The New York Knicks have started the 2012-2013 NBA season 23-11 and are currently sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference. This fast start is not only impressive, but it is also surprising considering the Knicks finished seventh in the conference this past season.
Things aren't perfect, though. New York has shown some flaws in their game that could come back to hurt them, and they have room for improvement. Besides the imperfect nature of the sport, the Knicks have occasionally had issues with interior presence and perimeter defense.
The impending return of Iman Shumpert will help with the latter, but injuries to Raymond Felton and Rasheed Wallace combined with the elevated age of the point guard position leave the Knicks with needs—needs that could be fulfilled with midseason trades.
Amar'e Stoudemire for Pau Gasol
This trade has been mentioned in the past, but despite losing some momentum, it could still make sense for both teams and does work, according to the ESPN Trade Machine.
In Los Angeles, Pau Gasol seems to quite simply not be fitting into the system and has set up shop in Kobe Bryant's doghouse. Amar'e Stoudemire, on the other hand, has excelled under Mike D'Antoni and could maybe use a change of scenery since he has started drawing the ire of New York fans and media.
From the perspective of the Knicks, the trade is mainly about money and personnel. The two contracts are very similar, but Gasol only has two years left on his as opposed to the three left on Stoudemire's. The Knicks are going to face salary-cap issues, and getting rid of STAT's huge contract will help.
Furthermore, Gasol offers an increase in interior presence and is used to staying out of a superstar's way. Stoudemire has yet to show he can definitively work with Carmelo Anthony, and if this trade were possible, maybe it's time to stop giving him chances.
Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton for Chris Paul
OK, so maybe this one is a stretch. It is technically possible, according to the Trade Machine, but it doesn't seem like either team would pull the trigger. It would work for both, though.
New York has been dreaming of Chris Paul, and Paul has been dreaming of playing with 'Melo. As proven by his work in Los Angeles, Paul is a once-in-a-generation leader who can quite simply play basketball and get it done.
In return for the best point guard in the league, the Knicks give up the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, a rejuvenated point guard who has been executing and one of the best young perimeter defenders (who happens to be ridiculously athletic) in the game. Not a bad haul for a team that could have an instant-contender lineup with those three added.
The problem with this trade is that both teams are playing so well that they won't want to mess with a good thing. Neither has reason to make such a drastic overhaul, but both would theoretically benefit.
Amar'e Stoudemire and Pablo Prigioni for Deron Williams and Mirza Teletovic
This third option is here because it involves two players who are quickly falling from grace in terms of their fans. Once the stars and saviors of their respective teams, Stoudemire and Deron Williams have fallen from grace recently and are facing questions of whether or not they can work for their teams.
For Brooklyn, the trade would mean acquiring two experienced players that would put the squad as one of the very best interior teams in the league. For New York, it would mean getting an elite point guard, allowing Kidd to conserve his energy at the shooting guard position as well as acquiring a talented prospect with size.
Brooklyn probably isn't ready to pull the plug on Williams, but Mikhail Prokhorov has shown impatience in the past. If Stoudemire can get back to form, he may just want the man who once owned the Big Apple. Plus, you know, none of the guys would even have to move, and it works mathematically.