The 2013-2014 NBA season has not gone as the New York Knicks had planned. A year after having the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, the team is out of the playoffs through 51 games. In order to return to the postseason, the organization is looking to make a trade.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Knicks and Denver Nuggets have been in talks to get a deal done by the Feb. 20 deadline. New York’s Iman Shumpert and Denver’s Kenneth Faried would be the two principle players involved. The possibility of the Knicks swapping Shumpert for Faried isn’t exactly news. In November, the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola reported that the two sides had discussions. Now, Stein says New York is looking to revisit the idea.
Shumpert has been, maybe, the Knicks’ best defender since he joined the team three years ago. Denver could use help stopping their opponents, considering they rank 28th in the NBA, allowing over 104 points per game. The team has also seen guards Nate Robinson and Ty Lawson suffer serious injuries. Faried, though, was drafted five spots behind Shumpert and has put up better numbers in all three seasons. His career average of 10.9 points and 8.4 rebounds easily surpasses Shumpert’s 7.9 points and 3.6 boards.
If the Nuggets don’t want Shumpert, New York could look to ship the shooting guard elsewhere. Towards the end of 2013, there were rumors that the club might trade for Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors. According to Isola, Lowry was available two months ago, and New York is currently interested in him. The Raptors have been making trades with an eye towards the future, and they aren’t good enough to compete with the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers in the east. Still, Toronto is the No.3 seed and may want to hold onto the point guard as they attempt to make a playoff run.
Poor play at point guard might be the biggest reason for New York’s demise this season. Raymond Felton’s 10.5 points per game is a career-low, and he’s missed 16 games with injuries. In order to replace him, the Knicks might be able to hold onto Shumpert if they deal Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway was taken No.23 overall in the last draft, and he’s been one of the NBA’s best rookies. His 9.2 points per game is good for fourth among first-year players, and he ranks first in three-point shooting percentage. Felton would likely go to Toronto in a potential deal.
New York drafted Shumpert with their first-round pick in 2011, and he immediately became an integral part of the team. New York, though, seems to have soured on the 23-year-old in the last year. In the summer, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that Knicks owner James Dolan wanted to trade the 23-year-old. Since then, his name has come up in several trade rumors.
In any major trade the Knicks might make, Shumpert would likely have to be involved. He’s New York’s best asset, considering his age, contract and the potential he’s shown on the court. After having dealt away several future draft picks, New York will have to move on from Shumpert if they intend to make a splash by the deadline.