The New York Knicks are off to a strong start, but are still the subject of a number of trade rumors.
Check out the latest news below.
Knicks Discussed Smith Trade
A trade that the Knicks have been exploring includes JR Smith.
The team had recent conversations with the Indiana Pacers regarding ex-Knick Chris Copeland, a league source told the New York Post.
Copeland is a 3-point specialist, but more importantly has an expiring contract so he wouldn’t affect their cap space after this year.
Smith has a $6.4 million play option after this year, and could always opt in and not be off the books until 2016.
Copeland is averaging 16 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 30 minutes a game this season so far, with a bigger role because of the Paul George injury.
A source told the Post that if a trade does happen, it won’t be until December 15–the date when 2014 free-agent signees and 2014 draft picks are eligible to be traded.
Kobe to Knicks?
Kobe Bryant has become the subject of trade speculation, with some linking him to the Knicks and new team president Phil Jackson.
Jackson coached Bryant for many years on the Los Angeles Lakers.
Several columnists and even former Bryant teammate Rick Fox have said recently that Bryant could jump ship and waive his no-trade clause.
But Bryant has tried to quash the rumors by denying such a move will happen.
“I hear the chatter of Kobe should ask out and he should go and play for a contender in this latter stage of his career. But that’s not what I do. I’m extremely loyal to the Lakers,” Bryant told Yahoo Sports.
“I believe in fighting through the tough times as well as enjoying the good times. It’s my responsibility to get us to be the best that we can be. It’s important that we approach that on a day-to-day basis.”
Bryant said that the Lakers “did absolutely everything possible” to sign one of the top free agents during the offseason, such as Carmelo Anthony.
Carmelo Says ‘Bad Energy’ is Gone
Carmelo Anthony says that last year’s “bad energy” is gone, and that has helped contribute to the 2-1 start.
“I think just overall, not pointing anything out, but just overall from day one last year the energy was just not right,” Anthony told ESPN.
“This year, you could just feel the total difference stepping into this gym, talking to guys, talking to the staff, talking to the players. Everybody has a newfound energy so it’s just a lot different now.”
The Knicks roster isn’t drastically different from last year but has changed a little after the Knicks traded Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton for Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert, along with Shane Larkin, who is now the starting point guard.
The Knicks also got two second-round draft picks, one of which they used to pick up Cleanthony Early. The pick is widely regarded as a steal.
Anthony said that it’s not the players who are different, but the environment.
“I’m not talking about no players, I’m just talking about as a whole, as a whole,” Anthony said.
“As an organization, as a whole, the energy was just different last year from day one. It ain’t have nothing to do with the players. When we walked in here from day one from training camp, media day the energy was just different.”
“I won’t go into details. It’s deeper than us going out and losing basketball games,” Anthony said. “For whatever reason, it happened. We looked at that. The organization looked at that. And they made some great changes.”
Knicks Don’t Offer Shumpert Extension
The Knicks decided against offering Iman Shumpert a contract extension, and also didn’t pick up Larkin’s option.
The moves mean that Larkin will become an unrestricted free agent next summer unless the Knicks sign him then, while Shumpert will become a restricted free agent.
The Knicks will be able to match any offer made to Shumpert. The defensive specialist could garner significant attention, especially if he has a strong season.
The contracts of Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani are also set to expire, meaning the Knicks should have enough cap space to make a run at a top tier free agent next summer.
Top free agents will likely include Marc Gasol, Greg Monroe, and Rajon Rondo.
Kevin Durant leads the 2016 free agent class, unless he re-signs with the Oklahoma City Thunder.