Amar'e Stoudemire will reportedly be willing to play off the bench when he returns from a knee injury, allowing a New York Knicks squad that has achieved success without him to retain its chemistry.
Stoudemire has been on the sidelines with a knee injury all season as the Knicks have cruised to one of the best records in the league, winning their first six games and now sitting at 10-4 after a bit of a rough patch. But many have wondered if the return of the six-time All-Star would jeopardize the Knicks' success: Although he and Carmelo Anthony were billed as the franchise's saviors, they've always been better playing apart in the three years since the pair came to New York -- the team actually has a losing record with the two playing together. This year, the Knicks have looked best playing a smaller lineup with Anthony at the power forward spot, and Stoudemire's return to the starting lineup would likely necessitate sliding him back down to small forward.
But sources close to Stoudemire said he'd be willing to come off the bench in order to maintain the team's chemistry. If he were willing to play a sixth-man role, the team's ball movement-friendly starting five could remain the same without having to answer the always awkward question of how to get both Stoudemire and Anthony enough touches, with Stoudemire providing a major scoring option for the team when Anthony has to get rest.