Outside of perhaps Omer Asik, no player has been involved in more trade rumors in the first month of the season than Iman Shumpert. Shumpert has been linked to the Nuggets and Celtics, among other teams, and is reportedly drawing leaguewide interest, though nothing is imminent.
There are a number of reasons why Shumpert finds himself at the center of so many trade rumors early in the 2013/14 season. The 23-year-old is viewed as potentially expendable because the Knicks already have players like Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, and Metta World Peace at the two and three. More importantly, with the Knicks off to a slow start, they have holes that need filling, and Shumpert represents their best trade chip. New York has traded away most of its draft picks and doesn’t have another player with Shumpert’s combination of youth, upside, and affordability.
Still, Shumpert’s youth, upside, and affordability are also prime reasons for the Knicks to hang on to him. For a team overloaded with aging players on expensive multiyear contracts, Shumpert is perhaps the only Knick who has yet to reach his ceiling. The club isn’t so overloaded on the wing that there’s no room for the third-year swingman, particularly if Carmelo plays power forward more frequently. Depending on what sort of value they can get back in a deal, rushing to deal Shumpert may backfire on the Knicks in both the short-term and the long-term.
The Nuggets reportedly wanted a first-round pick in addition to Shumpert for Kenneth Faried, while the Celtics quickly shot down the idea that a Shumpert-centric package could land Rajon Rondo. In other words, it’s unlikely that the Knicks could acquire an impact player for Shumpert alone. Taking that into account, is it worth it for New York to trade him, or would the club be better off keeping him and hoping he starts to deliver on some of the potential he’s shown?