|Stoudemire could be back very soon. (Getty Images)|
Amar'e Stoudemire finally has a realistic target date for his season debut following knee surgery. He said Jan. 1, 2013, is “a possibility.” It's the first time Stoudemire has used a specific date.
The Knicks have rolled without Stoudemire, getting off to a 20-8 start. It's been obvious that with Carmelo Anthony playing power forward, the Knicks have a real comfort level with their offense and an easy rhythm and understanding of roles. Add Stoudemire to the mix and there's worry that he could complicate things.
The Knicks reportedly tried to trade Stoudemire for basically anyone in the offseason because they could see the on-court chemistry problems coming. He's a constant injury concern because of his knees, his production has waned, his fit is questionable and his contract is horrible.
Mike Woodson might have to get creative with his rotations. Stoudemire reportedly is open to the idea of coming off the bench, which could benefit the Knicks, especially with some recent depth issues arising with Rasheed Wallace down with an injury.
Plus, a bench role likely means fewer minutes for Stoudemire, and, with his constant health issues, that could be a good thing for him -- less wear and tear and the ability to go harder for 25-30 minutes instead of trying to pace himself for 40.
Last season, Stoudemire had one of his worst statistical years of his 10-year career, when he averaged 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, the lowest full-season totals since his rookie year.
You can look at Stoudemire's return two ways: 1) It's just adding talent to an already good team, so how could it be bad or 2), it's a potential complication and could upset the team's flow and chemistry. Which way it goes will largely be on Stoudemire and his mindset. If he wants to try and establish himself as a go-to player, it could be challenging to fit him in. If he's willing to accept a role and just try to fit, he could really benefit the Knicks.