It’s been widely assumed that the Knicks as a franchise are less than enamored with Iman Shumpert, for reasons unclear to the majority of the team’s fan base.
Shumpert is a young asset who is active defensively and is capable of scoring in the right situations, which should make him valuable to a club filled with veteran players on big-money contracts.
He’s been the subject of trade rumors, even though he’s started every game he’s appeared in for the past two seasons. But for whatever reason, Knicks management doesn’t seem to want to be in the Iman Shumpert business. That apparently doesn’t include head coach Mike Woodson, however, who semi-angrily defended his feelings about Shumpert on Tuesday.
“If I didn’t like him, I don’t think he’d be averaging 30 minutes on my ballclub,’’ Woodson said testily. “ You got to look at that. I like everybody on our team. So that perception is bull— if you ask me. If I didn’t think much of the man, he wouldn’t be playing. If I don’t think much of you, you’re not going to play.
“I’m going to play guys I like and think can help us win and who play hard. He’s one of those kids. That’s why he’s been a starter on this team since he’s been a rookie. That perception is bull—- if you ask me.’’
When asked if he got that message across to Shumpert, Woodson said, ““He knows how I feel. That’s all that counts.’’
Some of this internal animosity stems from Summer League, if you can believe it — the team wanted Shumpert to play and continue to develop alongside rookies and undrafted players, but a prior offseason commitment with adidas limited the amount of time he was able to physically be in Las Vegas.
The Knicks must have their reasons, and Shumpert will continue to be made available in any trade discussions. But by all appearances, Woodson isn’t the one who is trying to run this player out of town.