The New York Knicks saw their most valuable trade chip fall on Wednesday night, but it reportedly won’t keep the floundering franchise from consummating a move as the NBA trade deadline looms.
Shooting guard and top perimeter defender Iman Shumpert sprained the MCL in his left knee in New York’s 98-81 victory over New Orleans on Wednesday night, less than 24 hours from the trade deadline.
The Knicks were reportedly seeking to move Shumpert, along with the remaining two-years and $8.8 million owed to point guard Raymond Felton, to the Los Angeles Clippers for point guard Darren Collison. L.A. might have also included rookie forward Reggie Bullock or veteran Matt Barnes.
Unfortunately for third-year stud Shumpert and the Knicks, the sprain was in the same knee that required surgery to repair a torn ACL following his rookie campaign, severely hampering the player and his overall trade value.
However according to ESPN, the negotiations have been pushed back to Thursday and the Knicks are hopeful a deal can still be struck before the 3 p.m. EST deadline.
Ranking 25th in assists and 22nd in points per game, New York has been longing for an upgrade at point guard for most of the season. Team president Steve Mills and his front office had reportedly made numerous overtures to the Boston Celtics for point guard Rajon Rondo, but to little avail.
Serving as All-Star Chris Paul’s main back-up, Collison has led the Clippers bench with 10.1 points and 3.6 assists per game and could slide immediately into New York’s starting lineup. Under Collison the Clippers second unit is third in the league with 40.1 points per game.
Even before Shumpert’s injury the Clippers were hesitant to take back Felton’s contract, considering his recent struggles and poor decision making in close games. In eight games this month, Felton’s shot a poor 34.3 percent from the floor for 7.6 points and 6.3 assists per game and New York has gone 2-6.
Should the Clippers remain skittish, New York could begin last minute negotiations with the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to the New York Post. The Thunder reportedly inquired about Shumpert and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. However the report stresses the Knicks remain very high on Hardaway Jr. as he’s viewed as “untouchable.”
New York is currently 3.5 games back of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and need to shake up a roster that’s struggled all season. The Knicks are also trying to show superstar and leading scorer Carmelo Anthony how serious they are about capturing a championship before he likely tests free agency this summer.