Woodson not guaranteeing starting role for highest paid-player at the franchise.
New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson is unsure as to whether Amar’e Stoudemire will return to a starting role next season, despite being their highest-paid player.
The 30-year-old missed lengthy periods of the season this year with on-going knee troubles, and was thus restricted to a bench role for much of the campaign.
While he did make an impact in his limited minutes leading to some suggesting he should be reinstated into the starting line-up when fully fit, Woodson is still uncertain.
Stoudemire is set to make $21.68m next season and $23.41m in 2014/15 which will be the final year of his contract. It remains to be seen In what role he will make key contributions to the Knicks, with answers unlikely to arrive until next season.
“I haven’t made that decision. I’ll have this summer to kind of evaluate where I go with that. First things first, he’s got to come back healthy,” Woodson told the media as reported by NBA.com.
The Knicks forward averaged 14.2 points, on 57.7 percent shooting and 5.0 rebounds in 29 games this past season despite playing just 23.5 minutes per game.
Having spend time last summer working with Hall of Famer Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon to improve his low-post scoring, Woodson revealed he believes Stoudemire has a major role to play alongside the likes of Carmelo Anthony in moving the franchise forward.
Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald labelled him a “heck of a player”, and revealed that their medical staff will work with the former All-Star in drafting up an offseason program.
Stoudemire will now have to focus on returning to full health over the summer, while he also has plans to continue his work with Olajuwon to improve his skill set further working inside the paint and potentially work his way back into the starting line-up for the Knicks.