The New York Knicks are shopping Iman Shumpert around to nearly every team in the NBA. The newest team in discussion with New York over their young defenseman is the Los Angeles Clippers. However, the Knicks have made it known league-wide that the cost of acquiring Shumpert is taking Raymond Felton's contract or a first round draft pick.
The New York Knicks have very little leverage in the trade market but the little they do revolves around the value of Iman Shumpert. The Knicks have made it very clear in the last several weeks that they'd like to upgrade the starting point guard position. Raymond Felton is on notice.
That being said, not many teams want to take on Felton's lengthy contract or his poor play. That's exactly why the Knicks are using the lure of Shumpert to attempt a package deal that would rid them of Felton as well.
The newest team to enter the fray for Shumpert is the Los Angeles Clippers. The Knicks would love to take Chris Paul off their hands but that's simply not going to happen. Fortunately, they have another point guard the Knicks have interest in.
The first thing that people need to get over is that Shumpert's days in New York appear to be numbered. Even if something doesn't happen now it's likely to happen in the off-season. He came in with a lot of promise but hasn't developed and hasn't had a problem getting owner James Dolan mad. That's a bad combination if you're a member of the Knicks.
After understanding that, it's easier to start looking at the names being mentioned in trade talks. In this case, the Knicks are trying to package Shumpert and Felton in exchange for Darren Collison and Reggie Bullock.
It's easy to argue for both sides why either team should or shouldn't make this trade. Shumpert is the Knicks best defender and still on an inexpensive deal. However, Felton is a terrible starting point guard and on a multi-year deal that goes beyond the 2015 free agent period. Collison has more promise than Felton but has been disappointing most of his career. Bullock is an un-athletic small forward who has struggled from behind the arc as a pro.
Then again, there's a log jam at shooting guard and Shumpert hasn't developed an offensive game while Tim Hardaway Jr. and J.R. Smith have both proven to be strong scorers. Felton's a better shooter than Collison. The Knicks could use depth at small forward.
Wherever you call on this argument, this is the bottom line. From a Knicks perspective this is about money. Why? Because there are merits to each players game so who would win out in this exchange is debatable. However, lets just say that the point guards are a wash and that since Los Angeles could use an athletic shooting guard and New York could use depth at small forward the trade is even. Then the decision is if the team feels freeing up additional money for the 2015 free agent class is worth trading Shumpert.
From a pure numbers perspective this trade benefits New York. First of all, Collison is younger than Felton and Bullock is younger than Shumpert. So the whole Knicks-trading-away-their-youth argument doesn't hold water in this scenario. Additionally, Collison is cheaper than Felton and Bullock is cheaper than Shumpert.
Collison makes $1,900,000 this season and $1,985,500 next season. Felton makes $4,180,000 this season, $4,360,000 next season and has a player option he's sure to use in 2015 worth $4,540,000. Bullock makes $1,490,000 this season, $1,200,720 next season, has a team option worth $1,252,400 in 2015, a team option worth $2,255,644 in 2016 and a qualifying offer worth $3,313,542 in 2017. Shumpert makes $1,797,600 this season, $2,761,113 next season and a qualifying offer worth $3,898,691 in 2015.
That means the Knicks would shed salary for the rest of this season, next season and would be able to let both Collison and Bullock go during the 2015 free agent period if they chose. It would free up an additional $8,438,691 for the 2015 signing period which is what Felton and Shumpert are due to make that season. Because Collison's contract would be up and the Knicks could simply not use Bullock's team option that would give them that additional money to spend on free agents.
The problem is, the money doesn't match up so the trade doesn't work. It would take more pieces. Since Los Angeles would rather hold onto Bullock and the money doesn't work adding someone like Jared Dudley into the mix might help and that's exactly what they're discussing.
Dudley makes $4,250,000 this year and next and has a player option for the same amount in 2015. Even if he did use that option a swap of Shumpert and Felton for Collison and Dudley would free up $4,188,691 addition for the 2015 free agent class. Is that enough for the Knicks to make this deal? It's surely tempting. New York could definitely use more cap room to rebuild in 2015 or a draft pick in the upcoming draft to start the process now.
The bottom line is, teams want Shumpert. He has value. The Knicks greatly want to rid themselves of Felton. The front office is smart enough to put two and two together and attempt to use the Shumpert market to get rid of Felton. It's smart. Will it work? Maybe, maybe not.
In the end, at least they're trying. However, if they are going to get something done they'll have to work quickly because the trade deadline is approaching.
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