The All-Star break has come and gone, and it is now time for the 2nd ” half ” of the season. With approximately 30 games left for every team, and the trade deadline looming, contenders will be looking to make a move to solidify their playoff positioning. The trade deadline is this Thursday, February 21st. There are many talented players names swirling around the trade rumor mill, and certainly some of them will be moved in the coming days. Most notably the Knicks have been in the midst of trade talks. Everyone believes that they need to make a trade prior to the deadline to become a real contender. I do believe that the Knicks are one piece away from being a true contender for a title, however they need to be careful who they trade this week. The most popular name in these trade rumors has been Iman Shumpert. He is the Knicks most valuable trading chip because of his potential and inexpensive rookie contract, but he is a valuable asset to the Knicks for the same reasons. By the way, if I have to hear how much better J.J. Reddick is than Iman Shumpert one more time I’m going to throw up. Most people are pointing to Shumpert’s knee and saying he’ll never be the same after a torn ACL last season. It is a serious injury, but how many guys have come back and succeeded after the same injury? While the Knicks are certainly in win now mode, they need to keep their bright future in mind as well. The core of their team is young. Look at their roster: Carmelo Anthony,Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Iman Shumpert(none of these guys are heading out to early bird dinners). Carmelo Anthony needs to try to convince these guys to stick around for the next five years(that shouldn’t be that hard to do, I mean this is New York). The Knicks youngest player with the most room for improvement by far is Iman Shumpert. He is 6’5″ and 220 pounds with great athletic ability. He can jump out of the gym, he is a phenomenal perimeter defender, and by my opinion is an underrated offensive talent. Just because the Knicks have the oldest team in NBA history, doesn’t mean they need to dump young talent to try to win this year. The older players on their roster are all nearing the end of their careers and are simply role players on an overall young team anyway. Think about the names that we’re talking about: Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace, Kurt Thomas, and Jason Kidd. Everyone can stop pretending these are the guys that are going to make the difference. When was the last time these guys were on a list that mattered besides a waiting list for a nursing home? While I think Camby and/or Wallace could solve some of the teams problems, they are ancient and shouldn’t be relied on. The Knicks have obvious weaknesses and have holes on their roster that need to be filled. I believe part of the answer to the Knicks struggles is Iman Shumpert. He should be playing more than Jason Kidd. Jason Kidd has been averaging 28 minutes per game this season and 32 minutes over his past three games(the three games the Knicks have struggled in most this season), while Shumpert has only been averaging 19 minutes per game. Plus, Shumpert has only played in 13 games since returning from his injury. He needs to be given a little time to return to form. I am a Jason Kidd fan, but Mike Woodson needs to realize that Kidd is 40; not 26. If Coach Woodson can get over his man crush maybe he’ll scale back Kidd’s minutes a little bit. If Woodson flips Shumpert and Kidd’s minutes upside down, I bet he’ll be a lot happier. The bottom line is: DON’T TRADE IMAN SHUMPERT!! Also, if the Knicks are going to continue to be trigger happy from three point land, why don’t they play their best shooter, Steve Novak? I know he doesn’t play a lick of defense, but right now neither does anybody else. Right now, Kidd is out there as the Knicks shooting guard(taking up precious real estate). Also, when did we start confusing Jason Kidd with Steve Kerr? Kidd was one of the best point guards ever in his prime, but he was never a great three point shooter. Kidd needs to play less minutes which will keep his legs fresher come playoff time, and he needs to be an extension of Coach Woodson on the floor.
There have been a few other teams in the trade rumors along with the Knicks. The Jazz have an overloaded front court, and I believe Paul Millsap will be moved before the deadline. The injury prone Celtics should look to make a trade before Thursday, but it doesn’t appear that will happen. Kevin Garnett will not waive his no-trade clause and Paul Pierce is a big name still. Even though he is past his prime, the Celtics are looking for way too much in return for Pierce. Another player who’s name has been all over the news is Josh Smith. In my estimation, he is very overrated, but someone will trade away too much to get him and will be moved before the deadline. At the 23rd hour, there are always surprise moves that happen. Stay tuned to see what goes down before the trade deadline. Enjoy the rest of the NBA season.
If you enjoy my writing here please go check out more of my work @ intheneutralzone.com. I am a contributing author there. Thanks and enjoy!