Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press
Trade Iman Shumpert to Oklahoma City for a 2014 First-Round Pick
Iman Shumpert is one of three Knicks players who could be attractive to other teams via trade. Though his ceiling is up for debate, Shumpert, still only 23, has the raw skills to evolve into a difference-maker on a winning team.
He improved his range to eclipse 40 percent shooting from distance in his sophomore season, and though he regressed this past season, he still drilled nearly 40 percent of his corner threes. According to NBA.com, he ran the third-highest total distance on the Knicks in 2013-14 (138.9 miles) over just 27 minutes per game. His motor is a tremendous asset, and his on-ball defense has been compared to the Tony Allens of the league already.
Still, as he enters the fourth year of his career, there's question concerning whether he will package his raw skills into becoming a bona fide talent. He hasn't had the benefit of a coach who is willing to develop him yet, playing under Mike Woodson for all but 35 of his 191 career NBA games, playoffs included. But in the right deal, Shumpert may be able to bring back something of value to a franchise that is desperate for it.
That deal almost came last February, when the Knicks were on the brink of shipping Shump to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 21st overall pick in this year's draft, according to Grantland's Zach Lowe. That deal never came to fruition—New York's front office was uncharacteristically conservative, knowing Phil Jackson was on his way, but unsure of when.
The swap has resurfaced this summer, so it seems, with Marc Berman of the New York Post reporting the two teams have been in contact once again. And for New York, obtaining the 21st overall selection in this deep draft may be more valuable than what Shumpert can provide.
Jackson has been high on Shumpert since his hiring, but a few things are working against the young player. First, and most importantly, nobody knows how Shump's raw talent will translate over time. Good coaching and development by Fisher's staff would surely help, but it's still a question mark.
Also, Shumpert is set to be a restricted free agent after 2013-14. If the Knicks holds onto him through next year, they risk losing him to a bloated offer sheet or having his salary impede their spending in 2015 or 2016.
A first-rounder in this year's draft, however, would be under control on a rookie-scale contract, presumably for the next four seasons. With the Knicks looking to construct an expensive, star-studded, free-agent crammed roster next summer or the one that follows, they'll need as much inexpensive talent as possible.
That's most easily attainable through the draft, and—especially considering New York's lack of selections through the rest of the decade—this trade would be conducive to the superteam that the Knicks hope to build.
To make this work under the cap, Oklahoma City could simply send over a portion of its $6.5 million trade exception that it received in the Kevin Martin sign-and-trade. If a deal isn't struck by when the traded player exemption expires on July 11, OKC could send Hasheem Thabeet to New York as a money-match, whom the Knicks could waive free of charge, as long as they do it before September.