Hamilton: Why Knicks Need to Consider Trading Iman Shumpert

NEW YORK — After the Los Angeles Clippers beat up on the New York Knicks on Sunday afternoon, Carmelo Anthony scoffed at the notion that the Knicks need to make a change or two.

“Shump ain’t going nowhere,” Anthony  matter-of-factly said when asked about the recent trade rumors involving Iman Shumpert and a potential deal to the Phoenix Suns.

“The Knicks shouldn’t even be in trade talk right now,” he said as he walked out of the Knicks locker room.

Au contraire.

The Knicks began the season 18-6 and got out to the third best 24-game start in franchise history, but since then, the team has become the epitome of mediocre.

Since then? The Knicks are 14-11. It’s fair to say that the Knicks have lost games to some of the tougher teams in the league—but it’s also fair to say that they’ve resembled a team that needs something.

Unfortunately for Knicks fans, Iman Shumpert is really the only thing that the Knicks have to offer in any potential trade. As much as it may hurt for the franchise to trade the only player on its roster whose best days are probably ahead of him, at 32-17, the Knicks are a team playing for right now.

Deep down inside, this team believes that it has an opportunity to win the Eastern Conference and play in the NBA Finals.

Anyone who has watched Shumpert play is rightfully enamored with his potential. To succeed in the NBA, wing players need size, strength, athleticism, and a motor that makes them want to be great.

Shumpert has all of that. What he needs, though, just like Jeremy Lin, is time to develop.

The Knicks might not be able to afford him that opportunity. With its current cast of characters, the Knicks have a two-year window, three years at most, to win an NBA championship.

And while Shumpert is an above average perimeter defender, we still don’t know if he has a similar DNA of Bruce Bowen or even DeShawn Stevenson.

Each of those two, as members of the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks, respectfully, locked up opposing wing players while nailing open 3-pointers and kick-outs.

The former, Shumpert can probably do. The latter? We simply don’t know yet.

And that, above is, is the quandary.

The life of an NBA general manager is an everyday, real-life game of playing the stock market. We like to “sell high” on an asset, but the problem is we don’t necessarily know where the top is.

In years past, the likes of Channing Frye, Danilo Gallinari and even Landry Fields were thought to be “the future” of the franchise. Quite simply: a one or two year stint, except in the rare instances of players such as Damian Lillard or Kyrie Irving, isn’t usually enough to deem a youngster “untouchable.”


  1. Matt says

    The only way the Knicks should consider trading Iman is if they can get a player who can create his own shot and score consistently. Buying low on someone like a Tyreke Evans makes a hell of a lot more sense.

    The Dudley deal only makes any degree of sense if the Suns are actually stupid enough to throw in an unprotected 1st. For a team as terrible as they are thats an Isiah Thomas type trade.

  2. stepxxxxz says

    I tend to agree, although i agree with the comments here, too. Guys like DeShawn Stevenson are rarely given the credit they deserve. For Dallas stevenson was sensational. An absolute crucial part of that championship. Shumpert isnt that level of defender.NOt yet anyway. Im not sure he has the attitude to be that kind of defender. It takes a certain toughness, mentally and physically, to play that role. Tony Allen does it for Memphis. Bowen did it too. The problem for the knicks is that this is a long season and the older players start to show signs of tired legs. You shoot from the floor up……..and you can see how exhausted Kidd looks now, and Sheed is probably gone, and the rest were never going to keep it up anyway. Foye I would argue is NOT a good defender. He can shoot, but he’s almost a liability on defense. Personally Id keep Shump right now because i dont see you can get enough in return for him to make a difference. But new york isnt a serious contender anyway. For a variety of reasons having nothing to do with shumpert.

  3. pmiddy says

    Look, the Knicks were never going to shoot the ridiculous percentage from 3 for the season, the way they did those first 20 games. Eventually, they were going cool off and other teams would refine their defenses to deal with the Knicks style. It was ridiculous that so many experts were claiming the Knicks were championship contenders. How many times do teams need to start hot the first quarter of the season and then trail off as the season goes on before basketball media stops overhyping them? There’s an example pretty much every season.

    What the Knicks need now is improved defense. After Chandler, Shumpert is clearly their best defender. Trading him would not make them any better at the things they need to be better at in order to improve their winning %, in my opinion!

  4. George says

    I think part of the problem is that although Shumpert is healed, his reaction ability is still hampered and probably will be for the rest of the season. He just does not have the explosiveness he had last year and that’s to be expected coming off this type of injury.

    In addition, Woodson rarely has him handling on the ball defense, and instead he seems to be spending his time fighting through screens. I don’t know if Woodson is trying to protect him because he is slower than we know or whether this is how he wants to run the defense. In either case, it further reduces Shumpert’s defensive effectiveness.

    Given the above and that the Knicks realistically have a 2 year window at most, if the Knicks can get another perimeter shooter who is a threat from outside and can reasonably defend the wing, I think Shumpert becomes expendable. I hate to say it because I am so tired of the Knicks giving up their future for the present, but there has been too big an investment made into the Chandler, Melo, Amare triumvirate to worry overly about Shumpert’s future ceiling. Let’s face it, if in 3 years, if there has been no title (or close to a title) the current team will be dismantled and Shumpert, as good as he is, is not the person you rebuild a franchise around.

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