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Sunday, June 29, 2014
Which guard is on the trading block?

By Ian Begley

The New York Knicks have nine guards on the roster. Phil Jackson knows that needs to change.

"We obviously have to balance that out as the summer goes along," Jackson said Thursday. "... So we’ll work on that, we’ll get that straightened out."

Translation: don't be surprised if Jackson swings another trade or two before training camp or the start of the regular season.

Jackson said on Thursday that he's been getting calls "about a couple of players" in recent days. He declined to name which players teams have been calling about.

ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported last week that the Knicks were dangling Iman Shumpert in trade talks with the hope of getting a first round pick in the 2014 Draft. That never came to fruition, of course.

There were also reports that New York was looking to trade guard Shane Larkin to obtain a first-round pick. Instead, they held onto their second-round picks and selected Thanasis Antetokounempo and Cleanthony Early.

Rules stipulate that The Knicks can trade any player obtained in their trade last week with Dallas at any point. But if they want to package one of the players in a deal with another Knick to combine salaries, they will have to wait 60 days from the trade to do so.

So Jackson has plenty of options to work with on the trade market.

Below, we take a brief look at the potential implications of moving some of the players on the Knicks roster:

Shumpert: He struggled to find consistency on offense last season but some believe the tall guard and talented defender can succeed in Jackson's triangle offense. He has the length and speed to help the Knicks defend the perimeter and his value may be even higher in light of the Knicks' acquisition of Jose Calderon in last week's trade. Calderon is a sub-par defender and Shumpert can help compensate and cover for the veteran PG.

Larkin: He's one of four point guards on the Knicks' roster (potential free agent Tour'e Murry, Pablo Prigioni and Jose Calderon are the others) so a move needs to be made at that position. The second-year player struggled to find his footing after an ankle injury derailed him earlier in his rookie season. Shouldn't the Knicks give him a chance to show why he was selected n the first round last season?

J.R. Smith: Smith is one of five shooting guards on the Knicks roster (including free agent Shannon Brown), so this is another position Jackson could look to tinker with before the start of the season. Some wonder how Smith will fare in Phil's offense, but the feeling here is that the Knicks should see how Jackson's presence can impact the former Sixth Man Award winner. Smith shot the ball extremely well from behind the arc late last season. His outside shooting could be a huge plus for New York next season. Plus, Smith has two seasons left on his deal, making him hard to move.

Question: Do you think the Knicks should deal Shumpert? Larkin? J.R. Smith? Someone else?

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