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Thursday, November 14, 2013
Opening Tip: Trade Shump?

By Ian Begley

According to multiple sources, the Knicks dangled Iman Shumpert in trade talks with the Nuggets in recent days. It's the second time in the last nine months, at least, that New York has offered Shumpert in a trade.

Last February, they talked to the Suns about sending Shumpert to Phoenix in exchange for a package centered around Jared Dudley.

Few would argue that Shumpert is the Knicks' best young player. So why would they be so adamant to trade him? That's a tough question to answer.

Here are a few reasons why they might be inclined to move him:

1. The logjam at shooting guard. When discussing the potential Shumpert trade on Wednesday, multiple league sources noted that some in the organization feel Shumpert may be expendable in a trade for a big man because of the team's different options at shooting guard. J.R. Smith, rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. and perhaps even veterans such as Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih could play shooting guard if the Knicks decide Shumpert must be traded to address the front court vacancy created by Tyson Chandler's injury.

2. Who starts and who sits? The Knicks, according to league sources, are a bit concerned because both Shumpert and J.R. Smith would like to start. And it sounds like Woodson wants to start Smith over Shumpert once everyone is healthy. The concern is that the player that doesn't get to start -- Shumpert, let's say -- will let the demotion affect his play. To be clear, both Shumpert and Smith say the right things in public about the starting shooting guard position. They say that they will do whatever Mike Woodson asks of them. But some in the organization, according to league sources, are concerned over what effect the potential benching could have on Shumpert.

3. The summer league issue. Multiple league sources have confirmed that owner James Dolan was upset with Shumpert over the summer. The Knicks wanted Shumpert to play in summer league to improve his ball-handling skills. But Shumpert played in Las Vegas for just one game. He left after that to go overseas for a promotional appearance. Reports at the time stated that this upset Dolan. Multiple sources have since confirmed that the owner was put off by Shumpert's participation -- or lack thereof -- in the summer league.

UP NOW: Maybe Dolan should guarantee that the Knicks' win Thursday's game as well? The Knicks delivered on Dolan's guarantee on Wednesday, beating the Hawks, 95-91.

Iman Shumpert had a career-high nine assists in the game. He didn't seem to be affected by reports that the Knicks had been talking to the Nuggets about trading Shumpert for Kenneth Faried.

In his first game in the starting lineup in the past two seasons, J.R. Smith had 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting.

What's next: The Knicks will take on Jeremy Lin, Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

Question: If you were running the Knicks, would you trade Iman Shumpert?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.