Knicks provocateur and sullen beat reporter for the New York Daily News, Frank Isola, dropped a bit of a bombshell on Sunday night. Sources tell him the Knicks have been shopping wing Iman Shumpert, most notably to Boston in exchange for still-recovering point guard Rajon Rondo, but Isola also reveals Shump had a secret second surgery on his knee this summer.
The Madison Square Garden renovations aren’t falling from the sky, but it sure feels that way for Knicks fans. Isola’s report reiterates some things that are already known: namely the drive to get Iman Shumpert out of New York. First Dolan wanted him gone after the Summer League snafu, now it appears he’s fallen out of favor with coach Mike Woodson. With the development of Tim Hardaway Jr., the Knicks feel Shumpert — and his surgically repaired knee — need a new environment, one that’s not in New York.
About that knee, Isola’s source also revealed Shumpert had arthroscopic surgery on his knee in July, which the Knicks never reported. That’s a second Knicks player who had knee surgery that went unreported: in October the Daily News also revealed Amar’e Stoudemire‘s unreported knee surgery over the summer. Both surgeries discount J.R. Smith‘s surprise knee surgery just days after signing his new contract this summer. So many knee surgeries!
But the second knee surgery for Shumpert — after tearing his ACL in the opening game of the 2012 NBA Playoffs — might also be limiting his trade value. Just like Omer Asik in Houston, it’s not a question of if the Knicks will trade Shumpert, but when and for what. The difference with Houston hinges on Asik wanting out since Dwight Howard has taken over the frontcourt (Kevin McHale‘s twin towards 2.0 didn’t really work), but Shumpert has been embraced by lots of New Yorkers, and had appeared to be comfortable in the rotation either as a starter to be replaced by J.R. Smith, or vice-versa.
Nope. The Knicks are actively trying to trade Shump, specifically for Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. Teaming Rondo with a calvacade of shooters isn’t so crazy even if Rondo’s appearance in a Knicks uniform might be, but the trade news has freaked out Shump fans even if the writing was on the wall the moment Smith became a starter.
The Daily News reported last Wednesday the Knicks were trying to work a deal with the Denver Nuggets that would include Shumpert and Denver power forward Kenneth Faried. There are also reports of the Knicks talking to the Sacramento Kings about a deal for Shumpert. Coincidentally, Kings forward Jason Thompson is represented by Leon Rose, the agent for Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Chris Smith.
Of course, the Knicks primary target is Rondo, Boston’s All Star point guard who is currently recovering from knee surgery. The Knicks have been trying to trade Shumpert, Raymond Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire in a complicated deal for Rondo but the rebuilding Celtics has yet to show much interest.
Unless the Celtics are blown away with an offer it’s hard to imagine Celtics GM Danny Ainge trading his best player, Rondo, to the rival Knicks. When Isiah Thomas was in charge of the Knicks he tried for months to acquire Kevin Garnett from Minnesota only to have then Timberwolves GM Kevin McHale trade Garnett to Ainge, McHale’s former Celtics teammate.
All the trade interest is why that second, unreported, surgery is such a big deal. NBA GM’s are probably asking themselves how healthy Shump might be moving forward since his youth and ability to grow as a player are major selling points to prospective trade partners — just ask all the Knicks fans that love him and probably overrate his defense a tad. The other two players in the deal might be even bigger question marks, though.
Stoudemire’s contract is the worst in the league despite his complaints about playing time. STAT’s on restricted minutes for his own good, even if it rankles him not be out there more. When he is out there, he’s still a liability on the defensive end. Raymond Felton is shooting 37.6 percent from the field and 20.6 percent from beyond the three-point arc in his first nine games this season. Shump might have had that second surgery, but he’s the two-way 3-and-D wing many squads are looking to acquire.
Dolan and Co. will do anything to right the ship, even if the ship is moored to a mid-tier spot in the East. All the moves the Knicks are making could, ultimately, be the wrong ones, and there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason to their decision-making. The revelations of Shumpert’s surgery and impending trade is just another quadrant of the byzantine Knicks “plan.”
And we haven’t even discussed New York’s problems on the court, of which, there are more than a few, even if it’s a little premature to start making deals.
Knicks have reached the stage where no headline would surprise me. "Shumpert Refused to Play Tambourine in Dolan's Band, Will be Traded."
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) November 18, 2013
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