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Thursday, February 21, 2013
Grunwald: Never considered dealing Shump

By Ian Begley

New York Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald never considered trading Iman Shumpert prior to Thursday's trade deadline.

"There were no trade discussions with Shump. I don’t want to go into details, but Shump’s a key part of our future and we’re happy to have him back," Grunwald said. "He’s had a great rehab and is obviously coming back from a difficult injury. Maybe he’s not at 100 percent yet, but we’re optimistic that with his work ethic and attitude, that he will be back to his old self very shortly."

The Phoenix Suns expressed interest in Shumpert prior to the deadline. The Knicks, according to a league source, listened to offers but never seriously considered moving the second-year guard.

Shumpert has struggled since returning from offseason ACL surgery. That he is a step slow is understandable, though, given his eight-month rehab following surgery.

Grunwald did not deny that other teams were interested in Shumpert.

"I’m not going to get into trade discussions, but obviously Iman is a good young player, and I’m sure there are lot of teams that are interested in him, but no one more than the New York Knicks," the general manager said.

AMARE’S BEEN 'WONDERFUL': Grunwald was highly complimentary of Amar'e Stoudemire, who has quietly accepted a role off of the Knicks bench after his return from offseason knee surgery.

With his $100 million contract, Stoudemire is undoubtedly the highest paid 7th man in NBA history.

"I don’t think that the salary matters," Grunwald said. "I think we need to put together a team and a roster and a playing style that’s going to be successful. If that’s Amar'e coming off the bench, I think that’s great. If coach (Woodson) decides to change that, then we’re all just about trying to win here and it doesn’t matter in terms of coming off the bench. I think Amar’e’s been wonderful in that regard, and a true professional and great teammate."

GLEN THINKS KNICKS 'D' CAN BOUNCE BACK: In the first nine games of the season, the Knicks ranked fourth in defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) and sixth in opponent field goal percentage en route to an 8-1 start. At the All-Star break, they’d fallen to 19th in defensive rating and 22nd in opponent field-goal percentage (46.3 percent).

Grunwald couldn’t delve into specifics when asked why the Knicks had fallen off a defensive cliff, but he was optimistic that they’d be able to bounce back.

"I think the players and coaches are working toward figuring why that is," he said. "Even at the beginning of the year, we weren't as good as last season when woody took over as head coach. There is room for improvement on our defense, and I think everyone’s focused on trying to get to that point where we are one of the top defensive teams in the league again."

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