For the first time in over a decade, the New York Knicks have a legitimate chance of making the NBA Finals.
Less than two weeks away from the All-Star break, the Knicks have the second-best record in the East, trailing only the Miami Heat by 2.5 games. They’ve led the Atlantic Division for the entire season, and might be the favorites in the conference to challenge the defending champs.
Despite their success, New York has been at the center of some trade rumors. The most recent speculation involves the Phoenix Suns' interest in Iman Shumpert.
Over the weekend, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that the Suns had expressed interest in acquiring the second-year player. Phoenix is willing to part with Jared Dudley and possibly a future first-round pick for Shumpert.
It’s not the first time that the Suns have tried to pry Shumpert from the Big Apple. In the offseason, the two clubs reportedly had discussions about sending Shumpert to Phoenix in a package that would have brought Steve Nash to New York. The point guard was ultimately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for several draft picks.
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Multiple sources have reported that the Knicks are not interested in sending Shumpert to Phoenix for the package that they are currently offering. In his rookie season, Shumpert proved to be one of the better perimeter defenders in the league. New York will likely need his skill set to advance in the postseason.
Not only do the Knicks want to hold on to Shumpert, but the team’s best player is also against making a move. Carmelo Anthony told the media that he thinks New York is just fine the way it is currently constructed.
"We don't need to make no moves," Anthony told ESPNNewYork.com. “No, we're good. What are we going to go get? I don't know what we going to go get for (Shumpert)."
According to ESPNNewYork.com, the team has been looking to add a shooter in recent weeks. Still, there are some within the organization who do not want to part with Shumpert. The Knicks lead the league with 11.1 three-point field goals made per game, and are sixth in percentage from behind the arc.
Shumpert returned to the Knicks lineup on Jan.17 after missing 37 games because of a torn ACL. His minutes have been limited, and he doesn’t seem to be fully recovered from his injury. Shumpert is shooting just 33.8 percent from the field and averaging 5.3 points per game.
Mike Woodson remains confident that Shumpert will be a big part of the Knicks success as the season proceeds.
"We've got a lot of faith in him," said the Knicks head coach. "Again, his lateral movement is not where I think it should be and his timing is off a little bit, and that's expected. I mean, we're not playing him big minutes because he's somewhat still on restricted minutes as well. So we're going to continue to nurse him and bring him along slowly, and he'll be fine. When it counts, he'll be there I think."
Other than Shumpert, New York doesn’t have many valuable trade assets. If they want to make any significant moves before the Feb.21 deadline, Shumpert will likely have to be involved in a deal.