Amar'e Stoudemire's Pending Redemption

By Rosalyn Ross / @R_Trinity

We should all be so lucky.

Most of us will never know the comfort of losing a job one day and having our services courted by three different companies the next. Since 2009, the discouraging state of the economy has relegated anyone forced to wade through the waters of unemployment to a year or more of uncertainty.

Not so much in the case of Amar’e Stoudemire.

Even by NBA standards, the recent ex-New York Knick and newly confirmed Dallas Maverick has enjoyed a particularly fast reimagining of his value and potential.

Two weeks ago, he was an overpriced lemon. In free agency, he’s been held up as a steal at the veteran minimum and a promising championship component.

And price is exactly the point — well, price and great expectations.

Anyone who intends to play basketball for a living better not end up on the wrong side of his team’s financial obligations or come up short statistically. In fact, that’s true of the NBA and true of corporate America. Here, Stoudemire committed the double fault.

Back in 2010 in New York, before the injuries and before Carmelo Anthony arrived, Stoudemire was the man. Fortunately in Dallas he won’t have to be, and as such, he’ll be in the perfect position for a comeback — not a career comeback but a favorable rewriting of his narrative.

What might have been defined as a career marred by an albatross of a contract and a chasm of what-ifs will now likely be remembered as one in which a player with tremendous talent was able to accept his deficiencies and move on, offering all that he had left in the tank in a backup role far from the spotlight.

In a league of restructured salaries and repurposed responsibilities, a lot of guys find themselves in this position. And though it stings the ego, the greater shame is in being regarded as an overpaid liability. For Stoudemire’s part, he might even get a championship out of it.

He’ll be comfortable in the Mavericks' pick and roll. He’ll be a serviceable defensive player that can earn double-digit rebounds on a good night. He’ll play well with Tyson Chandler and well enough when asked to fill in for him. Even without a championship, this move wins.

He saw the handwriting on the wall and took the amiable high road to buyout negotiation. He made the smart play.

Or maybe he glanced over at his former teammate.

It seems cruel to say that Carmelo Anthony could be a cautionary tale of financial burden and unmet potential, but in this instance, it would be accurate.

The Knicks have cleaned house, leaving Anthony and his behemoth contract to accommodate. He’s been shut down with season-ending knee surgery, and he is the center of a longstanding debate about his value as a leader and as a championship centerpiece.

Given the size and length of his contract, it’s hard to imagine a day in the future when we might be talking a buyout for Melo, but this is the NBA and it’s certainly within the realm of possibility. If that time does indeed come, Anthony would be wise to refer back to these last few days and act accordingly.

For now though, let’s take this moment to wish Amar’e Stoudemire well on his road to redemption.

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