According to Frank Isola of The New York Daily News, New York Knicks owner James Dolan wants to trade Iman Shumpert. This comes after a two-year stint in which Shumpert has reportedly made his way onto Dolan's "bad side."
In the end, dealing Shumpert would be a critical blow to the Knicks' bleak future.
Shumpert isn't entirely in the clear in this instance, as Dolan is reportedly upset with Shumpert after he allowed scheduling conflicts to get in the way of his summer league tenure. Shumpert, a defensive player with a limited offensive game, was brought onto the summer league team to polish his skill set.
With the tension that's been building between Shumpert and Dolan for roughly two years, it appears as if Shumpert is equally as interested in the trade.
Dolan is reportedly upset that Shumpert wasn’t interested in working with the summer league team and wants to trade him. Shumpert, I’ve heard, isn’t too crazy about the moves the Knicks have made, which could further stunt his development.
New York cannot let this get out of hand.
The Knicks have an Eastern Conference contender with the reigning scoring champion in Carmelo Anthony, Sixth Man of the Year in J.R. Smith and 2012 Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler. They also have All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire, former No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani and defensive specialist Metta World Peace.
What the Knicks lack, however, is youth and athleticism—and that's why they can't afford to let Shumpert go.
Without a Future
The New York Knicks have a very strong roster, pairing superstars with high-quality role players. As they presently are, they have a strong chance at competing for the Eastern Conference title.
With that being said, their window of opportunity is amongst the smallest in the NBA.
Carmelo Anthony is 29, Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire are 30, Pablo Prigioni is 36 and Metta World Peace is 33. Andrea Bargnani and J.R. Smith are both 27, which may open the door for the Knicks to build around those two players entering the future.
Nevertheless, Bargnani is as flat-footed a big man as you'll find, and Smith is used as a sixth man rather than a franchise centerpiece.
With the Knicks continuing to side with signing aging veterans to compete right now, there is an absence of care for future seasons. Much as the Los Angeles Lakers learned in 2012-13, a team with superstars and no youth is one without a future at all.
Keep in mind, this is the same Knicks team that traded Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Danilo Gallinari for one player and failed to replace them with the necessary youth or athleticism—you know, two full seasons later.
Elite Defensive Presence
The Knicks added Metta World Peace via free agency, thus significantly improving their defensive perimeter. Even so, World Peace is 33 and, despite his powerful frame and defensive versatility, the word "elite" may be unwise to use.
Shumpert is another story.
Shumpert can't defend the post as proficiently as MWP, but he thrives in stepping up against players at both guard positions and small forward. With his length and explosive athleticism, the former Georgia Tech star has comfortably moved into the ranks of the best defenders in the NBA.
Trading him would be another blind move driven by Dolan's misguided desire to win a title with marketable names.
By keeping Shumpert, the Knicks create a significantly more versatile rotation. Shumpert can play any position from point guard to small forward, and with the Knicks' starting lineup as unclear as ever—keep in mind, 'Melo's best success has come at power forward—having his presence opens the rotation up defensively.
World Peace, Prigioni and Smith may offer their advantages, but even as we speak today, Shumpert is the best perimeter defender the Knicks possess.
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