- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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As he's a young shooting guard with vast potential, Iman Shumpert's name has come up in a handful of trade rumors this season. Other teams would love to add a 23-year-old to their backcourts, and Shumpert is one of the few Knicks who would likely net a nice haul if he were dealt.
Shumpert admitted this week that all the trade talk started to wear on him.
"It gets annoying," Shumpert said on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN NY 98.7 FM on Wednesday. "I think at first it didn't bother me as much but after a while a combination of that and not seeing my shot fall, you start to think a little bit too much when you're on the floor. You can't do that. You have to keep playing. It's all a part of the game."
Shumpert scored in double digits just three times in a 20-game stretch from late November through the end of December. He closed 2013 with 12 straight games without cracking 10 points.
In late December, Knicks owner James Dolan told the team that no trades or coaching change was coming, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. Since then, Shumpert has played his best ball of the season.
He scored a season-best 27 in an upset win over the Spurs on Jan. 2, and followed that with 26 in a loss to Houston the following night. His shot hasn't been falling the last few games, but Shumpert still managed 12 points in Thursday's win over the Heat, marking just his 11th double-digit scoring effort of the season.
Shumpert is averaging seven rebounds in these last four games as well.
"It was nice to see my shot go in," Shumpert told Kay. "I had been in the gym countless hours trying to get things right but just speaking with a lot of different coaches and a lot of players around the league everybody was saying shooting just comes and goes. You have to try to do the other things while you're on the court to help your team win."
Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who has been tough on Shumpert, complimented him for his recent play. Not surprisingly, the Knicks have won five of their last six.
"I think starting on that Texas swing his whole demeanor has changed in terms of his play and I’m talking about on both ends of the floor. It’s nice to see," Woodson said recently. "We take things for granted with him. We think he’s a much older player, which he’s not. He’s only been doing this thing three years and he’s missed a lot of games in between those three years. I still think he’s a young player that’s trying to find his stride, but as of late he’s been pretty damn good."
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