The New York Knicks are the second-best team in the Eastern Conference with the Atlantic Division lead in hand, but they could be interested in moving a talented young player in Iman Shumpert if it helps them succeed this year with a squad filled with veterans.
The Knicks' outlook
It took a few tries, but the Knicks finally became relevant. It wasn't just the combo of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire that did it -- after their first partial year together, they took a seventh seed in the playoffs and were swept by the Boston Celtics. It wasn't the addition of Tyson Chandler, or getting rid of Mike D'Antoni either -- last year's squad also got a seventh seed, and also got manhandled by the Miami Heat in the playoffs in the wake of Linsanity. It took all that, plus a team loaded top to bottom with veteran talent and guys who can hit the three ball.
The Knicks are No. 3 in offensive efficiency in the league, taking more threes than any team in the league -- 35.4 percent of their shots are threes, one of only two teams in the NBA over 30 percent -- and hitting them, shooting 38.1 percent as a team from deep. They have a solid roster, one potentially capable of being a contender in the East, but they're definitely looking to win now. They're not just one of the oldest teams in the league, they're the oldest team in NBA history in terms of average age.
There's one guy who doesn't fit in that mold: Iman Shumpert. The 6'5 second-year man out of Georgia Tech is clearly a quality player, showing the capability to shut down opposing guards as a rookie with flashes of offense. But he's the only guy on the roster under the age of 27, and although he's shown an improved jumper this year, he shot just 30 percent from deep as a rookie on a much bigger sample size. He's also been slowed this season as he returns from an ACL injury suffered in the 2012 playoffs.
Shumpert has tremendous upside and has become a fan favorite in New York, but wins right now could be more important to New York than Shumpert's future development. If Shumpert can be dealt for a part that makes the team more efficient offensively immediately, the Knicks will apparently seize at the opportunity.
There's been a few potential rumors reported: the first featured Shumpert being dealt to the Suns for Jared Dudley, but that got shot down. Then, we heard word that Shumpert was actively seeking a trade from New York, although his agent then shot those down. The most recent rumor is that the Knicks were talking to the Magic about acquiring J.J. Redick, with Shumpert as a trade chip. The common theme in both rumors involving other players is that the team was looking at bringing in more seasoned guys with more proven jumpshots -- not a surprise, considering the team's MO.
For what it's worth, Seth Rosenthal of Posting and Toasting didn't feel either way about a Shumpert trade while writing about how pleasant the Knicks have been this year. There have also been rumors about a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, with Luke Ridnour a possibility, but those were fainter.
What's the gist
The Knicks aren't looking to make a huge splash at the trade deadline. With Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler peacefully coexisting for the first time in two years of stops and starts, they like their core. But they have one talented young player with the potential to make a lot of younger teams quite happy, and if they can use him to land a piece that makes them more of a contender right now -- and maybe brings some shooting touch -- it seems they'll listen to offers.