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Raymond Felton's return might make starter out of Amar'e Stoudemire

Amar'e Stoudemire has come off the bench in the Knicks' last nine games. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) Amar'e Stoudemire has come off the bench in the Knicks' last nine games. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Knicks coach Mike Woodson would not rule out the possibility that Jason Kidd's move to the bench might make room for Amar'e Stoudemire to return to the starting lineup.

Woodson said Wednesday he plans to eventually move Kidd to the bench when Raymond Felton makes his expected return from a broken finger on Saturday.

Woodson said the Kidd-for-Felton swap would give him "options again."

A return by Stoudemire to the starting lineup would shift Carmelo Anthony back to small forward and take the Knicks out of a smallball lineup.

“I don’t know,’’ Woodson said. “I’ll have options again when Raymond comes back. I’m not saying that Kidd is going to the bench (Saturday).’’

Woodson reiterated that Felton's starting will not be a demotion on Kidd, but rather a way to reduce his minutes for the long haul.

“I feel like I’m killing Kidd when not having Raymond in uniform,’’ Woodson said. “I’m playing him a lot of minutes. We need Kidd for the long haul. If it means starting or coming off the bench, Kidd’s going to play. I don’t care if he starts or comes off.’’

Stoudemire has come off the Knicks bench in the last nine games after being cleared to play 30 minutes. He has not asked Woodson to return to the starting lineup.

“It’s whatever it takes to help us win,’’ Stoudemire said. “That’s the ultimate decision for us is to win. Whatever that chemistry brings for us so be it.’’

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