What if the Knicks give Amare Stoudemire $100 million?

Here are some quick thoughts on the rumor that Amare Stoudemire is signing with the New York Knicks.

  • Stoudemire is generally considered one of the very best players in the NBA.   Stoudemire has been selected to five all-star games and last year he ranked 10th in the NBA in points score per game.  This suggests Stoudemire should be paid like one of the very best players in the league.
  • When we look at Wins Produced, though, we see a somewhat different story.  Yes, Stoudemire is good.  But his production of 10.1 wins in 2009-10 only ranks 29th in the league. Again, that’s quite good.  But relative to other top free agents (i.e. LeBron and Wade), Amare offers quite a bit less.
  • Furthermore, Amare is relatively old.  As the following table indicates, Amare produced 63.4 wins across his first eight seasons.  Players, though, only generally improve up until their mid-twenties (Amare’s best season was at age 25).  Given how player performance declines with age – and how minutes change with age – we can also project what Amare’s production across the next five seasons might appear.  
  • As one can see, Amare is only projected to produce 32.4 wins.  Yes, that is all this projection says the Knicks are going to get for all that money.  Part of this is due to a decline in per-minute production.  And part of this is due to the fact Amare has only played about 65 games per season.  Obviously if Amare can play more minutes he will produce a few more wins.  But it doesn’t look like Amare is going to produce enough to justify his contract.
  • So the Knicks will be paying $100 million for an above average player, but not a player who is going to substantially change the team’s outcomes.   And that means fans of the Knicks might be disappointed.

One last note… I hope to offer some comments on the Western Economic Association meetings soon.  There are a few interesting stories to tell from our conference.

- DJ

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