|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
The New York Knicks were seriously discussing two trades Wednesday night aimed at shoring up their backcourt and adding some depth in advance of this week's NBA trade deadline.
Sources told ESPN.com that New York's talks with the Los Angeles Clippers reported earlier Wednesday have been tweaked slightly. The Knicks' Iman Shumpert and the Clippers' Darren Collison remain the principals in the proposed trade, but sources said that the latest incarnation of the deal would send Matt Barnes to Madison Square Garden along with Collison in exchange for Shumpert and out-of-favor guard Raymond Felton.
|New York's attempts to upgrade at point guard may mean Iman Shumpert's days there are numbered.|
Barnes' inclusion in the trade was conceived to replace Clippers rookie Reggie Bullock, with sources saying Los Angeles -- while high on Shumpert's athleticism and defensive potential -- is very reluctant to both absorb Felton's contract while also parting with Bullock.
"There's a lot of stuff that goes on that is a distraction for us but our job is to lock in and play basketball," Barnes said Tuesday on being involved in trade talks. "We can't let anything outside be a distraction."
In a separate deal, sources said, New York is in talks to trade little-used point guard Beno Udrih -- who has been hoping for a change of scenery -- to Denver for swingman Jordan Hamilton. That move would be an offshoot of the Knicks' long-running but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to acquire Kenneth Faried from the Nuggets; New York has been offering the combination of Shumpert and Udrih for Faried and Hamilton for months.
The leaguewide trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m. ET. As ESPN.com reported Monday, New York has made it widely known that it badly wants to upgrade its options at point guard before the trade buzzer sounds.
New York's focus shifted to Collison this week, sources said, when the Atlanta Hawks balked at taking back Felton's deal as part of the Knicks' pursuit of Hawks point guard Jeff Teague.
ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reported that the Knicks and Clippers have been talking since Friday. Clippers forward Jared Dudley has also been discussed in talks, but his inclusion in a deal is not necessary to make a trade work financially.
Bullock is the Clippers' first-round draft pick from last June and has been asked to play a larger role with starting guard J.J. Redick lost indefinitely to a back injury. Adding Shumpert, though, would help in that department, since Shumpert would step into Redick's starting role and allow Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jamal Crawford to go back to the bench.
The Knicks, meanwhile, are hesitant to bring in a player who is on the books beyond the 2014-15 season, given their hope to have enough cap space available for the 2015 offseason to go after the top players on the market in support of Carmelo Anthony. Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge are expected to headline a group of free agents that summer.
But it appears that the Knicks are coming to terms with the contracts of Felton and Barnes canceling each other out. A swap of Shumpert and Felton for Collison and Bullock, furthermore, does not quite work under NBA salary-cap rules.
Information from ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne and ESPNLosAngeles.com's Arash Markazi contributed to this report.