Updates from Friday, July 25
The Knicks recently attempted to make a trade for Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love, offering forward Amar'e Stoudemire and his enormous expiring contract, second-year guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. and swingman Iman Shumpert, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
But the longshot offer, made in the past week, was declined and never stood much of a chance, particularly since the Timberwolves could potentially strike a richer deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers involving No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins.
Updates from Sunday, July 20
Ian Begley of ESPN New York reported the latest in the market for Iman Shumpert:
Working to clear the logjam in the backcourt, the Knicks are discussing their potential trade options with guards J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Shane Larkin, a league source said Sunday.
“They’re working on trying to make a move in the backcourt,” the NBA source familiar with the Knicks’ thinking said.
Updates from Monday, July 7
Speaking on First Take, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said the Knicks and Sixers have had conversations about a deal that would send Amare Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert to the Philadelphia. Although what the Sixers would send back isn't clear, it likely wouldn't be much more than a draft pick or non-guaranteed contract player, as the Knicks would do the deal to clear cap space.
The move would clear roughly $25 million in cap space for the Knicks, and would potentially allow them to chase another prime free agent. Although losing Shumpert would be a loss for the Knicks, it would likely be worth it to rid themselves of Stoudemire's contract.
Updates from Thursday, June 26
Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported the latest on trade talks surrounding Iman Shumpert:
Clippers Coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers and his staff have been on the phone talking with teams about trading Los Angeles’ 28th draft pick in the first round in a package deal with Matt Barnes, according to several NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
At the top of Rivers’ list is a deal that would send L.A.’s pick and Barnes to the New York Knicks for swingman Iman Shumpert, whom the Clippers tried to acquire at the trade deadline.
Another possible deal had the Clippers trading the pick and Barnes to the Phoenix Suns for swingman Gerald Green, the executives said.
Less than an hour before the draft, ESPN's Marc Stein reported the latest on what the Knicks plan to do with Shumpert:
We'll see if Knicks stick to this but latest signals out of MSG suggest they intend to keep Iman Shumpert as opposed to dealing him for pick— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 26, 2014
New York Knicks swingman Iman Shumpert has been persistently rumored as a trade chip, and with the 2014 NBA draft approaching on Thursday, buzz is circulating yet again.
ESPN's Marc Stein has the latest, which suggests that the Knicks could move Shumpert to get into the first round of the draft, along with a potential suitor:
Hearing: Knicks have explored possibility of swapping Iman Shumpert for late first-round pick heading into Thursday's draft— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 23, 2014
Links to OKC are inevitable when subject of Shumpert comes up after OKC showed interest in defensive specialist at trade deadline— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 23, 2014
Moke Hamilton of BasketballInsiders.com reported something similar last week regarding New York's ambition to swap for a top draft pick:
MSG Networks' Alan Hahn provided his analysis on the latest Shumpert situation:
It's not about getting rid of Shumpert as much as it is about resetting the payroll. #Knicks have a big decision to make on Iman next summer— Alan Hahn (@alanhahn) June 23, 2014
Per Spotrac.com, Shumpert has one year left on his rookie contract, and he will require far more money to stay in New York. It doesn't appear the Knicks are too keen on committing.
BasketballInsiders.com's Nate Duncan brings up more valid points as to why a Shumpert trade is logical:
With 2014-15 likely a lost year for the Knicks and Shumpert RFA in 2015, trading him for late first rounder is a great idea.— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) June 23, 2014
Remember Knicks plan to use cap space in summer 2015. Less likely to keep Shumpert as RFA, probably gets renounced w/ over $6 mm cap hold— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) June 23, 2014
Shumpert, 23, was the 17th pick in the 2011 draft by New York and has played rather well when he's been healthy. However, it has to be uncomfortable for him to not have the full endorsement of the front office. Part of that may be due to a lackluster offensive game and health issues, as Shumpert tore his ACL in the 2012 playoffs and sprained the same knee this past February.
What should the Knicks do with Iman Shumpert?
With regard to the current team speculated to be pursuing Shumpert, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the fit would be ideal. Shumpert can play the 2 or the 3, but with Kevin Durant already entrenched at small forward, that means Shumpert ought to play shooting guard the majority of the time.
The Thunder haven't had a surefire 2-guard since Durant and Russell Westbrook have played together. While Shumpert is still young, a bit of a project and has some medical red flags, Oklahoma City has the Nos. 21 and 29 overall picks in Thursday's draft.
Parting ways with one of those wouldn't be too detrimental for savvy Thunder general manager Sam Presti, who had this to say regarding the 2014 draft, per the New York Post's Marc Berman:
We have to figure out a way to find value in the draft. That could be moving off the picks entirely, combining them to move around, could be standing and selecting. I will say this draft is going to be pretty good. At the same time, when you draft a player, you also want to make sure there’s a relative pathway for them to have success and play.
Although Oklahoma City has Jeremy Lamb as a potential shooting guard of the future, Shumpert offers formidable competition to push Lamb and would likely start right away. Playing with the likes of Durant and Westbrook figures to give the athletic Shumpert cleaner looks on offense, while his on-ball defensive prowess is something the Thunder could use on the perimeter.
Since the Knicks don't have any picks in the draft and have an eye toward building for the future, trading Shumpert makes sense for their plans. New president Phil Jackson can't do much in terms of bringing in a marquee free agent until perhaps 2015—and the Knicks may lose their biggest star in Carmelo Anthony on the open market this year.
Anthony will reportedly opt out of his contract Monday, per Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. That creates even more urgency to bring talent to the Big Apple and show Anthony and other future free agents that the team is focused on changing and winning as soon as possible.
The Shumpert saga will be interesting to monitor as the draft draws closer. Even after it occurs, there's still a chance the Knicks could explore the newly acquired rookie assets, then gauge the interest in Shumpert. Based on their history of putting him on the trade block, that's not out of the question.
But if the Knicks were able to build a formidable squad, Shumpert could contribute heavily to the franchise's long-term success in the coming years. He will also be as motivated as ever in a contract year to play hard and stay on the court. Since New York doesn't quite know what it has in Shumpert, parting ways with him is quite the conundrum for the Knicks to ponder in the coming days and beyond.