Anyone hoping the New York Knicks' 2013-14 season would stop taking turns for the worse and weird may want to buckle up.
After being linked to an inordinate number of rumors ahead of the NBA's Feb. 20 trade deadline, the Knicks wound up standing pat. According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, however, they had the opportunity to trade Iman Shumpert to the Oklahoma City Thunder:
Even after Shumpert suffered a strained left MCL in a Knicks loss last Wednesday, Oklahoma City was willing to part with this season's first-round draft pick to land the Knicks shooting guard, according to sources with knowledge of the trade discussions. The Knicks, however, refused to do the deal because they weren't getting a current player in return who could help them make a push for this season's Eastern Conference playoffs. At the end of the day, they deemed Shumpert more valuable than the 28th pick (or whatever low pick OKC gets) of the draft, sources said.
The Knicks' priority all along in trading Shumpert was to attach Raymond Felton's contract to the deal and get a solid point guard in return. That nearly happened with the Clippers.
For the skeptics out there, Grantland's Zach Lowe confirms these findings:
Knicks fans might be angry that New York willingly failed to make itself part of the loaded 2014 draft. Some may find it admirable that the Knicks passed on dealing a young player with two-way potential for a late first-rounder.
Hardened by excessive losing, others could just be indifferent.
But don't make your final decision just yet, because this gets better—or worse, depending how you look at it.
While the Knicks refused Oklahoma City's offer of a first-round pick, Broussard indicates they were all for taking Darren Collison off the Los Angeles Clippers' hands:
While Shumpert's injury did not deter the Thunder, it did kill the Knicks' hopes of sending him to Los Angeles. Clippers coach Doc Rivers really wanted Shumpert, sources say, and Rivers was willing to do a deal that would have sent Darren Collison, Matt Barnes, Byron Mullens and two second-round picks to New York for Shumpert, Felton and Beno Udrih. But Clippers owner Donald Sterling and others within the organization were hesitant to bet on Shumpert after seeing him go down in Wednesday's game at New Orleans, according to sources.
At this point, it's really not about the Knicks forgoing the opportunity to acquire a first-rounder; it's about them passing on that opportunity in favor of aggressively pursuing a point guard who lost playing time to Mike James with the Dallas Mavericks last season.
That's so Knicks.
Clearing Raymond Felton's contract off the books isn't a good enough reason to trade Shumpert, the Knicks' only two-way player, for what Los Angeles could send back. Felton's contract is manageable for a backup point man, with his annual salary never surpassing $4 million.
That's the defense this writer would have used before Felton was arrested, at least.
Hours after the Knicks suffered a heartrending loss to the Mavericks on Monday night, Felton was arrested and "charged with second- and third-degree criminal possession of a firearm, which are felonies, and fourth-degree possession of a firearm, which is a misdemeanor," according to ESPN New York's Ian Begley.
This is yet another headache the Knicks could stand to avoid. What's done is done, though. They were unable to move Felton and retained Shumpert despite Oklahoma City's tempting offer in favor of a playoff push—a playoff push that seems more unlikely by the day, mind you.
Following their loss to Dallas, the Knicks are now six games off a playoff spot with 25 left to play. Worse still, Shumpert remains injured, and the team is now thin on point guards after parting ways with Beno Udrih, per ESPN.com.
Shumpert's future is no closer to being resolved, either.
Broussard says the guard's camp was "hoping" for a trade, leading us to believe his love-hate-mostly-hate relationship with the Knicks will drag out into this summer and maybe even next season.
"Pointless,'' Carmelo Anthony said when asked to describe his offensive efforts, per Newsday's Mark Herrmann.
One word. That's all it takes to adequately sum up Anthony's exhausting performance, the Knicks' logic and what their season is rapidly becoming.
*Salary Information courtesy of ShamSports.