Rumors have continued circulating that the New York Knicks are shopping Iman Shumpert around the NBA. Shumpert’s value to the Knicks is pretty obvious, but the organization apparently feels that there is enough depth and talent in the back-court to replace what Shumpert brings if a good deal is on the table.
The only specific details of a trade rumor have been sending Shumpert to the Denver Nuggets for Kenneth Faried. However, those rumors appeared to have fallen off since Denver was also seeking draft picks back in the process. Nonetheless, it seems any potential deals will center on a getting a big man to fill in for the Knicks. Is this the right move, though?
On one hand, the Knicks’ need for more depth upfront is obvious. They’re one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA, and with Tyson Chandler sidelined until December, the Knicks will struggle to win games without any real force down low. Andrea Bargnani has played well, but he’s a poor team defender, doesn’t rebound, and offers little in rim protection. Kenyon Martin does all of those things fairly well, but he can’t be relied upon for big minutes anymore. The Knicks have lifted his game-to-game restrictions, but sending him out for long stretches will likely only hurt his future availability. Meanwhile, Amar’e Stoudemire, sadly, doesn’t look capable of even playing in the NBA anymore — his body is just too broken down — and Cole Aldrich hasn’t sniffed meaningful playing time.
There is a school of thought that says when Chandler returns, the Knicks can get by OK just playing Bargnani and Martin behind him. However, if any one of them goes down, the Knicks will still have depth issues upfront. For small stretches, the Knicks can probably play Carmelo Anthony or Metta World Peace, but neither can provide the necessary rebounding and rim protection the Knicks really need.
However, others think that if the Knicks are going to trade the valuable Shumpert, it should be for a back-court upgrade. Thus far, Raymond Felton has played poorly, clearly fighting through a leg injury while shooting just 37% from the floor and 20% from behind the arc. Pablo Prigioni is getting buried deeper on the Knicks bench (a poor move by Woodson), and Beno Udrih, after playing well in preseason, hasn’t really gotten a fair shake in the regular season and doesn’t appear to be on his way.
For some, upgrading the point guard situation could give the Knicks’ a much-needed boost. There are no definite names available, but to give the Knicks a real back-court weapon, the Knicks would likely have to part with Shumpert, Felton, draft picks, and perhaps another player. Everyone around the league is keeping an eye on Rajon Rondo’s situation in Boston, but other players might be available, too.
Mike Conley and the Memphis Grizzlies are struggling — could he be had for the right price? The Phoenix Suns seem like they will invest in Eric Bledose as their future; perhaps Goran Dragic might be expendable to them. The Sacramento Kings are struggling once again, and though they just traded for Greivis Vasquez, they might be willing to let him go, especially since they do have Isaiah Thomas in the fold.
These are all hypothetical suggestions, but there are several point guards who could make a noticeable difference on this team, especially while Felton is struggling so badly.
It seems clear the Knicks are going to look to make a trade sometime this season, and if it will be at the cost of Shumpert, they should make sure they’re getting a good deal in return, someone that will truly have an impact for the team.
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