We’ve heard statements from New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson that guard Iman Shumpert will not be dealt before the February 21st trade deadline.
Shumpert’s agent, Happy Walters, continues to shoot down any stories of his client demanding a trade from the team.
Well, that hasn’t stopped his name from popping up in trade rumors as the deadline draws near.
According to a report by Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, the Knicks have had preliminary discussions with the Orlando Magic over a possible trade involving Shumpert and guard J.J Redick.
A straight-up swap of the two players would not work, as it would put New York over the luxury tax threshold. More pieces would need to be involved.
The Magic are insisting that any trade involving Redick would need to include a first-round draft pick.
Iman was recently rumored to be heading to the Phoenix Suns in a package for veteran shooter Jared Dudley, but those talks have quietly fizzled out.
He’s averaging 5.3 points on 33.8% shooting from the field, as well as 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists through 13 games.
Redick is having a breakout year, averaging a career-high 15.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists.
J.J is on the last year of his contract, which is paying him $6 million for the season. He will become an unrestricted free agent in July, meaning he can sign on with a new team and leave Orlando with nothing.
One of his key strengths is his ability to shoot the basketball, hitting 40.3% of his attempts from behind-the-arc. The Knicks shoot 38.1% from three-point range, so it’s not as if the team is struggling in that department. J.J is a better shooter moving with the ball, compared to the likes of Jason Kidd and Steve Novak, who are spot-up shooters, so perhaps that’s a big selling-point. He’s even shown a willingness to take the ball to the hoop more, rather than settling for jumpers.
Does New York really need another shooter though? Six players on the roster shoot better than 37% from deep (Novak, Kidd, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Copeland, Pablo Prigioni and Shumpert), so it’s not necessarily a huge need at the moment.
Shumpert also presents more from a defensive standpoint at a much younger age (22) than Redick does. In 2011-12, Iman finished the regular season with two third-place votes for NBA Defensive Player of the Year, averaging 1.7 steals a game. In fact, as per 82games.com, the Knicks allow six fewer points to the opposition when he’s on the court.
Coach Woodson preaches defense on a daily basis with his team. A player like Iman Shumpert offers him an above-average option on the defensive end, especially when it comes to guarding some of the quicker and more talented guards around the league. He can even defend multiple positions, as evident by Woodson playing him at small forward in recent outings.
The Knicks are extremely deep, so perhaps rather than building for the future and keeping Iman, they could decide to deal him in a trade for someone who can help the team win now and contend for an NBA Championship this season. He’s the only player on the roster under the age of 27, so it’s not as if New York has a lot of options for the next 5-7 years.
There is more upside for the Orlando Magic in this potential move than there is for the Knicks. I don’t believe Redick gives New York anything more than what they already have. Losing Shumpert would hurt the team’s overall defense, which is something a guy like J.J can’t compensate for.