Farewell, Iman Shumpert?
The New York Knicks' third-year guard has been no stranger to adversity this season, and it's left him on the brink of being traded. His latest conflict, a sideline-shouting match with resident superstar Carmelo Anthony, could have been the final straw, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman:
A shouting match with Carmelo Anthony and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr.’s breakout game may have pushed Iman Shumpert closer to the door.
Hardaway is fighting for playing time with Shumpert, who got into a heated rant with Anthony on the Knicks bench during a third-quarter timeout. Anthony didn’t look at him as Shumpert raved. Shumpert, who was then benched for the fourth quarter of the 103-99 loss to the Pelicans, called his tiff with Anthony “a miscommunication’’ on defense.
Echoing Shumpert's sentiments, Anthony told reporters that he didn't have any beef with his teammate, per ESPN New York's Ian Begley.
The cameras showed otherwise, though. The two players were captured while engaged in what appeared to be a heated argument. Perhaps it was something that could be attributed to the heat of the moment, but it was definitely something.
For Shumpert, this is just the latest in a long line of crippling in-house conflicts.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News previously discovered that Shumpert had covert knee surgery over the summer, the timing of which angered some within the organization.
Churning rumor mills left many to question New York's allegiance to its shooting guard. Back-fence talk of a potential rift between head coach Mike Woodson and Shumpert himself inevitably reached both men, who, per Berman, denied any animosity existed between them.
Arguing with Anthony only complicates what is clearly a fractured relationship. Shumpert was benched following his disagreement with 'Melo, much to his displeasure.
"Of course I wanted to play," Shumpert said, via Berman.
Coach Woody rolled with rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. instead, who pitched in 21 points on 5-of-8 shooting from behind the arc. His performance serves as yet another reminder that New York is deep on the wings and could mean Shumpert's days as a Knick are numbered.
But if it's not the recurring drama that gets Shumpert dealt, it could be sheer panic.
The Knicks have dropped nine straight and seven consecutive at home. With Anthony expected to explore free agency this summer, sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference doesn't bode well for their future.
Driven by a fear of missing the playoffs and watching Anthony sign with the Los Angeles Lakers or another team, the Knicks are going to do something.
After this, that something could entail dealing Shumpert, a move they've been dancing around for what seems like forever and now feels inevitable.