The Knicks are in basketball purgatory – where the team isn’t bad enough to successfully overhaul the roster but not good enough to have expanded postseason campaigns. With New York’s contractual situation in gridlock, the only means of improving significantly at this point would be trading Amar’e Stoudemire. The ex-superstar brings nothing to to the court that the Knicks don’t already have, when he actually makes it that far. Stoudemire has had to fend off injury after injury recently while burning upwards of $20 million a year doing so.
The concept of trading an aging and injury-riddled player with a max deal seems outlandish – but not impossible. The Knicks could sweeten the pot with their most promising young player, Iman Shumpert, to sway a team into taking on Amar’e and his contract. Shumpert’s excellence on the defensive end and improvement from beyond the arc in his first two seasons is intriguing. With “3-and-D” wings becoming more desired around the league, he and a future pick from the Knicks (like, you know, in 2062 or something) could be enough to persuade a team into trading for Stoudemire.
Stoudemire’s basketball in itself is still at a high level, averaging 21.8 pts/36 on a 63.7% ts% last year. However, his real value to a team might be his expiring contract in two years where a team can unload a high salary that terminates later. The Knicks can’t afford to roll the dice hoping that Stoudemire can suit up for 70 games and be around for the playoffs. New York might be better off getting a lesser player who can stay healthy.
Making a trade happen won’t be easy or simple in any way, but there are possibilities I came up with as an idea of what one could look like.
New York receives: Rudy Gay, Sebastian Telfair
Toronto receives: Amar’e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert, first-round pick
A nauseating idea, but trading Stoudemire won’t bring in very lucrative offers. I’d probably become a Hawks fan if this trade went down and save myself the agony. Masai Ujiri is on his way to turning this entire Raptors franchise around, and chances are he’ll unload Rudy Gay where possible if it means getting something back. I’d be shocked if the Knicks were interested, but I’m confident they won’t be – it’s not like they traded for any other awful Raptors. Oh wait.
New York receives: Marcin Gortat, Caron Butler, Glen Davis
Orlando receives: Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Kendall Marshall
Phoenix receives: Amar’e Stoudemire, Aaron Afflalo, first-round pick (Knicks)
Complex, but it’s one of the best shots the Knicks have at sending out Stoudemire’s contract. Orlando trades away players not a part of their future plans and in return nab not only Shump but also Kendall Marshall. The Suns are looking to shop Gortat and Butler and this trade gives them the perfect medium to do so. Perhaps the Phoenix front office believes that all Amar’e needs is the Arizona sun to return to his former self. The Knicks get a 3-and-D veteran wing in return and serious big man depth.
New York receives: Marcin Gortat, Caron Butler, P.J. Tucker
Sacramento receives: Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert
Phoenix receives: Amar’e Stoudemire, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Jimmer Fredette, first-round pick (Knicks)
Similar to the previous proposal, only with a different third team in play. A Vasquez-McLemore-Shumpert-Frye-Cousins starting five would be very intriguing for Sacramento. Meanwhile the Suns receive two youngsters with upside while accomplishing their goal of trading Gortat and Butler.
Certainly readers here will be able to find their own deals, but they do provide some options to consider.
Hence the question remains, would trading Stoudemire along with Shumpert be worth it for the Knicks? New York is in a “win-now” mentality, with the picks the team has traded away and the lack of a future foundation this is all but evident. That said, having Shumpert around in two years if the whole team gives away won’t save the Knicks from mediocrity. As much as he brings to the team now, if the opportunity arrives for a swap that could bring additions that would push the Knicks into contender territory, I believe the Knicks should take it. Sitting in a gray area hasn’t worked out well, with a first and second round postseason exit. If the Knicks are dealt the right hand, now’s the time to go all-in.