New York Knicks

Knicks Rumors: Latest on New York's Pursuit of Kevin Love

Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love, center, shoots between New York Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire, left, and Tyson Chandler, right, in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press
Nate LoopFeatured ColumnistJuly 28, 2014

The New York Knicks have been at the center of many of the NBA's biggest rumors this offseason, thanks to the Carmelo Anthony free-agency saga. The latest buzz around the league has linked them to Kevin Love, whose name has popped in in more than his fair share of headlines this summer. 

What has been interesting is how many of these rumors and possibilities were just left to float around and create noise in summer discourse without being truly debunked or declassified. They served as ephemeral talking points until the next Defcon-5 rumor alert sounded across the media landscape.

So, of course, the ever-so-fortunate New York Knicks get a trade possibility de-fanged with rather strong, but not conclusive language. Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal offered up a tasty scoop regarding a failed Knicks proposal for Kevin Love:

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 long-shot offer, made in the past week, was declined and never stood much of a chance, particularly because the Timberwolves could potentially strike a richer deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers involving No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins.

However, Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press reports there may not have been a trade offer at all:

Whether this means the Knicks never made a formal offer and just spitballed ideas or that no such trade works were ever in discussion remains to be seen.

It should also put a dampener on Knicks fans' hopes of an improved offer for Love, as all signs point to their inability to compete with reported offers from the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls.

No doubt team president Phil Jackson and returning superstar Carmelo Anthony would be delighted to have Love on the roster, but the team has made substantial progress over the course of the summer. 

Raymond Felton is no longer around to gum up the works, replaced by the efficient Jose Calderon. 

Jose Calderon vs. Raymond Felton, 2013-14 Stats
PlayerGamesMPGPPGAPGFG %TOVWin Shares
Calderon8130.511.44.745.61.36.3
Felton6531.09.75.639.52.02.2
Basketball-Reference.com

Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to make strides, ranking second in scoring at the Las Vegas summer league with 22.8 points per game.

The Knicks were smart to draft Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Cleanthony Early to shore up the perimeter in the future. Early is promising, although he still has to work some kinks out in his game.

"He still hasn’t shown he wants to put the ball on the floor,’’ an NBA scout told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “But his defense is good. He plays hard."

Sure, the Knicks would have done well to dump the oft-injured Amar'e Stoudemire for an NBA superstar, but the 31-year-old forward showed signs of a return to form at the end of last season and could be a huge boost to the squad.

Amar'e Stoudemire, Late 2013-14 Stats
MonthGamesMPGPPGRPGFG %+/-
February1121.310.94.453.3-22.5
March1428.316.96.656.9+3.4
April727.814.15.363.2+6.1
Basketball-Reference.com

Barring a blockbuster trade or signing, the Knicks won't be competing for a championship for at least the next couple of years. They do have some time to take a measured, steady approach with 'Melo in the fold until 2019, per Spotrac.com.

However, they should be able to mark their progress toward a title with a playoff appearance this year in the wide open Eastern Conference. Despite their frustrating play and 37-45 record, the Knicks were just a game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 8 seed.

While teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Charlotte Hornets have made strides, there is no reason to think the Knicks can't leapfrog the Hawks or Brooklyn Nets this season and make their way into the playoffs in 2014-15.

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