The New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers have been talking about a trade that would include Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert. This may seem like a confusing swap, but for both sides it makes sense.
The Sixers have about $30 million in cap space compared to the Knicks’ $5 million. The Sixers have space to take Stoudemire and would if the Knicks threw in a young talent like Shumpert, so they could either keep the expiring Stoudemire or buy out his contract like they did with Danny Granger. In return, the Knicks would get $23 million off the books for next season and probably get a draft pick or two as well. With that cap space, they could then sign another superstar, or even more likely, get a couple of solid players on the market to help make their roster more complete.
With a lot of free agents most likely waiting to see where Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Chris Bosh land, if the Knicks could get rid of Stoudemire’s contract quickly they will still have a lot of time to work with what is on the market. Especially if Anthony decides to return to the Big Apple, some of the key veterans still on the market, who they would be able to give more than the mid-level exception if Stoudemire isn’t on the roster, might consider going to New York to play for the prestigious Phil Jackson and his disciples Derek Fiaher and Kurt Rambis. Winning in New York is something athletes dream of. These guys, who know how to win and have won together, are trying to make that dream something realistic.
Pau Gasol has been a name that has floated around as a potential target for many teams, including the Knicks. With Stoudemire off the books, he could receive more money to play for Jackson again, who coached him to two NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. Gasol could prove to be an upgrade from Stoudemire as he is one of the NBA’s better passing big men and he already knows the patented triangle offense. He could be an on-the-court coach in contradiction to Stoudemire, who would be learning just like everybody else. Gasol averaged double the rebounds Stoudemire did in the 2013-14 season and blocked almost one more shot per game than him. Gasol could help make the Knicks better on both sides of the floor.
With depth needed in the frontcourt, restricted free agent Greg Monroe could also be an option for the Knicks. A younger talent, Monroe is a product of the Princeton offense run at Georgetown, where he played his college ball. In a system with a lot of cutting and passing by everybody, his game would translate well to what Jackson and Fisher are trying to implement. Other players who could fit in would potentially be veteran Luol Deng, who can knock down the long-range jumper, bring experience and help out a lot on defense. They could also try and get a young guy like the do-it-all Gordon Hayward, who averaged 16.2 points, 5,2 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game with the Utah Jazz last season. As one of five players to average at least 15/5/5 last season, Hayward would be another solid fit for the system.
If Stoudemire is traded, I am not saying all of these guys would go to play for the Knicks. These guys are all players who could fit the system better than Stoudemire, take some of that money he would be making in a Knick uniform and put it to better use. It will be interesting to see how the next couple days pan out with Anthony, but regardless of his decision, it is clear that the Knicks are actively trying to make improvements to their roster as soon as they can.