Iman Shumpert: New York Knicks Would Sacrifice Future by Dealing Young Guard

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 17:  Iman Shumpert of New York Knicks looks on during the NBA London Live 2013 game between New York Knicks and the Detroit Pistons at the O2 Arena on January 17, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

With any other NBA franchise, this article would be stating the obvious and would therefore be unnecessary. But these are the James Dolan-era New York Knicks we're talking about, and if history tells us anything, the inscrutable is always distinctly possible.

As first reported by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the New York Knicks have flirted with the Phoenix Suns about swapping Iman Shumpert for a package that includes Jared Dudley:

The Suns are willing to give New York a package that includes forward Jared Dudley and possibly a future first-round pick for Shumpert, but the Knicks have so far shown no inclination to do such a deal, sources said.

That the Knicks have so far balked at seriously considering this deal is good to hear. But that they were even, reportedly, willing to field the call is unnerving to say the least.

New York's general manager has technically changed, but its lineage is very familiar. Glen Grunwald didn't spearhead all of New York's pratfalls since 2006, but working under Isaiah Thomas and Donnie Walsh, he certainly didn't lead any successful efforts to stop them.

In entertaining any sort of Dudley-for-Shumpert exchange, Grunwald would prove himself to be just as clumsy as his predecessors. Even though Jared Dudley is a swell player who might make them better in the (very) short term, losing the dynamic young point guard would be, for lack of a better term, a total Knicks move.

Which isn't to say I don't see where Grunwald, presumably, is coming from.

Iman Shumpert has looked like a shell of his former self since returning to action this season. That's to be expected from an explosive player coming back from a torn ACL, but with the Knicks looking like legitimate contenders for the first time in what seems like forever, the allure of a fully healthy Jared Dudley is hard to resist.

By making that swap, however, New York would literally be pushing all of its chips into the middle of this season's table. They'd be putting the "now" in win-now methodology. Just check out this figure ESPN Stats & Info tweeted the night of their season opener:

That's absolutely absurd. Where the Knicks go from this season is already one of the most contentious arguments in basketball. All we know—or at least all we thought we knew—is that they'd continue building around Carmelo Anthony and 22-year-old point guard Iman Shumpert.

With Shumpert out of the fold, they'd have more barren prospects than the Chicago White Sox.

And for what? A slightly—emphasis on slightly—better shot at winning the East this season? Jared Dudley might be better than a gimpy Iman Shumpert right now, and he's certainly better than Steve Novak and Ronnie Brewer, but does he really give them a chance to beat the Miami Heat? When LeBron James is playing well enough to make a legitimate case for GOAT?

And who's to say Shumpert won't get better as the season progresses? In case you haven't noticed, we're not even at the All-Star break. If Shumpert can regain even a modicum of his defensive prowess from last season, he'll be imperative come April, May and June; how else does this team plan on slowing down, say, Dwyane Wade, with the aging Jason Kidd?

If the Knicks truly plan on winning a championship in the next five years or so, they'll need to be considerably stronger and the Heat will need to be considerably weaker. The latter will probably come with time, but the former?

That can only come with Iman Shumpert in blue and orange.