I’m really not sure. It sounds more like they’re open to offers than targeting specific players via trade. I wouldn’t worry about Phil trading them for nothing, though - the Knicks are probably content with their situation at the moment given the flexibility they’ll have in 2015, so a move will only be made if it unquestionably improves the team.
The only player they’d trade purely for cap space is J.R., but he’s 28 and in the grand scheme of things an extra $6.4 million to spend next year could be the difference between getting Marc Gasol and a secondary player and just Marc Gasol (for example).
Makes sense. There’s a logjam at the guard positions, especially at the two spot. This doesn’t mean they will be trading all three—most likely just one or at most two.
Trading Larkin doesn’t make much sense. He’s the only young point guard on the team and is also the least valuable of the three players, so he won’t return much via trade. He’s also going to be less expensive than Smith or Shumpert next season, which is a factor worth considering. Tim Hardaway Jr. is essentially the Knicks’ marquee prospect at this point and an untouchable asset on his current contract, so in the long-term keeping both J.R. and Shump is questionable.
It’s unlikely that the Knicks will be trading Amar’e or Bargs (Phil Jackson has said as much himself), but with Shumpert/Smith, Wayne Ellington’s much smaller expiring contract and the $3.7 million trade exception we have, the Knicks could potentially balance out the roster in one swift move.
Personally, I’d keep them around until the trade deadline or potentially make a move for a player like Greg Monroe via sign-and-trade. The latter, however, would only be possible if we use the stretch provision on STAT or Bargnani, which is undesirable for future cap reasons.
As far as I’m concerned, J.R. is the odd man out at the two-guard spot. I think the Knicks will be quietly hoping he opts out at the end of the season, and if not a trade seems smart, as long as no picks are involved and next year’s cap space remains untouched.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is a lock. Shane Larkin, Cleanthony Early and Cole Aldrich should make it, too.
Jeremy Tyler and Shannon Brown have an outside chance, and Thanasis Antetokounmpo is probably going to Europe/the D-League for now. All of these players should at least make it to camp, though.
I really want Shannon Brown to make the team. He had some good moments last season and can always come up with a highlight play. But more than anything, he can also help Derek Fisher with getting the triangle across to the rest of the team. With Tyson Chandler gone, this team needs leaders on the court.
Unfortunately, there isn’t really enough room for him unless the Knicks cut Wayne Ellington, so I don’t think he’ll make it. He deserves to be in the NBA, though - you have to love his work ethic in coming to summer league despite already having seven years of experience and two rings.