5 Last Minute Trade Ideas to Solve NY Knicks' Glaring Depth Issue
Weeks before all the recent trade speculation, we posed the question, “Should the NY Knicks consider trading Iman Shumpert?”
It was a distasteful thought for fans, as evinced by the commentary. It wasn’t a move we were proponents of either, and we concluded the Knicks should hold on to Shumpert until at least next year’s deadline to see how he develops first.
But it was a fair look at something an emotionally-detached organization (read: business) looking to win it all might have to consider.
Somewhere at the turn of the year, Glen Grunwald and James Dolan must look at everybody on paper and decide if they’ll do something before the trade deadline, which this season is at 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 21.
The fact is, New York has little room to maneuver, and Shumpert is one of the team's few viable trade pieces if the Knicks decide to go for it all. Going for it now, via trade, is the only thing the Knicks' roster constraints will allow.
It is impossible to imagine the Knicks squeezing out a rebuilding project off of this trade deadline.
With age, injury and heavy contracts slowing down New York's march to the No. 2 seed, the Knicks could eke out some depth—at two positions in particular: guard and forward—this Thursday that will give them a better chance of coming out of the East.
1. Steve Novak for Luke Ridnour (Minnesota Timberwolves)
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Jason Kidd has been a critical addition to the New York Knicks. His early contributions were summed up by theknickswall.com,
“Not only did Kidd bring the intangibles that people have raved about for the last decade—leadership, veteran poise, etc. – his on-court worth was huge to the Knicks.”
But Kidd is looking old and tired of late. It’s no wonder. The 40 year old (next month) is averaging 28 minutes a game, a good 10 minutes more than optimal.
All of Kidd’s average numbers per game (points, assists, steals, etc.) are down across the board in his last 22 games compared to his first 23. This is despite having more 30-minute appearances.
Covering for Felton and his injured pinkie took some of the youth out of Kidd’s game. He posted eight 30-minute games of the 12 with Felton out.
Another guard would really help the backcourt depth here, spelling Kidd and backing up Felton.
“For Minnesota, its looking to move Ridnour and open things up in that traffic jam of a point guard rotation. As the NBA’s worst three-point shooting team, they could also use an additional threat from beyond the arc.”
Other than treys, Ridnour’s offensive production is superior to Novak’s and he is at least an equivalent defender.
The other factor that makes this swap work is money: Novak, who has underperformed this season, and Ridnour are both making around $4M.
The Knicks have enough three-point firepower to deal Novak. They could use a little less reliance on it anyway.
2. Iman Shumpert and Steve Novak for J.J. Redick (Orlando Magic)
It seems like a lot to give up for the Orlando Magic’s third shooting guard, but this deal helps both teams.
In fact, according to Hollinger’s Analysis at the NBA trade machine, this swap adds three wins to the Knicks bottom line, while subtracting five from the Magic’s.
But Orlando gets two good chips for their roster. First, Steve Novak will account for the three-point production lost by dealing J.J. Redick.
Secondly, the Magic are in rebuilding mode and would gladly take Iman Shumpert as a long-term asset. Shump would fit in right away, too, probably getting the start at small forward over Maurice Harkless and the currently PED-suspended Hedo Turkoglu.
Shumpert could also add backcourt depth filling in behind Jameer Nelson at point guard.
Meanwhile the Knicks really cinch up their one-two. Jason Kidd could play less minutes, backing up Raymond Felton. And Redick could jump in as the starter at shooting guard or grant J.R. Smith’s wish and come in as the backup.
It would be nice if the Knicks could get away with trading one player for Redick, but the salaries need to balance and Redick is due just over $6M in this last year of his contract.
3. Iman Shumpert and Chris Copeland for Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks)
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Everybody knows Brandon Jennings wants out of Milwaukee (and vice-versa), and his salary (about $3M) is so ripe for a difference-making loaner. He’s a free agent at the end of the year, but what an addition he would make for an all-out 2013 playoff run.
The first thought might be to swap point guards—Raymond Felton for Jennings—but that makes no sense at all. It’s Felton’s game that optimizes the Knicks—pass-first, run the floor, slow transition, etc. Felton is the glue that keeps the Knicks’ somewhat-mismatched parts together.
Jennings is a scorer and plays some mean defense, rocking a line of 18.5 PPG, 6.1 APG, 3.3 RBG and 2 SPG.
This trade would let the Knicks keep Felton running the show. They could move Jennings to starting shooting guard. Jennings and J.R. Smith would be an offensively lethal combo at the No. 2.
Smith has also played small forward. Against smaller teams, the Knicks can go with Carmelo Anthony at the No. 4, where he excels, and get minutes for Smith at the No. 3 behind or in front of Ronnie Brewer (who was great there during the Knicks' super start).
Jason Kidd can pitch in at the backcourt anywhere, but now can go back to his primary position (and purpose)—backing up the point.
The Bucks lose a problem and gain two cheap, young players with a good bit of potential. Shumpert can start at the point in Milwaukee, and Copeland would have time to develop behind power forward Ersan Ilyasova.
4. Brewer, Novak & Camby for Samuel Dalembert and Mike Dunleavy (Bucks)
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Perhaps the Knicks can snag a different trade with the Milwaukee Bucks, this time for a big man.
According to journaltimes.com,
“Some league officials claim the Bucks are willing to deal virtually anyone on their roster, although they say…center Samuel Dalembert, who has an expiring contract, appear[s]…most likely…to be traded.”
The Knicks could use some big-man backup with Wallace and Thomas not playing much. Dalembert would be a bigger contributor than just an insurance policy, though, padding the Knicks’ stat line with 16 PPG and 11 RPG.
The addition of Dalembert could also solve the Knicks’ issues with bigger teams like the Memphis Grizzlies.
They dump Ronnie Brewer who has become an afterthought in Woodson’s game since Amar’e Stoudemire’s return, but played very well when given the opportunity. Mike Dunleavy can easily fill Brewer’s current shoes.
The Bucks get an uptick at forward with Brewer and Steve Novak, and take a risk that Marcus Camby still has some game in him.
Milwaukee is still pretty deep at center even without Dalembert, and their payroll drops to $41M in 2013-14 (and to $30M if they move Monta Ellis), so Camby’s financial impact would be far from destructive if it didn't pan out at all.
5. Amar’e Stoudemire for Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich (Chicago Bulls)
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Ever since Carmelo Anthony came to town and things went a bit south for Amar’e Stoudemire, (no gelling, back problems, malaise, punching fire extinguishers, knee cyst, stats decline in 2011-12), fans and writers alike have been trying to uncover which trade algorithm could possibly move Stoudemire’s huge contract.
But wait. Has Amar’e resurrected his trade value?
Off the bench, per 36 minutes, Stoudemire is averaging 22 points and eight rebounds with over a block. He looks a little like the Amar’e who took New York by storm in 2010. OK, not quite—but if he can stay healthy (a big if) and get more minutes, perhaps he can rebound for a couple more strong years.
If they are looking for a big piece that could very well put them over the top, more than compensate for Carlos Boozer’s point and board production and pick up at least a little of Derrick Rose’s offensive slack, then Stoudemire might be the Bulls' man.
The Knicks, in turn, lose STAT’s contract, get Boozer—who plays better defense than Stoudemire—and veteran Kirk Hinrich to balance the books and round out New York’s backcourt.
Admittedly, it’s a huge financial risk, and we’re thinking outside the box on this one, though it is mathematically and theoretically possible.
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Looking over the Knicks' roster and payroll, one thing is clear: chances are New York will do nothing this deadline around.
New York’s freedom to maneuver is hamstrung by the team’s purse. There simply aren’t many tradable Knicks, thanks to their too-big or too-small contracts that make finding a compatible trading partner challenging. Check out the salaries below.
There are also a few players who are untradeable due to age and injury concerns: Rasheed Wallace, Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby. None of these guys have put in any minutes of note in months.
Then there’s Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler who are just plain untradeable right now.
Hard to believe the Knicks would get rid of Raymond Felton or Anthony’s sidekick, J.R. Smith, either.
Finally, there’s Amar’e Stoudemire and the 2.5 years left on his contract.
That doesn’t leave much wiggle room.
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