New York Knicks looking to clear up their back court; Could they be in the mix for Rondo?


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 Sunday.

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.

The issue for the Knicks, of course, is deciding whom to send out in a trade and figuring out what they can get in return in such a transaction.

It’s no secret that Phil Jackson is on a mission to clean up the Knicks and turn them into a serious Eastern Conference contender. It can easily be assumed that Phil’s plan for future success was a huge factor in Carmelo Anthony opting to return to New York instead of heading to Chicago, Houston, or any other team he visited during the first half of NBA Free Agency 2014.

As reported, the Knicks are quite heavy at the two-guard slot and are willing to start moving assets in an attempt to get better sooner rather than later.

While there no real “rumor” here, it is worth mentioning that Rajon Rondo’s name has come up more in more than one scenario involving the Boston All-Star landing with the Knicks.

In recent Grantland "Jalen & Jacoby" podcasts, Jalen Rose has mentioned that New York makes a lot of sense as a landing spot for Rondo either through trade this year or possibly as a free agent. He’s not wrong. Melo is a pure scorer. To be as effective as possible, he needs a premier facilitator. It would be a devastating offensive pairing.

While I don’t think the addition of J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and/or Shane Larkin is going to solve any problems in Boston as the Celtics have a logjam in the backcourt as it is, one has to assume the Knicks are going to come calling. Other massive contracts the Knicks are more than likely looking at moving are Andrea Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire- both of which would probably be shopped to Danny Ainge in one form or another.

Absolutely none of these players or contracts help the Celtics win now. They would, however, provide flexibility next season when their contracts come off the cap (specifically Bargnani or Stoudemire). With Rondo, Thornton, and Bass all heading into the final year of their deals in 2014-15, and the end of the current contracts for Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace entering view, the Celtics in dealing for one of the larger NYK contracts would provide a ton of additional flexibility in the very near future.

By facilitating a trade with one of the C’s larger contracts to go to Manhattan along with Rondo, the allure of having a lot of flexibility may be worth a conversation.

Follow Padraic O'Connor on Twitter @padraic_oconnor

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