NBA Free Agency 2012: Nash for Shumpert in Sign-and-Trade Must Be Avoided

Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIIJuly 3, 2012

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 28:  Guard Iman Shumpert #21 of the New York Knicks reacts against  the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern  Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs  on April 28, 2012 at the American Airines Arena in Miami, Florida. The Heat defeated the Knicks 100-67. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Torn ACL or not, Iman Shumpert is far and away more valuable to the New York Knicks than free-agent point guard Steve Nash.

According to ESPN's Chad Ford, Shumpert could be the main piece of a sign-and-trade deal that would bring the two-time MVP to New York:

Knicks could offer Shumpert, Douglas, Gadzuric, Harrellson & Jordan to Suns & get Nash to starting # of $9.9 M. 4 years, $42M trump Raps?

— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) July 3, 2012

This is beyond unfathomable.

If this happens, it would be yet another major, franchise-altering gaffe carried out by the James Dolan regime. One that is far worse than the long list of Isiah Thomas boneheaded acquisitions.

Hey, Chicago, do you guys want some lottery picks for Eddy Curry? Okay, great.

Is this the Phoenix Suns' front office? Do you guys want a couple of first-round picks for Stephon Marbury? Done deal.

Hello, Houston? This is Isiah Thomas. I'd like to send you our 2012 draft pick for a washed-up Tracy McGrady.

To Thomas and Dolan's credit, they presided over deals that were for picks, not players. But Shumpert is not just some number in a draft; he has already established himself as one of the most valuable young players in the league.

Shumpert is the best draft pick that the Knicks have made in years. He's already one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA and is the most explosive player on the Knicks' roster.

Shump Shump changes the dynamic of the Knicks on the defensive end. His lockdown perimeter defense allows Tyson Chandler to remain in the paint longer than he can without his services.

Chandler staying in the paint means Amar'e Stoudemire can just try to stay out of everyone's way and grab a couple of rebounds here and there.

Now that the Knicks are likely to lose an above-average outside defender in Landry Fields (news via Marc Stein of ESPN), they can't afford to lose an elite-level guy. But, honestly, who knows what kind of sly maneuver the Toronto Raptors are trying to pull here.

Without Shumpert, who covers Dwyane Wade? Who covers Derrick Rose? This prospective deal would throw the Knicks' defensive scheme into a tailspin right after Mike Woodson figured out how to get it going in the right direction.

Sure, Shumpert isn't a great shooter, but there's no reason that won't change in the future. Last year was his first in the league, and not many young players come into a team as wildly erratic as the Knicks were last season.

Nash is already 38 years old. He's an amazing point guard and the best court general out there, but there's no way he's going to perform at an elite level for much more than three or so seasons at most. That's being cautiously optimistic.

Who knows if this rumor has any legs, but if Dolan and GM Glen Grunwald allow this to come to fruition, they are going to meet some serious backlash from the Knicks' fanbase.

We saw where trading youth got the organization in the early 2000s, and it was a gruesome sight.

To allow Shumpert to play anywhere but Madison Square Garden is to decimate the youth of the Knicks and is a step in the complete wrong direction.