The basic idea of the rumored Darren Collison-for-Iman Shumpert trade between the Los Angeles Clippers and the New York Knicks is pretty straightforward, it seems to me. The Knicks have been dissatisfied with their point guard play all season, and likewise they've been trying to move Shumpert, who has been through some horrendous shooting slumps this season. On the other side of the occasion, Collison was a godsend during Chris Paul's injury absence, but with Paul back the Clippers may feel they have more pressing needs. The team has nothing approaching a stopper in their wing rotation of J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes, and Shumpert would immediately become the team's best wing defender and most athletic perimeter player.
So the starting position, with those two changing coasts, is a reasonable proposition. How to actually get it done seems to be where things are breaking down.
Most of the rumors have Raymond Felton involved. According to Marc Stein, that's a prerequisite for a Shumpert deal.
ESPN has learned Knicks are telling teams that have interest in Shumpert: It'll either cost you a first or you have to take on Felton's deal— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 19, 2014
The Clippers can't offer a first round pick until the 2017 draft -- and they probably don't want to do that anyway. So for them, the Knicks are going to insist on getting rid of Felton.
Felton has been pretty terrible this season, and has two more seasons and almost $8M on his deal (the 15-16 season is a player option). The Clippers are understandably reluctant to take on Felton's deal, and they're equally reluctant to part with Reggie Bullock, their 2013 first round pick who has shown much promise.
Clippers have been reluctant to part with Reggie Bullock (their 2013 FRP) in trade discussions and playing bigger role with Redick out— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 19, 2014
Strangely, Collison-for-Shumpert works as a straight up deal without any other inclusions, yet no one is talking about a stand-alone deal. The Knicks feel they can leverage Shumpert to accomplish more (though they're probably wrong).
Collison and Matt Barnes for Shumpert and Felton is the next logical stop on this train of thought. Barnes and Felton have similar contracts of identical length (15-16 is a player option for Felton while it's only partially guaranteed for Barnes making Felton's deal less flexible for the team) and neither player has lived up to their contract this season -- so at some level, they teams would just be trading problems.
All of this trade discussion has more or less ignored the irony of a player named FELTON actually joining the Clippers after what transpired with FElton Brand.
Personally, I'm quite lukewarm to all of this. I don't have a particularly strong opinion one way or the other about the basic idea. It seems a lot like a lateral move, but the idea of adding athleticism on the wing is not a bad impulse. Goodness knows the Clippers could use someone, anyone, who can stay in front of their man out there. I certainly don't see enough value in this deal to warrant the inclusion of Bullock, so hopefully the Clippers are smart enough to keep him out of the negotiations.
As for Felton, I'm pretty meh on that. The Clippers will need a back up point guard if they deal Collison, and while $3.5M is a little pricey, it's not really that bad for a backup. Raymond Felton has started 584 of his 639 career games. If you adjust your thinking a bit, he's not a bad option as your second string point guard and his contract is not ridiculous (he makes less than Jared Dudley, a little more than Barnes).
As of now, I see why the Clippers are interested in this discussion -- but I don't see enough added value in Shumpert to warrant giving up much. Both sides will try to get as much as they can out of the negotiation of course. It will be interesting to see in the end, after all the posturing, if they're willing to just do a simple Collison for Shumpert swap. It's not earth-shattering, but it's probably a minor win-win.