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Report: Knicks open to trading Iman Shumpert or J.R. Smith

Jul 20, 2014, 6:30 PM EST

Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith AP

The Knicks are deep at shooting guard at the moment, with quality players like J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr. and the newly-acquired Shane Larkin all expected to vie for minutes at the position next season.

Unless, of course, one or more of them is gone before then.

From Ian Begley of ESPN New York:

Working to clear the logjam in the backcourt, the Knicks are discussing their potential trade options with guards J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Shane Larkin, a league source said Sunday.

“They’re working on trying to make a move in the backcourt,” the NBA source familiar with the Knicks’ thinking said.

The idea that the Knicks are trying to make a trade to balance the roster isn’t earth-shattering. President Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills have mentioned the Knicks have a surplus in the backcourt, with Mills saying last week the Knicks are “heavy” at shooting guard.

Only Hardaway Jr. was mentioned as “untouchable” in the report, and while the other three would each seem to have a certain level of value, they also have their flaws.

Smith took home the Sixth Man of the Year award two seasons ago, but was involved in needless nonsense last season — like beginning the year with a suspension for violating the league’s drug policy, then later getting fined $50,000 for multiple incidents of untying players’ shoes.

Shumpert is known as a solid perimeter defender, but hasn’t showed the expected level of improvement expected from a third-year player with his skill set. He was also made available in trade talks last season, but the Knicks ultimately never found a deal that was to their liking.

Larkin, meanwhile, is raw and unproven, and just came over in the trade that sent Tyson Chandler back to Dallas. He is, however, one of the very few young assets on an aging Knicks roster.

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