The Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks are talking again, only this time, Carmelo Anthony isn't the center of attention.
J.R. Smith is starting & Iman Shumpert could be departing. I'm hearing Knicks-Nuggets continue to discuss an Iman for Kenneth Faried trade.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) November 13, 2013
UPDATE: Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 6:10 p.m. ET by Dan Favale
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski confirms the Knicks offered Shumpert for Faried, but the Nuggets wanted no part of it.
Denver has made it clear to Kenneth Faried's reps: There are no active talks involving him. Knicks offered Shumpert. Denver rejected idea.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) November 13, 2013
I assume it's only a matter of time before owner James Dolan, in a fit of slighted rage, let's the Nuggets have their pick of an underwhelming litter. Be afraid, Knicks fans. Be very afraid.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 5:40 p.m. ET by Dan Favale
NBA.com's David Aldridge claims there is "nothing happening" regarding the proposed Shump-for-Faried deal:
Let's see if it stays that way or if things are fated to change.
---End of update---
Isola says no deal is imminent, but notes that a path out of New York may have already been paved for Shumpert:
Shumpert, a former first-round pick, has fallen out of favor with both head coach Mike Woodson and owner James Dolan. And with J.R. Smith promoted to the starting lineup at shooting guard for Wednesday's game against the Atlanta Hawks, Shumpert will likely lose his starting spot once Chandler returns.
Finding a destination for Faried while receiving adequate value in return was always going to be difficult for the Nuggets. He's still on his rookie deal and players with his upside earning under $2 million are uncommon.
Enter the Knicks.
Shumpert is still on his rookie contract as well and has found himself on the wrong end of owner James Dolan's warpath since last summer.
In July, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith was filmed telling Dwight Howard that Dolan wanted Shumpert gone after he appeared in only one summer league game. Dolan isn't known as a forgiving owner, so it would surprise no one if he sent Shumpert packing.
Financially, a straight-up swap works.
Which team would be the winner of this potential deal?
Faried and Shumpert's salaries come within $500,000 of each other, simplifying what can often become a complicated process when shopping rookie-scale contracts. Logically, though, the deal doesn't make sense for either team.
Denver already has an abundance of wings and, per The Denver Post's Mark Kiszla, will be welcoming Wilson Chandler, yet another swingman, back to the rotation. The Nuggets recently announced that JaVale McGee would be out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his left shin as well. Dealing Faried in favor of a guard further depletes an already thin frontcourt rotation.
The Knicks' interest in Faried is only partially justifiable. They most certainly could use his rebounding, but he isn't known for creating his own offense or defending particularly well, two areas where Shumpert excels.
ESPN's Marc Stein writes that the Nuggets are also seeking more than just Shumpert in any potential deal:
Yet it's believed that Denver is also seeking draft compensation in addition to Shumpert in exchange for Faried, who averaged 11.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in 2012-13 in his second season as a pro. That could prove to be too high a price for the Knicks, who would prefer not to part with Shumpert but understand that he is by far their most attractive current trade asset.
Additionally, the Knicks have shown time and time again they're all in on pleasing Anthony, who is expected to explore free agency this summer. A source told the New York Post's Marc Berman in May that Anthony figures Shumpert for a future star, so shipping him out for short-term solution who doesn't actually solve anything is a risky move.
Talks are clearly in the early stages of development and, again, nothing is considered imminent. But a dialogue has started, and where there's smoke, there's usually fire.