Phil Jackson has stated he wants to find a way to acquire a draft pick this June. To wit, the New York Knicks have only considered second round prospects, given how valued draft picks are in this year’s draft and how few moveable assets the Knicks have.
Yet according to Marc Berman, the latest New York Knicks rumors suggest that the Knicks could revisit some trade talks with the Oklahoma City Thunder:
As Fisher mulls his next career step, the Thunder are looking at trading at least one of their late first-round picks, and Knicks president Phil Jackson said he’s looking to obtain a pick for either round of the NBA Draft. The Post reported at February’s trade deadline Oklahoma City made an offer for Iman Shumpert, but the Knicks passed. ESPN.com reported the Thunder offered their 29th pick.
That was before Jackson came aboard, and talks surely will be staged between the two clubs.
Jackson is said to like Shumpert’s defensive prowess and height, but his offensive basketball IQ isn’t sky-high, and Shumpert is not a very good passer — two attributes needed in Jackson’s triangle offense.
Recall that before the NBA trade deadline this past February, it was reported that the Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers were in trade talks that would send Iman Shumpert (and possibly Raymond Felton) to the Clippers for Darren Collison and Matt Barnes. The Knicks favored that trade over the trade with the Thunder, but talks fell through when Shumpert injured his knee playing the New Orleans Pelicans the night before the deadline.
Collison is a solid point guard and would’ve been a welcome addition, and Barnes is at least an OK rotation player, but it was foolish of the Knicks to not pursue a draft pick in a draft where picks are highly coveted. The deal is beneficial for both sides, seemingly. Thabo Sefalosha — whose skill set is kind of similar to Shumpert’s — fell off in the playoffs and lost playing time. The Thunder could use a young guard like Shumpert who could stretch the floor, offer some additional rebounding, and form an intimidating perimeter defense with Russell Westbrook.
For the Knicks, 29 isn’t a very great draft position, but the best teams in the league make it work by drafting sure-fire rotation players. The Knicks would have to have their eye on some players they think can make up for Shumpert’s absence, which is actually quite valuable to the Knicks (Shump had the highest net rating of any consistent rotation player this season).
New York has been working some players out, like PJ Hairston most recently, and it could either be if they fail to get drafted or if the Knicks find a way to get a pick. If the Thunder are willing to deal, the Knicks should continue working players out, especially if they think they can find a young, rotation-worthy player who could take over Shumpert’s spot, and at a cheaper price.