stoudemire can become the championship-level big man he never was in Phoenix.

And on the flip side….

The biggest ramifications of the deal for the current Suns involve the slide Denver is likely to take without its two best players, especially since some of the Knicks they acquired could be packaged for future assets.

The Nuggets are currently tied for sixth in the West two games up in the loss column on the Suns. It’s hard to imagine Denver is a playoff team with the lineup it will put out.

With Utah floundering without Jerry Sloan and Memphis in trouble with Rudy Gay out for a month, a playoff berth for Phoenix seems much likelier than it did a few weeks ago.

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Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire Carmelo Anthony

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