It is not always the deals you make in the NBA but sometimes the ones that you don’t make. After talking to the New York Knicks about Iman Shumpert for seemingly two straight days, the Los Angeles Clippers pulled out of a deal just moments before the trade deadline (according to ESPN’s Marc Stein). It reportedly would’ve cost them Darren Collison among other pieces. It was a good call to pass on this one.
This had to be the first ‘buzzer beating MRI’ in NBA history. Shumpert had sprained his left knee against the New Orleans Pelicans just the night before the deadline, leaving both NYK and LAC pacing in their practice facilities. When the diagnosis turned out to be just a sprain (no tear), I feared that the Clippers would do this deal. Iman is one of my favorite players in the NBA for how he plays on both ends of the floor. But when a guy sprains the same knee he had major surgery on a year earlier (that time it was a tear), it makes me nervous. Since that surgical procedure, Shumpert has occasionally ‘tweaked’ both knees while making routine plays. When it comes to knees, where there’s smoke there’s fire. Shumpert may be a bargain at $1.7 million this year and $2.6 million in 2014-15 (rookie deal), but not if he’s sitting in a suit on the bench hogging one of your badly needed roster spots. Oh, and don’t even get me started on also losing either Matt Barnes or Reggie Bullock in the deal. Unlike Shumpert, these two don’t mind playing small forward.
The Clippers are title contenders behind their two superstar players and Hall of Fame coach. But they do have a void in their starting lineup at the three-spot. They need something dependable, something that Doc Rivers can bank on every night into (hopefully) June.
To me, Iman just isn’t that guy; at least not physically.