Potential Landing Spots and Trade Packages for Iman Shumpert
The New York Knicks have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference (32-18) and realistic championship hopes for the first time since the days of Patrick Ewing, Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell.
The drama-filled rumors surrounding Shumpert's availability have been befitting of the New York City setting.
When reports first surfaced that Shumpert was being shopped, Knicks coach Mike Woodson raced to shoot them down (via SI.com). Then, sources close to the sophomore hoped that he would indeed be traded to salvage what they saw as his dwindling confidence (according to Chris Sheridan of sheridanhoops.com). That report lasted just a few days before Shumpert's agent, Happy Walters, declared it "totally false" (via ESPNNewYork.com).
Any time a player is given that much ink at the trade deadline, he's clearly being discussed. Now, discussions don't guarantee transactions, but they do offer a direct view of how much weight Shumpert carries around the league.
New York Knicks receive: Josh Smith, Zaza Pachulia
Atlanta Hawks receive: Iman Shumpert, Amar'e Stoudemire
Analysts and executives had predicted the Knicks would make only minor changes at the deadline given the team's success and murky financial waters, but that thought process flew out the window with this reported blockbuster deal.
Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD.com has heard from sources that the Knicks have entered the Smith sweepstakes. And they've got the requisite horses to stay in that race through Thursday's deadline.
Pachulia is a speculative throw-in on Kennedy's part to make the financial aspects of the deal work, but given the age and injury history of the Knicks' frontcourt, he's a logical candidate.
Stoudemire has impressed in his 20 games since returning from offseason knee surgery, but Knicks coach Mike Woodson still hasn't found a way to work him back into his starting lineup. Given the money left on Stoudemire's contract (two years, $45 million), it isn't feasible to imagine him as a career reserve moving forward.
But that heavy financial commitment leaves this trade in stark contrast to what Atlanta general manager Danny Ferry had been reportedly seeking. Ferry has slashed the Hawks payroll since assuming the position over the summer and has the franchise in the league's best financial position beyond this season.
Unless Ferry is somehow convinced that Stoudemire and Shumpert lift his team into championship contention, it's hard to imagine this deal taking shape.
New York Knicks receive: Gerald Henderson, second-round pick
Charlotte Bobcats receive: Iman Shumpert, Ronnie Brewer
Part of the the challenge facing the Knicks in any potential Shumpert deal is the fact that the Knicks already have $75-plus million on their payroll in each of the next two seasons.
When combined with Shumpert's rookie contract, that presents a myriad of problems in N.Y.'s search for proven veteran talent.
But Henderson's a player that could be a possibility.
While he's shot nearly 40 percent from the perimeter, his career 27.5 three-point percentage suggests that number's likely to fall over the season's final months. The fourth-year player isn't high on upside, but he has all of the athleticism and defensive tenacity that Shumpert brings without the medical limitations Shumpert will carry over the remainder of the season.
As for Charlotte, Shumpert seems a far better perimeter fit playing alongside Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He's a good enough ball-handler to relieve Walker of his scoring duties, and forms a formidable defensive duo with MKG.
Brewer has all but disappeared from Woodson's rotation, but the free-agent-to-be would have the final months of the season to prove to Charlotte that he's worthy of keeping around.
Oklahoma City Thunder
New York Knicks receive: Eric Maynor, Perry Jones III, future first-round and second-round picks
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: Iman Shumpert, Kurt Thomas
The Thunder have the second-best record in the NBA (39-14) and don't need to do anything before the deadline.
But they do hold some intriguing young talent, and could look to use those players to upgrade their second unit.
Maynor once held great promise, but a torn ACL suffered in early 2012 all but removed him from the NBA landscape. The emergence of Reggie Jackson has made Maynor expendable, and the Thunder have reportedly made Maynor available (according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com).
Jones, meanwhile, has yet to have the opportunity to showcase his skills on the NBA stage. Once widely projected as a potential first-overall pick, medical concerns over his knee saw his draft stock plummet and he nearly fell out of the first round.
Neither of these players fits into the established, veteran pieces that the Knicks are looking for, but losing Shumpert and Thomas wouldn't figure to dent their contender status this season. Both players could emerge as valuable, inexpensive players in the near future—something that New York could need in the coming seasons.
Shumpert would give the Thunder another tenacious defender on the perimeter and another distributing option on nights when Russell Westbrook gets too trigger-happy. Thomas offers (at least) a veteran presence for the locker room in anticipation of a lengthy playoff push, or (at best) a more experienced option to take Hasheem Thabeet's minutes.
New York Knicks receive: J.J. Redick
Orlando Magic receive: Iman Shumpert, Steve Novak
Perhaps unimpressed by what they've found individually on the trade market, the Magic and Knicks have reportedly begun talks on a potential Redick-for-Shumpert swap (according to Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD.com):
The Magic and Knicks have discussed a J.J. Redick for Iman Shumpert trade. Other players (and maybe a third team) would have to be involved.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 19, 2013
Their comparative contracts necessitate the need for additional players, and Novak is purely speculation on my part.
Redick is a clear win-now acquisition for New York if this trade takes place. He's another shooter added to their collection (40.3 three-point percentage), but also gives them another reliable ball-handler and a tough defender.
Shumpert, meanwhile, headlines the list of players linked to the Magic in recent weeks. Orlando's main focus should be building young, high-potential talent and he certainly fits that mold.
Novak is included mainly because he's got the best contract to fit this deal. He plays a valuable role in New York's offense, but the addition of Redick could be enough to offset his loss.
New York Knicks receive: J.J. Hickson, Jared Dudley, Sebastian Telfair, Wes Johnson, future first-round pick from Phoenix, second-round pick from Portland
Phoenix Suns receive: Amar'e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert, Nolan Smith
Portland Trail Blazers receive: Marcin Gortat, Ronnie Brewer
If the Knicks can't make their blockbuster acquisition of Smith, perhaps there's another way out of Stoudemire's contract.
Dudley immediately steps into Shumpert's starting small forward spot, bringing his own defensive acumen and three-point shot (38.7 percent) in the process. Hickson shores up Woodson's interior on the second unit and his ability to play away from the basket means he can share the floor with Tyson Chandler. Telfair returns to his birthplace, giving New York some depth behind their aging point guards, Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni. And Johnson returns to the state where he dominated at the University of Syracuse.
The Knicks also return over $10 million in expiring contracts. And the Suns' first-round pick from the Los Angeles Lakers in the Steve Nash sign-and-trade could wind up a late lottery selection, something that could be of value to New York and not too costly to hold up the trade.
Phoenix finally lands that star player they've been chasing in Stoudemire, and his return to the desert could be a boon for the ticket office. Shumpert's an intriguing backcourt mate for Goran Dragic, with both players capable of beating their defenders off the bounce. Smith is probably nothing more than an expiring contract ($1.4 million), but could factor into the team's future if Kendall Marshall struggles.
And Portland grabs a more pure post pairing to play alongside LaMarcus Aldridge in Gortat. Brewer also adds some needed depth to Portland's rotation.