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.
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.”