The New York Knicks have discussed numerous potential trade scenarios featuring guard Iman Shumpert to bolster their injury-depleted front line, but no deal is imminent, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that the Knicks and Nuggets have been discussing a potential Shumpert-for-Kenneth Faried swap with Denver. Yet, one source close to the process stressed that "multiple" teams have expressed interest in Shumpert, who is widely regarded as the most attractive trade asset New York possesses if it hopes to shake up its roster in-season.
The New York Daily News reported earlier Wednesday that Shumpert-for-Faried talks "have intensified." NBA.com subsequently reported that there is "nothing happening" regarding the proposed trade, with Yahoo! Sports reporting that the Nuggets have assured Faried's representatives that he's not New York-bound.
The Knicks, though, clearly still have a huge need on their front line after center Tyson Chandler suffered a fractured fibula last week. And with New York's defensive anchor expected to be sidelined for at least a month, Shumpert unavoidably finds himself at the heart of trade speculation, given that the perimeter defensive specialist ranks as the Knick most coveted by rival teams.
"I heard some rumors," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Wednesday night before the team's game in Atlanta. "It's part of our business. I always try to tell young players if your name is being floated out there, that's a good thing. It means somebody wants you.
"Guys get traded. The best players have been traded, but at the end of the day you still got to play. You're still in a Knicks uniform, you're representing what we're trying to do here. You can't worry about what's in the paper. You've still got to perform."
Shumpert, who finished with five points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals in the Knicks' 95-91 win against Atlanta, addressed the rumors Wednesday night.
"Yeah, it pissed me off, but that's what the New York media does," Shumpert said. "It's not the first time. It happens. ... [Woodson] told me not to worry about it. He said that if they put you in trade rumors, other people want you and you should smile about it. Whatever."
Sources say that the Knicks understand that, in addition to Shumpert, they'd likely have to include draft compensation to convince the Nuggets to part with Faried, who averaged 11.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in 2012-13, his second season as a pro. That could prove to be too high a price for the Knicks, who don't have a first-round pick of their own available to trade until the 2018 draft.
It would appear, though, that the Knicks are prepared to proceed with J.R. Smith, rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. and perhaps even a veteran such as Beno Udrih in a pinch at shooting guard if a workable deal materializes involving Shumpert to address the frontcourt need. In addition to Chandler, veteran forwards Kenyon Martin and Amar'e Stoudemire are on minute restrictions as they work their own way back from injuries.
When asked about his name being brought up in trade rumors, Faried told the Denver Post, "No comment on all of that. I just play basketball and do my job, and that's it."
First-year Nuggets coach Brian Shaw described the trade speculation as "exactly what it is; it's a rumor," according to the newspaper.
"Dealing with someone like him, it's part of the game," Shaw told the Denver Post. "Every player, from the greatest player in the game to the last player in the game has had to deal with it at some point. I was a guy that was traded four times. Every year when it got to trade deadline, my name was a part of it. You look at it as part of you personally is like 'Is this team shopping me? They don't want me anymore?' On the other end of it is a team that possibly wants you. I'm not saying that that's the case in this case. But it's a part of the game.
"It's always going to come up. Obviously it means that people view you as an asset. But you just have to, every single day you come in, you only can control what you're doing right here and right now. You have a game, play to the best of your ability. All that stuff is out of our control anyway. I found out, the first time I got traded, I found out via voice mail on my answering machine. So, I'm looking for him to have a conversation just to let him know to try to block that out. As easy as it is to say, it's not always that easy to do. Just block it out and do what you normally do."
When asked if he was worried about how trade speculation would impact Faried, Shaw told the newspaper: "A little bit. He's young and I think he's impressionable. As a player, sometimes you take it personal and it can affect you. I haven't been around him enough to know how mentally tough he is to deal with something like this, or when it's happened before. But any kind of assistance I can give him to calm him down, I want to be there to do that for him."
ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley and ESPNNewYork.com contributor Matt Winkeljohn provided information in this report.