Is Iman Shumpert as Good as Gone This Offseason?

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterFebruary 21, 2014

New York Knicks shooting guard Iman Shumpert (21) drives with the ball during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)
Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

Well, this is awkward. 

After reportedly trying to deal guard Iman Shumpert to numerous teams throughout the year, the deadline has passed and he's still a New York Knick.

Based on the offers that were being reported, it's probably a good thing the Knicks didn't panic and make a move. 

But whether you think of Shump as a bum or just a kid who needs more time, it's been three years and we still haven't seen much progression. 

Blame it on coaching, injuries or simply his fit in the offense—regardless, it just hasn't worked out in New York.

Kathy Willens/Associated Press

In the meantime, shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. has been cooking. He's taken minutes away from Shumpert and even forced him to play the 3, which according to Marc Berman of New York Post, is not something Shump prefers.

It really just doesn't make sense to enter next season with shooting guards J.R. Smith, Hardaway and Shumpert—especially if it means playing Shump out of position—not to mention the holes this team has at other spots in the lineup.

The Knicks have a surplus of 2-guards and a shortage of big men, shooters and draft picks. They're also missing a viable point guard, but there probably isn't one worth dealing for that will be available on the trade market.

Not even Darren Collison, who was rumored, by ESPN's Marc Stein, to be heading to New York in a deal that included Shumpert and Raymond Felton.

John Minchillo/Associated Press

You can bet the Knicks will be doing everything in their power to try and make a move this summer. They could look to trade Hardaway, but based on earlier reports this season that had the Knicks reluctant to deal him away, it seems that management values him a little more than Shumpert.

It's also important to remember that Shumpert will be entering the final guaranteed year of his rookie deal, meaning the Knicks will soon have to decide whether he's worth investing in long term. 

On the other hand, Hardaway will be making $1.1 million in 2014-15, $1.3 million in 2015-16 and $2.2 million in 2016-17, per ShamSports. Given the promise he's already flashed, along with the assumption he grows as a player, the Knicks will be getting some pretty terrific bang for their buck. 

With Smith locked up for the next few years, and Hardaway emerging as a must-play guard, it's Shumpert who appears to be the odd man out. 

However, given how desperately the Knicks have seemed to try and trade him this season, along with the MCL sprain he suffered the night before the deadline, Shumpert's value isn't where it once was.

And it's not like he's been blowing anyone away on the floor—his scoring average has fallen from his rookie year, his jumper has been erratic and we haven't seen him make a consistent two-way impact. 

“Not a big fan,’’ one NBA executive told Berman of the New York Post. “He’s not a good shooter. Is he a stopper or just a good defender? His performances are all over the place. He’s an OK rotation player on maybe a playoff team, but on Indiana or Miami, he wouldn’t even play.’’

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

At this point, the Knicks could have trouble dealing Shumpert and getting equal value in return. If you ask me, unless they can actually get a potential difference-maker back, which sounds unlikely, the Knicks should either try and package Shumpert with Tyson Chandler (the only other Knick with trade value outside of Tim Hardaway and Carmelo Anthony), or deal him straight up for a first-round pick, which New York has none of in 2014. 

A franchise like the Phoenix Suns, who could have four picks in this year's first round, would seem like an ideal team to negotiate with.  

If those options aren't on the table, then they might as well keep him. There's no sense in trading Shump just to trade him.

But considering the Knicks were about ready to swap him for another team's backup point guard (Collison), you'd like to think Shump is as good as gone once the trade market reopens. 

It should be reasonable to think there are teams out there that feel this is a perfect buy-low opportunity. A 2-guard who can defend and slash like Shump could be useful to someone looking for backcourt depth. 

But whether or not the Knicks will be able to get anything done will depend on their willingness to accept 75 cents on the dollar—because chances are the offers won't get any better from the ones they heard before the deadline. 

The fact is that changes need to be made with this Knicks roster, and unless they're willing to part with Anthony, Chandler or Hardaway, Shumpert will pose as the team's most sensible trade bait.