Ranking Players Most Likely to Be Traded by NY Knicks This Season
It is safe to assume that New York Knicks' management is contemplating changes to the roster based on the team's disappointing record this season. New York will be over the salary cap until the summer of 2015, so any significant moves would need to be made via trade.
The Knicks can go in two different directions at the February 20 trade deadline. They may opt to trade draft picks and/or young talent for veteran contributors who they believe will help them contend now, or begin rebuilding the roster by acquiring those same type of assets in exchange for their own proven commodities.
How the team performs over the next few weeks will likely determine which path management chooses. Carmelo Anthony’s pending free agency will also have a significant impact on the Knicks’ personnel decisions. Owner James Dolan and general manager Steve Mills must decide if they intend to re-sign Anthony and if so, what it would take to convince him to stay.
5. Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony's future in New York is uncertain. The seven-time All-Star stated prior to the season that he plans to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract and become a free agent this summer.
The Knicks own Anthony's Bird Rights and can offer him about $33 million more than other teams for what is likely to be the last maximum-salary contract of his career. And Melo's wife Lala recently told Bravo TV's "Watch What Happens Live," "I definitely think he will stay," via ESPN.com.
However, Anthony has to be frustrated with the Knicks' play this season and the lack of talent around him. He will be 30 when he signs his next deal and may seek a team with a better chance of winning a championship in the near future.
The Knicks, for their part, have to decide if it is worth re-signing Melo to a $129 million, five-year contract. Such a deal would take up nearly 40 percent of the salary cap and make it very difficult for New York to acquire the talent necessary to build a championship team around the Brooklyn native.
The Knicks also must consider that they would not receive equal value in return for Anthony via trade because he will be a free agent this summer. That alone suggests it is unlikely that the team's star-obsessed owner, James Dolan, would sign off on an Anthony trade.
4. Tyson Chandler
Tyson Chandler is the Knicks' best defender and most valuable player after Carmelo Anthony. If the front office believes that the team can contend for a championship this season or next, No. 6 is not going anywhere.
However, if management concludes that the Knicks are not serious contenders, as their record and personnel would indicate, the rebuilding process may begin sooner than later. Steve Mills and James Dolan may need to make a bold move to show Carmelo Anthony that the team is moving in the right direction.
Chandler would garner plenty of interest on the trade market. He is an elite defender with a championship pedigree, and would not present too much of a financial burden with just one season remaining on his contract.
Chandler could yield the Knicks some much-needed young talent and/or draft picks in return. And New York may be more willing to part with its starting center in the wake of his veiled criticisms of Coach Woodson following two recent losses.
3. Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has been one of the few bright spots for the Knicks. The rookie has outplayed his draft position (24) and provided a spark off the bench with his ability to get out on the break and his three-point accuracy.
The University of Michigan product is the rarest of commodities on a veteran Knicks team: a young, talented and inexpensive asset. That he plays the same position as J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and at times Raymond Felton or Pablo Prigioni also makes him expendable.
Shumpert is the only other coveted young player on the roster, and the earliest first-round draft pick the Knicks can offer a team is in 2018. If they decide to try to make a run this season or add another veteran player in the hopes of convincing Carmelo Anthony to re-sign this summer, Hardaway will be one of the first to go.
2. Iman Shumpert
It has been a strange year for Iman Shumpert. The Knicks and their fans expected the third-year guard to elevate his game in his first full season. But his confidence has wavered and his production has been inconsistent. Shump is averaging just 7.1 points per game on 38.8 percent shooting and has a career-low 10.4 PER.
The shooting guard has seemingly fallen out of favor with management and was the subject of trade rumors earlier in the season. The impressive play of rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. has made Shump more dispensable.
Despite his disappointing season and a second surgery on his left knee, several teams would be interested in him. Shumpert is an excellent on-ball defender, has demonstrated tremendous offensive potential and is playing on a rookie contract. He may benefit from a change of scenery in an offense without two ball-dominant players like Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith.
1. Beno Udrih
Beno Udrih is not a major trade chip, though he is the player most likely to go. The Knicks believed that they made a great value signing when they inked the Slovenian for the veteran's minimum last summer, but Udrih failed to impress in a starting role when Pablo Prigioni and Raymond Felton were injured.
The Knicks' offense sputtered with Udrih, due in large part to his 19.8 turnover percentage. The point guard is also an atrocious defender, particularly in the pick-and-roll. To make matters worse, Udrih has publicly questioned Mike Woodson's criticism of him and asked the Knicks to trade him, via Ian Begley of ESPN NewYork.
Udrih did not receive much interest as a free agent, and the trade deadline is unlikely to be very different. However, a contending team in need of a point guard may be willing to part with a second-round pick for an experienced backup like Udrih. The Knicks would probably jump at any offer they receive.