Iman Shumpert and Kenyon Martin both helped the Knicks claim the Atlantic Division crown. But will either one be back next season to defend it?
The New York Knicks clinched their first division title since 1994. They just had a 13-game winning streak. They also have the league's leading scorer and hope to follow him to a deep playoff run.
But after this postseason, it's likely many will be gone.
The Knicks took an interesting approach to their frontcourt this year. They went with older, more experienced players, and to protect themselves from inevitable injuries and fatigue, they brought in a whole bunch of them.
Unfortunately, they've all gotten hurt. At the same time.
Injury-prone players may be off the team come the summer. Others may see their time in New York end due to lack of productivity, or on the other side of that coin, enough value to be traded but not enough to be kept.
Here's a look at who may be saying goodbye to New York in the coming months.
Kurt Thomas is the oldest player in the NBA. Besides his age, his days in New York could be numbered as well.
Thomas is a free agent after the season is up, and his injuries—including the current one which has kept him out of action—make it tough to justify bringing him back.
If he returns from his injury in time for the playoffs and makes significant contributions, he may earn himself another year. Barring that, it just does not make sense to keep him. Even when healthy, Thomas is a slow shadow of his former self, and it's likely time for him to call it a career.
Another aging veteran, Rasheed Wallace is a rare mix of size, toughness and long-range shooting ability.
Sadly, he hasn't been able to prove that he still has what it takes to win, as injuries have kept him out most of the year.
Luckily for the Knicks, Wallace is only signed to a one-year deal, but when it's up this summer, don't look for New York to bring him back due to his lack of contributions this season.
Unlike the others who have appeared on this list so far, James White is not an over-the-hill former star.
Quite the contrary, he hasn't gotten much of a chance to become a star in the first place. While teammate Chris Copeland has been able to make the best of limited minutes by scoring in bunches, White has not given the Knicks reason to keep him around.
With several big men likely leaving the team, the Knicks need to bring in some fresh blood somehow. White could very well be used in a package to trade for a new forward.
Kenyon Martin was a late addition to the team. While he has done well, he's also gotten injured with a sprained ankle that has sidelined him.
Whether Martin remains with the Knicks after this season will depend on if he comes back for the playoffs and how he performs.
With other veteran big men on their way out, Martin—a free agent this summer—could be part of an exodus from New York. Unless, of course, he comes back from his ankle injury and plays well enough that management is forced to take notice and consider giving him another shot next season.
Iman Shumpert is the best defender on the team not named Tyson Chandler, and his offense has improved (18 points on April 9 against Washington and 16 against Memphis on March 27). So why would the Knicks want to trade him?
Because they can.
New York has an abundance of smaller players. From Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni and J.R. Smith at guard to Carmelo Anthony as an undersized power forward, the Knicks have all of their bases covered in a small-ball game.
It's the power department that is a cause of concern these days.
New York needs size, and can trade for some if it's willing to part with Shumpert. He's a young starter with several years left on his contract at a discount price (only $1.7 million next season).
It wouldn't be the worst idea to package him (maybe with one of the other players on this list) for a young big man or even a draft pick.
While Shumpert is certainly capable of contributing to the Knicks for years to come, who knows how he will develop as a player in the long run? Knowing what he's worth now, it may be best to strike while the iron is hot and see what New York could get in return for him.