Before Signing Dwight Howard, L.A. Lakers Should Learn from Amar’e Stoudemire

The New York Knicks’ main problem over the past two seasons has not been their defense, their rebounding or their coaching—it has been Amar’e Stoudemire.

Stoudemire has played just 76 games for the Knicks over the past two seasons while earning nearly $40 million.

His absence has been largely due to injuries which he has had no control over, but the fact of the matter is that the Knicks have a huge amount of money tied up in a 30-year-old power forward that is unlikely to ever be the player he once was.   

According to, this has caused the Knicks to exceed the league’s salary cap by $21 million while completely handcuffing the team in terms of its ability to bring in additional talent to support Carmelo Anthony.

The main reason why the Knicks are unlikely to advance to the NBA Finals over the next few seasons (aside from playing in the same conference as the Miami Heat)—during the prime of Anthony’s career—will be Stoudemire’s contract.

The Stoudemire situation in New York should serve as a cautionary tale for any team looking to sign Dwight Howard to a long-term mega salary—particularly the Los Angeles Lakers, who are already set to pay Kobe Bryant more than $30 million next season.   

According to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard, the Lakers are talking about offering Howard a five-year deal worth as much as $118 million. This works out to $23.6 million per year for a player that never liked playing with Bryant and never really fit into Mike D'Antoni’s offensive system.

In addition, Howard has already gone through a back surgery which forced him to miss a good portion of the 2011-2012 season. Then he spent much of this past season fighting through back and shoulder injuries.

So, Howard is essentially a 28-year-old (he will be 29 by the start of the 2013-2014 season) big man th...

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