One of the most surprising names to be found on the rumor mill this season is Iman Shumpert of the New York Knicks. With the NBA trade deadline merely days away (Feb. 21), the lockdown defender has been one of the more sought-after players across the league.
Due to the Knicks' mishandling of Shumpert, those rumors are beginning to hold weight.
According to Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com, people close to Shumpert feel he is being improperly utilized in New York. This has led to a reported decline in Shumpert's overall morale and confidence.
More importantly, it has led to those close to the situation hoping for a trade.
“There are major concerns [from people close to Shumpert] over how the Knicks are developing him,” a source from another team told SheridanHoops.com, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
“They feel he’s being played out of position [at small forward] and his confidence is suffering because of it. They understand the team is having success and it has to be the right deal, but they’d prefer Iman in another situation… And soon.”
This is yet another shocking turn of events in the Shumpert-Knicks saga.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported on Feb. 9 that the Phoenix Suns were interested in acquiring Shumpert's services. Their trade offer included swingman Jared Dudley and a future first-round draft choice.
At the time, the deal was viewed as nothing more than unlikely trade banter.
In response, head coach Mike Woodson and superstar forward Carmelo Anthony each took turns coming to Shumpert's defense (via ESPN New York). The common theme in what they had to say was that Shumpert wasn't going anywhere.
It appears as if those closest to Shumpert have a different perspective.
Shumpert is currently playing out of position and averaging 9.7 minutes less in 2012-13 than he did in 2011-12. Injury recovery or not, this appears to be bothering the second-year guard.
With time running out before the trade deadline, Sheridan's report has breathed new life into the Shumpert-related trade rumors.
There is no shortage of a market for a 22-year-old that has already displayed the traits of an elite perimeter defender. Keep in mind, Shumpert received two third-placed votes for Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-12 (via NBA.com).
As a rookie.
Unfortunately for Knicks fans, it appears as if the interest of others has begun to creep into Shumpert's mind. With less opportunity has come a decline in confidence, thus leading to the potential for a change in scenery come the trade deadline.
The question is, can the Knicks make it right before they lose their rising star?