Iman Shumpert has always been the bargaining chip that the New York Knicks front office has flipped off their thumbs and around their knuckles for at least the last two seasons.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
With Shump’s contract in it’s final year, and the New York Knicks in the midst of one of the most woeful starts in franchise history, a full rebuild project is going to be undertaken.
The best way for Knicks team president, Phil Jackson, to get that done is to trade players, and dump salary.
So with that thought in mind, New York got involved in a three-way deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers.
According to Yahoo’s Adrian Worjnarowski ,The Knicks will send Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who also get a protected 2015 first-round pick.
The Cavs will send Dion Waiters to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Knicks will get Lance Thomas and a 2019 second-round pick from Oklahoma City, as well as acquire forward Lou Amundson and center Alex Kirk from Cleveland.
So what does this trade do for Iman Shumpert? It puts him smack dab in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff chase with LeBron James.
Shumpert will help the Cavaliers because he can defend on the perimeter when he comes back healthy from his shoulder injury. Cleveland’s defense has been questionable all season, and is a major reason the Cavs are floundering at 19-16 to this point.
Also, since he is not a volume shooter, he is not going to take shots away from Kyrie Irving , LeBron James, or Kevin Love, while bringing his 9.3 points and 34% three-point shooting to the floor.
It is not like Cleveland is losing scoring off the bench with J.R. Smith coming off of it. For what it is worth, J.R.’s 10.9 points per contest will be instant offense when he is inserted , and he could be re-energized by playing with “King James”.
Oklahoma City is getting a young gunner in Waiters who can come off their bench and knockdown shots. People are wondering if Waiters and his 10.5 points per game can fit in with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
That is a definite yes! Russell Westbrook’s game has balanced out to where he is looking to find shooters like Waiters out on the perimeter when he penetrates. Though Russ is dropping 27.1 ppg on opponents, his 7.1 assists are not an accident.
Kevin Durant has always been willing to pass to open players without it effecting his scoring potency.
Waiters can make shots, but he does not necessarily need to have the ball in his hand to do damage. So he can fit in with Westbrook in the backcourt and give OKC much more offensive punch for opponents to deal with.
This has the potential for OKC to be as potent as when they had Durant, Westbrook, and Harden together. Waiters has not scratched the surface of his game yet.
Plus, if Reggie Jackson decides to leave after this season as a restricted free agent, Waiters will be able to pick up that scoring slack.
The Knicks are getting the thing that they need most in this deal — nonguaranteed salaries to dump. The Knicks will now have $28 million in cap space to play with in the summer.
They also will waive Samuel Dalembert who’s contract would have been fully guaranteed if he remained on the roster thru January 7th.
The cap space will be used to get Carmelo Anthony some playmates during the 2015 offseason.
If the Knicks can get a solid free agent, and the top pick in the draft which would likely be Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, the Knicks would have building blocks that would put them in the right direction next season.
More from Basketball
- Georgia Tech Women’s Basketball: Yellow Jackets find out opponent for Big Ten-ACC Challenge
- Michael Devoe gets workout with Los Angeles Lakers
- Georgia Tech basketball: Top transfer portal targets for the Yellow Jackets
- Georgia Tech Basketball: Round one preview of the 2022 ACC tournament
- Georgia Tech Basketball: Yellow Jackets fall short to Clemson
The biggest thing in this is that Iman Shumpert is getting a new start. How long he will be in Cleveland is still up in the air since he will be a free agent in Summer 2015, but the change of scenery is a good thing.
His old situation had to be burdensome. He had been dangled a few times as trade bait, and there were no takers until today.
At least Shump has a chance to taste some playoff action now, and there is the slight chance that he and Smith could be the fit that changes Cleveland’s chances.
Emphasis on “slight chance” !