Despite a disappointing season marred by injuries and reported spats with Carmelo Anthony and head coach Mike Woodson, Knicks swingman Iman Shumpert remains a vital piece to the team's future success for Hall of Famer Phil Jackson, who was introduced Tuesday morning as the team's new president, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Citing a league source, Berman reported that the 23-year-old, who made the All-Rookie NBA team in 2012, has a "legitimate future" with the team. A month ago, a deadline deal almost took place for the Knicks that would have sent Shumpert to the Los Angeles Clippers for small forward Matt Barnes and point guard Darren Collison.
According to Berman, New York planned on sitting Shumpert on the evening of the trade deadline in February for the game in New Orleans against the Pelicans, but the Knicks inserted him back into the lineup out of necessity. Shumpert ended spraining the MCL in his left knee and was sidelined for two weeks, nixing any potential deadline deal.
Shumpert said growing up in Oak Park, Ill. made him a Bulls fan during the Michael Jordan era in the 1990s, and said he's always been a fan of Jackson, according to the report:
“I love Phil Jackson. Just being a child, seeing him, how he conducted the Bulls. I just love him.’’
Shumpert is due $4.5 million between this season and next, and has a qualifying offer for $3.8 million for the 2015-16 season, when the Knicks will be done with their contracts for Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani.
The Knicks are currently 27-40 and three games out of the final playoff spot in the East, which is currently owned by the Atlanta Hawks.SI WIRE: Carmelo Anthony says he’s willing to change playing style to win championships