In the depths of the night, Marc Stein of ESPN revealed the New York Knicks are shopping Iman Shumpert in hopes to acquire a first-round pick in the upcoming draft.
Hearing: Knicks have explored possibility of swapping Iman Shumpert for late first-round pick heading into Thursday’s draft
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 23, 2014
The connection between the Los Angeles Clippers and Iman Shumpert isn’t unfamiliar. At the trade deadline, the Clips were close to acquiring Shump from the Knicks in a deal centered around Darren Collison, but the two organizations came to a snag over semantics. The Clippers didn’t 1) want to take on Raymond Felton and his remaining $9 million over the previous along with the following two and 2) wouldn’t budge on including 2013 first-round pick Reggie Bullock into the deal.
Several months later, the Clippers have what the Knicks are looking for and talks could strike back up with the NBA Draft only four days away. Compared to other teams in the mid-teens and late twenties that could use Shumpert’s services, the Clippers don’t have as valuable an asset. The Oklahoma City Thunder have the 21st overall pick, Utah the 23rd, Charlotte at 24th, and Phoenix the 27th. If those franchises feel the urge to provide the Knicks with the mentioned picks, the Clippers have no chance at Shumpert unless they include an asset, mainly Bullock, and if last years sentiments remain, the deal would be off because of such.
The Clippers interest in Shumpert makes sense despite position overlap with he and J.J. Redick. He’s a 3-and-D player whose biggest strength matches the Clippers biggest need: perimeter defense. Last season wasn’t a good one for Shumpert, causing a drive in his trade value. He struggled mightily on offense, just shooting 37 percent from the field and 33 percent on threes, and played through several injuries (shoulder, MCL). Defensively, he was a wash, showing little improvement from the previous season. Alongside Chris Paul and the second wing (Redick, Barnes, etc.), Shumpert would be able to center his focus on two things: knocking down 3s and defending the opposing teams best player, similar to what Barnes was tasked with last season.
In a possible trade, the Clippers wouldn’t be able to absorb Shumpert’s $2.6 million in the trade exception acquired in the Eric Bledsoe deal, so Los Angeles would be forced to send out salary to complete the trade. Despite the Knicks once being interested in Jared Dudley, a decline in play along with a contract that dates past the 2014-15 season makes a deal revolved around those two out of the question. With the Clippers high on Reggie Bullock, at least in regards to this trade, that’d leave Willie Green as the lone player who would make this deal work financially. With a non-guaranteed deal, the Knicks could decide to cut Green upon arrival if they see no fit to keep him on the roster for the upcoming season
Of course, this is all hypothetical. Stein didn’t mention the Clippers when speaking on a possible Shumpert trade (mentioned only OKC), but with interest shown in an earlier instance, there’s no reason to assume history couldn’t repeat itself.