Lakers Reportedly Call Knicks About Iman Shumpert Trade

Joe Flynn@@ChinaJoeFlynnContributor IDecember 15, 2013

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Everyone knows that New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert is on the trade market, and now the Los Angeles Lakers have added their names to the list of interested teams.

According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, the Lakers called New York simply to do their "due diligence" on the third-year player, and that no deal is expected in the immediate future.

Broussard also added this: 

Sources say the Lakers also are interested in another Knicks player -- center Tyson Chandler. The Lakers did not inquire about Chandler when they called about Shumpert, but they are weighing whether to propose a Pau Gasol-for-Chandler trade, according to sources.

At first glance, Shumpert would appear to do little to help the Lakers' most pressing need: point guard. Steve Blake, Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar are all injured at the moment, and the playmaking duties have fallen to Kobe Bryant in their absence.

While Shumpert has played point guard in the past—for current Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni during the 2011-12 season, in fact—the results weren't promising. According to 82games.com, Shumpert had a player efficiency rating of 9.0 as a point guard, well below the average of 15.0. 

But D'Antoni still has fond memories of his former player, according to Marc Berman of the New York PostDonnie Walsh, the former Knicks general manager and current adviser to the Indiana Pacers, is also a Shumpert fan, telling Berman:

Iman had all the ingredients to be a very good NBA guard, a very good athlete. He’s got great body intelligence, confidence and ambition. He was a great defender already and will get better with experience. 

While Shumpert might be an intriguing player for the Lakers' long-term future, they would be better served to find a true point guard at the moment. They need a player who can take those playmaking duties away from Bryant. 

Further, although the word "potential" is often used when discussing Shumpert, he is only averaging 6.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game. That points average would be a career low, and he is also coming off two knee operations.

Kobe needs to focus on regaining his form—his scoring form, in particular—to best help the Lakers succeed. That will be difficult while he continues to play out of position.

The Lakers need Bryant at the wing and help at the point. That replacement point guard can be a stopgap, since at least one of the Lakers' point guards will return this season, but he needs to be a true point guard. 


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