Source: Knicks open to dealing J.R., Shump

July, 20, 2014
7/20/14
4:22
PM ET
Iman Shumpert, JR Smith, Shane LarkinGetty ImagesThe Knicks are willing to trade Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Shane Larkin. But who should go?
Working to clear the logjam in the backcourt, the Knicks are discussing their potential trade options with guards J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Shane Larkin, a league source said Sunday.

“They’re working on trying to make a move in the backcourt,” the NBA source familiar with the Knicks’ thinking said Sunday.

The idea that the Knicks are trying to make a trade to balance the roster isn’t earth-shattering. President Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills have mentioned the Knicks have a surplus in the backcourt, with Mills saying last week the Knicks are “heavy” at shooting guard.

The issue for the Knicks, of course, is deciding whom to send out in a trade and figuring out what they can get in return in such a transaction.

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Which guard can the Knicks not afford to lose?

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Tim Hardaway Jr. has been deemed virtually untouchable, per a source.

Smith, the 2012-13 Sixth Man Award winner, has a player option in his contract for $6.4 million for the 2015-16 season and is coming off what he called the worst season of his NBA career. As such, it is unclear how much interest he could draw on the open market.

Shumpert is viewed as a strong defender but couldn’t find his comfort zone on offense last season. He was made available in several trade proposals throughout the season. His value at this point in the trade market is also unclear.

Larkin was recently acquired from the Mavericks in the trade that also netted Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert.

The Knicks tried to include Shumpert in deals earlier in the offseason in an effort to unload the contracts of Andrea Bargnani ($11.5 million) and Amar'e Stoudemire ($23.4 million). No deal materialized for either player. It is unclear if such packages are still being discussed or if the guards are being offered individually at this point.

The Knicks have four shooting guards on the roster. They also haven’t ruled out re-signing free-agent PG/SG Toure' Murry. He has drawn interest from the Utah Jazz and Miami Heat, according to a report Sunday from the Salt Lake Tribune.

Question: If you were Phil Jackson or Steve Mills, would you trade one of the Knicks' guards? If so, who and why?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
24.2 3.1 1.0 35.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 6.6
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.7
StealsS. Larkin 1.3
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.3