Sources told Stein on Thursday the Knicks had engaged in trade talks with the Raptors to acquire point guard Kyle Lowry to help replace an injured and underachieving Raymond Felton.
On Friday at the Knicks' shootaround at TD Garden, Mike Woodson, Felton and Iman Shumpert addressed the trade rumors.
Felton is sidelined for the next two to three weeks with a strained left hamstring and is rumored to be part of a potential offer for Lowry. The point guard tried to shrug off the trade talk.
“That trade stuff I don’t talk about,” Felton said. “I’ve been in the league for nine years now. That’s going to happen. It happens even when you have a good season. You know, there were trade rumors last year, and we had a great year last year.”
Felton continued: “I have nothing to do with [the trade rumors]. I don’t deal with it. That’s why we have general managers and all that.”
One of the few attractive trade chips on the Knicks' roster is third-year guard Shumpert. Sources told Stein that Shumpert was one of the players the Raptors had asked for, along with rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. or a first-round pick, in a deal for Lowry.
Shumpert, who is day-to-day with a bruised left knee, has tried to take the rumors in stride.
“It’s part of being a professional, you know what I mean? I just have to learn to deal with it,” he said.
The 23-year-old has also received advice from his veteran teammates about handling the trade speculation.
“Carmelo is always giving me advice,” Shumpert said. “Amar'e, really everyone on the team, just telling me don’t let it cloud your thoughts. It’s part of being a professional. If you get traded, you get traded. If not, you just got to keep playing. The biggest thing for us right now is just winning. We got to get wins.”
Woodson shared similar comments about the Knicks’ need to win now.
“It’s a part of the business,” Woodson said. “But we got a set group of guys that are a part of the Knicks. I’m not here to discuss trades. This time of year you are going to hear it throughout the whole league. It’s part of the business. We’ve got to go with what we got that’s in uniform and get those guys ready to play.”
Woodson was unsure whether a change of personnel was needed, given the team’s early-season barrage of injuries.
“It’s hard to say,” Woodson said. “Because we haven’t had a chance to put this team together on the floor because of all the injuries. From a coaching standpoint, you at least have to see if it works. We haven’t had that luxury yet of being able to do that.”
Woodson continued: “Amar’e is getting better, Tyson [Chander] is on the mend, getting closer to coming back, and now Raymond’s down. I mean, it’s hard to really judge our ballclub, and I’m the coach. I’ll be the first to say that, based on the fact we don’t have a full deck and we haven’t had a full deck all year. That’s the frustrating part ... because I think if we did, we’d see a different team.”
Shumpert said he understood why there appeared to be constant trade rumors surrounding him, given the team’s dismal start to the season.
“I think it’s more so that we’re losing and people are trying to make things happen. I totally understand," he said. "That’s why I said we just need to worry about winning. If we take care of winning and it still comes up, then that’d be an issue.”