New York Knicks Exercise Iman Shumpert's Fourth-Year Contract Option

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25:  Iman Shumpert #21 of the New York Knicks carries the ball during the second half against the Charlotte Bobcats at Madison Square Garden on October 25, 2013 in New York City.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Prepare yourselves for more of Iman Shumpert, New York Knicks fans.

Team president and general manager Steve Mills announced that the Knicks exercised their fourth-year option on the shooting guard.

Owner James Dolan's reported urge to trade Shumpert aside, this wasn't a difficult decision. Not even for the oft-contrarian Knicks.

New York is light on cap space and even lighter on two-way talent. Leaving Shumpert on the books for at least another year was the right play. It also keeps in theme with the Knicks' intent to reload via free agency in 2015.

Hoopsworld's Steve Kyler previously reported the Knicks' plan on allowing Carmelo Anthony to handpick his team of choice the summer after next. Creating the kind of cap space necessary to make good on their promise means New York would have to wipe its books of most of its contracts. Shumpert will be eligible for a long-term extension next season, but the Knicks don't have to offer him one and can instead let him hit restricted free agency for maximum financial flexibility.

Of course, the Knicks will want to keep him longer than through next season if 'Melo sticks around. Anthony "loves" Shumpert, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman, and believes he'll be a star within the next two years.

Committing to Shump in any way, even by simply picking up this team option, helps the Knicks appease Anthony even further. Any move that is bound to garner 'Melo's stamp of approval is the right move.

Beyond Anthony, this was inevitable.

Shumpert is too valuable to the team's current ceiling. Only Metta World Peace can rival his perimeter defense. His improved three-point shooting during the playoffs (42.9 percent) should appeal to a Knicks contingent who floor-spaced their way to 54 victories last season.

Injuries don't demean this move, either.

Shumpert missed significant time after tearing his ACL in 2012 and has proved prone to collisions on account of his aggressive defense and ferocious rim attacks. But that's of little concern when you weigh the risks against the rewards.

The Knicks are paying Shumpert a more-than-reasonable $4.3 million through the next two seasons. At that price, his limbs are worth gambling on. 

Known for trading away their blossoming talent in favor of more established, overpaid players, Shumpert is an anomaly. He's "home grown," diligent and the Knicks' second-most important player.

Keeping him around for at least another year—or rather, giving themselves the option to—creates an air of certainty the usually nebulous Knicks don't endorse but clearly need.