Seeing isn't believing; believing is seeing. And I fail to see how anyone could blindly believe in the New York Knicks.
Carousels of imprudent ambitions and dishonest dealings continue to turn at 4 Pennsylvania Plaza. If it's not Knicks owner James Dolan expecting the team to win a championship this season, it's the team planning to sell Carmelo Anthony on an improbable Kevin Love pursuit in 2015. If it's not Amar'e Stoudemire undergoing covert surgery, it's Iman Shumpert secretly being operated on.
When all else fails and you're left wondering if the Knicks can get any more ridiculous, a Rajon Rondo trade rumor bubbles to the surface.
According to the New York Daily News' Frank Isola, the Knicks are trying to move Stoudemire, Shumpert and Raymond Felton in a "complicated" deal for Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, in addition to phoning the Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings.
The Daily News reported last Wednesday the Knicks were trying to work a deal with the Denver Nuggets that would include Shumpert and Denver power forward Kenneth Faried. There are also reports of the Knicks talking to the Sacramento Kings about a deal for Shumpert. Coincidentally, Kings forward Jason Thompson is represented by Leon Rose, the agent for Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Chris Smith.
Of course, the Knicks primary target is Rondo, Boston's All Star point guard who is currently recovering from knee surgery. The Knicks have been trying to trade Shumpert, Raymond Felton and Amar'e Stoudemire in a complicated deal for Rondo but the rebuilding Celtics has yet to show much interest.
ESPN's Chris Broussard confirmed the Knicks were interested in Rondo, but he reiterated that Boston wasn't having any part of it.
Knicks looking to upgrade at PG, have eye on Rondo. But sources say no interest on Celtics' part— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) November 18, 2013
Sources: Right now, Celtics have every intention of keeping Rondo & seeing if they can build around him.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) November 18, 2013
Pinch yourself. You're not dreaming. I promise.
Isola says Shumpert—despite being one of the only two-way players, if not the only two-way player, the Knicks currently have—has fallen out of favor with coach Mike Woodson and the rest of the organization. Over the summer, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith revealed that Dolan, frustrated by Shumpert appearing in just one summer league contest, wanted the combo guard dealt.
Unplanned meniscus surgery must not have been a good enough excuse. ESPN New York's Ian Begley indicates that some within the organization were angered by the timing of his procedure:
Sources confirm Shumpert had offseason surgery on his left knee. The timing of it angered some in #Knicks org. 1st reported by NY Daily News— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) November 17, 2013
Relatively normal and, dare I say, acceptable setbacks have left Shumpert on the outside looking in, being dangled in every negotiation imaginable.
The Knicks previously have tried to snag Kenneth Faried from the Nuggets, but Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski said Denver rebuffed their offer. Then there's the Sacramento talks Isola referenced.
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
But the Knicks would prefer to land Rondo, because duh. Though he's still rehabbing an ACL injury of his own, he's a four-time All-Star (three appearances) and one of the craftiest ball-handlers in the NBA.
Deprived of an elite point guard—yes offense, Mr. Felton—the Knicks would be lucky to have Rondo at point feeding the ball to 'Melo. Anthony himself reportedly wanted New York to make a play for Rondo in July, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman.
Better late than never, right? Eh.
All the Knicks may succeed in doing here is creating false hope, and even that's a stretch. Unless Celtics general manager Danny Ainge starts accepting advice from David Kahn, the Knicks are beyond long shots to acquire Rondo.
Folks, the Knicks have to try to get Rondo...but it doesn't mean they will. Why would Danny Ainge trade his best player to the hated Knicks?— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) November 17, 2013
For starters, Stoudemire has two years and more than $45 million left on his contract. I'll refrain from calling his deal immovable, but it's the closest thing there is to immobile in the NBA. Even a tanking Boston team won't be interested in paying a former six-time All-Star currently posting a 0.8 PER that kind of money.
Shumpert, as a two-way-shooting-guard-of-the-future alternative to Avery Bradley, should be an easy sell, clandestine surgery and all. But good luck convincing the Celtics to take on Felton, who has been increasingly erratic and inefficient all season.
One thing the Knicks have going for them is that the Celtics shouldn't be interested in current talent or players who make them better now. They should be after future draft picks above all else.
Problem solved—for everyone but the Knicks.
Courtesy of the Anthony and Andrea Bargnani trades, the Knicks don't have a first-rounder to offer until 2018, four years down the line, when the Celtics no doubt hope to have concluded their rebuild.
So, to recap, the Knicks can only acquire Rondo using a bloated contract, below-average point guard and promising shooting guard now prone to cloak-and-dagger surgeries. Oh, and they have no (valuable) draft picks to construct a deal around, either. Great. Grand. Wonderful.
Should the Celtics decide to move Rondo, there are plenty of better trades to be had. Teams with imminent draft picks in the bank and players without a redacted injury history will flock to the negotiating table.
Deals like one built around Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin of the Houston Rockets are more promising, and even that doesn't give the Celtics what they want; it makes them too good now. This proposed deal the Knicks are currently trying to piece together doesn't help the Celtics later on or immediately; it's even worse.
Knicks targeting Rajon Rondo but a Boston deal with Houston (Asik & Lin) makes sense. Ainge, McHale & Daryl Morey all have Celtics ties.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) November 17, 2013
By some miracle, if a deal proved possible, the Knicks would likely be the proud owners of Gerald Wallace's exorbitant contract as well. His deal runs through 2015-16, thus handicapping the Knicks' ability to make good on their purported Love exploits in 2015.
Remember, Rondo isn't even playing now, nor do we know when he'll return. If you're the Knicks and you have the opportunity to land him using the aforementioned players, you pounce. His arrival, however, doesn't guarantee instant results. When he finally does return, he could be a shell of his former self or unable to mesh with 'Melo.
Which team will Rajon Rondo finish 2013-14 with?
What's the point, then? All the Knicks are doing here is making empty promises, as they have so many times before. And they're doing so while gambling with the future of Shumpert, whom 'Melo, the player the Knicks are trying to keep beyond this season, figures for stardom.
Years ago, we were none the wiser. Plans were laid out to get LeBron James and to sign Chris Paul, and we bought into them. Nowadays, we're privy to this little game. The one that's now made Rondo a part of its twisted little web.
The one that tries to promise the world while reeking of desperation and fabricated fantasies.
*All stats used in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference and are accurate as of Nov. 17, 2013.