Amar’e Stoudemire is the Heat’s ‘Secret Weapon’

Fewer guys have seen their career take a turn for the worst as bad as Amar’e Stoudemire has.

Stoudemire was the 3rd highest paid player in the NBA in 2013-2014, making $21.6 million in the 4th year of a five-year $99.7 million contract he signed with the Knicks on July 6th, 2010. The big pay check wasn’t turning into results, for Stoudemire however.

After averaging 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game in 78 games with the Knicks during his first year with the team, Stoudemire fell off pretty bad, mostly due to injuries.

Here’s a look at how bad he declined over the rest of his deal with the Knicks:

Stoudemire-Chart

Yikes. Stoudemire knew his age and injuries were going to catch up on him at some point, but they didn’t need to be cruel about it. That’s part of the reason Stoudemire is looking to reinvent himself in Miami with the Heat at a much cheaper price.

“Just four years ago I was an MVP candidate and an All-Star,” Stoudemire said. “I feel like I can still get back to that All-Star level of play. If I can achieve that, then that’s going to help the team in its entirety. … I will accept whatever the role is.”

Stoudemire signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Heat during the off-season, giving the team more depth at the power forward and center slots. His average salary over his four below average years in New York was of course $20.1 million, so the Heat were able to land Stoudemire for $18.6 million less, a pure genius move by Pat Riley.

Stoudemire has been listed as active for every Heat game except opening night versus the Charlotte Hornets, but up until last night had only played in one game. This lead many Heat fans to question how head coach Erik Spoelstra is using him, and/if Stoudemire and his agent are happy with it.

It appears all is good, and Stoudemire was very good last night.

With Hassan Whiteside picking up two early fouls in the first for minutes of the 1st quarter, we knew the Heat were going to turn to one of their big man off the bench with the most common guess being Josh McRoberts. It was not McRoberts.

Stoudemire checked into the game and played the final eight minutes of the quarter, leading all Heat scorers with 10 1st quarter points.

Stoudemire has now logged 20 minutes on the season, averaging 6 points and 2 rebounds per those 20 minutes, giving him an average of 21.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per 36 minutes.

Perhaps Stoudemire might be used more frequently now that he energized the Heat last night.

[twitter-follow screen_name='tony_montalto' show_count='yes']