Amar'e Stoudemire wants to prove he and Carmelo Anthony can play together
"We never gave it a chance," he said.
Speaking moments after the Knicks' season ended with a 106-99 loss to the Indiana Pacers in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series, Stoudemire admitted it was difficult for him to watch another second half from the bench.
"It's tough, it's tough," he said. "It's never easy to sit there and watch. But it's Coach's decision."
Saying he hopes to sit down with Woodson this offseason, Stoudemire wants to let the coach know that he believes he and Anthony can not only coexist on the court but flourish.
And Stoudemire didn't hesitate when asked if he wants to make his situation work with the Knicks, the team he signed with in 2010 to jump-start their rebuilding process.
"Oh, without a doubt," he said. "There's no doubt about it."
Whether Anthony and Stoudemire can mesh on the court has been a much-debated topic ever since the Knicks acquired Anthony from Denver two seasons ago.
This year, Stoudemire's season was interrupted by two knee surgeries that limited him to 29 regular-season games. And because the Knicks used him off the bench, he often wasn't on the court at the same time as Anthony, adding fuel to the perception that their styles of play don't jibe.
But Stoudemire wants to change that perception, saying he wants the opportunity to meet with Woodson soon "to allow them to understand what exactly my style of play is and what I bring to the table. It's something I think I need to sit down with coach Woody and express to him."
In only his fourth game back from his second knee surgery of the season, Stoudemire struggled in six first-half minutes against Indiana's big front line. He shot 1-for-3, turned the ball over once and didn't get his hands on a rebound. He also picked up two quick fouls.
The only time he set foot on the court in the second half was to greet his teammates during timeouts.
Stoudemire said earlier in the day that he was fine with whatever role was asked of him, careful not to give the perception that he was putting his personal situation ahead of the team's playoff push.
"It's all right," he said, referring to Game 5. "As long as we won."
Stoudemire has stuck with that team-first mantra all season, one that's been unlike any other during his 11-year career.
After missing the first two months because of right knee surgery in the preseason, he came back as a bench player for the first time in his career.
In the third year of a five-year, $100-million contract, Stoudemire averaged 14.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game before he was shut down in early March. Left knee surgery then kept him sidelined until the Pacers series.
But Stoudemire, 30, was quick to say he believes he still is capable of being his old 20-point, nine-rebound self on a nightly basis -- and he wants the chance to prove that next season alongside Anthony.
"I know what I can do," Stoudemire said. "I know my talents. I know what I've been doing my entire career."