By John Schmeelk
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The Knicks actually seemed to be on the right path in their trade negotiations on Wednesday.
They were trying to use one of their few assets, Iman Shumpert, to either acquire a future pick or jettison Raymond Felton, whose contract could go into the Knicks’ all-important 2015 offseason. Using those two players, they were trying to get Darren Collison and Reggie Bullock from the Clippers. Collison would provide a potential upgrade at point guard (though not a big one), but Bullock was the real key to the trade since he could help the Knicks in the next three years. As a 6-foot-7 wing, he could become a perfect complementary player to Carmelo Anthony who could defend and hit the three.
On Wednesday night that trade appeared to fall apart. Even before Shumpert got injured, the Clippers were balking at taking Felton and losing Bullock. There were some whispers that the Knicks had acquiesced to taking Matt Barnes instead of Bullock, making the trade far less attractive.
The Knicks would still be getting Felton’s deal off the books, but they would be losing a potential future asset in Shumpert for two players who would more likely than not be on the roster in 2015. That is not the type of trade the Knicks should make.
Of course, all these points might be moot now, since Shumpert suffered what appeared to be an MCL injury which could keep him out weeks and take him off the trading block.
It was an asinine decision by the Knicks to even play Shumpert while they were shopping him and with him coming off a hip flexor injury, but it might work out. For one, Shumpert’s value will never be lower. It’s pretty obvious that he either needs new scenery or a new coach to get his game back on track. Perhaps when the Knicks hire a new coach next season, he’ll be able to get his career back on the right track. If he plays well the first half of next season, he could be far more valuable at the trade deadline in 2015.
Despite being a free agent in 2015, he is also someone the Knicks could decide to bring back as an on-the-ball defender at a relatively low cost, which could help them in this rebuilding process. There is no rush or need to trade Shumpert now. Moving him in the right deal to set the team up for the future is fine, but moving a potential future asset for a Band-Aid to help a team that is sitting on the outside looking in is just plain dumb. If this Shumpert injury does prevent a trade like that, the Knicks’ idiocy actually might have helped them for once.
What Steve Mills should really be doing up until 3:00 p.m. is look to see if there is anyone out there willing to trade an expiring contract and a 2014 first-round pick for Tyson Chandler. Even though he is having a down year, there is still value out there for the Knicks’ big man. That’s exactly the type of deal that could set the Knicks up perfectly for 2015 and beyond, but unfortunately it is doubtful anyone at the Garden is a forward-enough thinker to get that done.
Rumors will be flying left and right on Thursday as the trade deadline gets closer, but odds are that the Knicks will keep hearing the same thing: Nobody wants your players.
There’s a reason the Knicks are in the situation they’re in: They have veteran players underperforming, few youngsters with potential and no draft picks to trade in the near future. It’s tough to make a trade when that’s the case
You can follow me on Twitter @Schmeelk for everything Knicks, Giants, Yankees and the world of sports.
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