On Saturday evening, Frank Isola of the NY Daily News wrote an article about potential troubles facing the Knicks heading into next season.
The biggest threats are, of course, New York’s Eastern Conference rivals: Brooklyn’s mammoth upgrades, combined with expected improvement from Chicago, Indiana and Miami, pose a large road block for the Knicks in their quest to make the NBA Finals.
The other major issue cited by Isola concern the team’s roster construction and a pair of rather curious summer moves: The three-year contract given to J.R. Smith, despite a knee injury for which Earl immediately underwent surgery; and the mystifying trade / draft pick dump to secure the services of Andrea Bargnani.
The one thing that stood out, however, was this nugget from Isola regarding the issues Knicks Owner James Dolan and Iman Shumpert apparently have with one another.
I guess the only question is if Metta expires before Shumpert, one of the few Knicks that have value. Dolan is reportedly upset that Shumpert wasn’t interested in working with the summer league team and wants to trade him. Shumpert, I’ve heard, isn’t too crazy about the moves the Knicks had made which could further stunt his development.
As we’ve seen numerous times in the past, when you upset James Dolan, you’ve assumed the risk that you may not be a Knick for too much longer.
Dolan is fiercely loyal to some players — Allan Houston being the best example — and will do anything for those guys. But he’s also someone who has been known to holds a grudge for years. Just ask Isola, who has been dealing with one big cold shoulder for years now.
Like many of you, I have become a big Shumpert fan — particularly after his performance in the playoffs. I firmly believe he is ready to be a cornerstone player for this franchise.
Granted, there have been past rumors of the Knicks looking to trade Shumpert, including last season, when the there was talk of shipping Shump to Phoenix in exchange for Jared Dudley.
For his part, James Dolan has been very fortunate to have remained at the helm while so many other terrible New York owners have managed to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. At this point, it’s almost as if even a classic Dolan temper tantrum flies under the radar.
The biggest problem here is that, when Dolan gets sold on an idea, no matter how bad, he will move Heaven and Earth to make it happen. If he’s pissed off and looking to make a move? Watch out.
Of course, Iman himself had some thoughts on the article, and attempted to put to rest the rumors that he is somehow unhappy with the Knicks.
Can we please DEAD these dumb ass rumors! I love my team as well as the new additions. I wanna win! #thatisall -Iman Shumpert
— Iman Shumpert (@I_Am_Iman) July 21, 2013
I know I’m not alone in hoping that the issues between Shumpert and Dolan work themselves out, and that the Knicks don’t get rid of Iman because of some petty squabble. Fact is, the Knicks have something in Shumpert that they’ve seldom enjoyed during Dolan’s tenure: a young, talented player under contract on the cheap for the next few years who has the potential to become a star.
What’s scary is that this could all be over in an instant, all because of their owner’s weird, recurring hangups. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.