Last week, the New York Knicks were heavily rumored to be discussing a trade with the Denver Nuggets that would involve sending Iman Shumpert west in exchange for Kenneth Faried. This week, the Knicks are still rumored to be trying to shop Shumpert around, but this time they are looking for a blockbuster.
The Knicks are reportedly in preliminary discussions with Boston Celtics over a trade that would send Shumpert and Amar’e Stoudemire to Boston in exchange for Rajon Rondo and either Gerald Wallace or Courtney Lee (likely Wallace). The discussions are still very early and nothing is at all imminent, but this is a very intriguing rumor and it would be the first blockbuster of the season if it were to come to fruition.
I wrote last week that trading Shumpert for Faried would not be a very good idea, but this trade would be a perfect scenario for the Knicks. The Knicks have been searching for a superstar that could complement Carmelo Anthony and make the Knicks a legitimate title contender, and Rondo would be such a player. Rondo is one of the best passers in the NBA, and he led the league in assists each of the last two seasons. Rondo would be able to bring out the best in Anthony, Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith.
For the Celtics, a Rondo trade would allow them to accelerate their rebuilding process by adding a promising young shooting guard in Shumpert and exchanging Wallace’s contract for Stoudemire’s, as his deal expires one year earlier. That difference is said to be a concern for the Knicks, who are poised to have unlimited cap space following next season. Wallace is owed $10 million a year for each of the next three seasons, so the Knicks would be making a significant long term commitment.
Additionally, if the Knicks were to make a trade for Rondo, they would likely have to follow it up by dealing Raymond Felton for some frontcourt help. This is not of any particular concern for the Knicks at the moment, but it is something to keep in mind. Also of note is the obvious fact that Rondo is still recovering from a torn ACL, but this is a deal that is for the long term, not just this season.
If this trade is a realistic possibility, then the Knicks need to make it. The positives of adding Rondo far outweigh the negatives of Wallace’s contract eating into 2015’s cap space, and the Knicks should not allow that to deter them. Rondo would be a perfect fit running the pick and roll with Anthony, and he would also improve the team’s defense at the point guard position, which has been a major concern.
Obviously this potential trade is still a long way from happening, but it would be a very good move if the Knicks can pull it off. The Knicks are finally looking at players that would actually fit alongside Anthony, and the addition of Rondo would make them a much better team.