This feels like it's going to get ramble-y. There's your fair warning.
I don't feel one way about the possibility of trading Iman Shumpert. I do feel compelled to remind everyone-- myself included-- that the chatter about trading Shump still emanates from a single report saying the Knicks weren't interested in dealing for Jared Dudley, so there's that. We've heard no suggestion that even the bud of a Shumpert deal exists. But now that the notion has entered public discourse, I've had to think about it and, as usual, find myself on the fence. On one hand, I can see how Shump stands out on a team populated with guys either at or past their prime, and how-- especially with the kid's gradual recovery-- a more proven player such as Dudley might better serve New York's "win now" approach. On the other hand, I question how "win now" the Knicks really have to be and think of Shump as someone who, at full strength, could fit quite well into New York's foremost void. Also, I love the guy beyond reason. That matters to me.
But that's not even what I'm here to discuss. If you want to read a smart, detailed analysis of the possibility of trading Shumpert, go here, here or here. I'm writing this just to step back and appreciate what we're discussing. It's mid-February. The Knicks have played almost 50 games, the trade deadline is days away, and look what we're talking about. This juncture of pretty much every season in P&T's existence (2006-2007 was quiet, because the team just sucked and had no direction whatsoever) has been a period of deep disturbance. In '08, Isiah Thomas was nearing his end. In '09, the Knicks made important salary-shedding deadline deals for Larry Hughes and Chris Wilcox after dispensing with Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford earlier in the season. In 2010, Tracy McGrady. In 2011, Carmelo Anthony. In 2012, Mike D'Antoni.
We are usually FREAKING OUT around the trade deadline. And things definitely don't feel perfect now, but look what we're upset and at odds about: 1. There exists the lightly reported possibility of trading a relatively minor player. 2. The team, which has otherwise been pretty excellent, plays sub-par defense.
It's just basketball stuff! No looming seismic changes or nettlesome melodrama! The one thing folks expected to cause trouble, Amar'e Stoudemire's return to the lineup, couldn't be going more smoothly. Now, there is still plenty of time-- until the trade deadline, until the playoffs, and so forth-- for things to turn sour beyond imagination. I will never rule that out with the Knicks. If anything, that's why I feel especially inclined to stop and revel in this moment. It is mid-February, and the only things we have to worry about Knicks-wise are normal NBA team things. It is nice. I've seen a few comments saying as much, but I really think it deserves extra appreciation. And that is why I made this blog post. <3
Update: I've already gotten a couple responses that amount to "I'm still freaking out because that's just what I'm used to doing right now!". I've been feeling that myself at times, and it makes sense, doesn't it? I guess our collective consciousness as Knicks fans is like the human brain: plastic, and hungry for new stimuli when familiar ones disappear. If you remove a person's arm (don't), the arm parts of the brain often start interfacing with the nearby face parts of the brain. The receivers seek input. Perhaps if you remove the Knicks' omnipresent threat of doing something worth freaking out over, the freaking-out parts of our Knicks-brains latch on to whatever else they can find. Maybe little things have gained extra weight because the team feels genuinely close to achieving something meaningful, but even then, all of this pales in comparison to the crazy shit that was going on at this time each of the last few years. That, to me, is cool.