NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony reiterated Knicks coach Mike Woodson’s mantra that Iman Shumpert shouldn’t be traded.
“He ain’t going nowhere, he ain’t gotta worry about that,” Anthony said of Shumpert after putting up 42 points in the Knicks’ 102-88 loss to the Clippers at Madison Square Garden. “The Knicks shouldn’t even be in trade talks right now.”
Shumpert has been mentioned in a potential multi-player deal to the Phoenix Suns for Jared Dudley.
Woodson said he addressed the trade rumors with Shumpert and the second-year guard isn’t going anywhere.
“He said don’t worry about,” Shumpert said after managing just two points on 1-of-4 shooting. “A rumor’s a rumor.”
Asked if it was a distraction, Shumpert said, “I don’t really care. I just gotta play ball. I can’t control it anyway. Nothing to worry about something I can’t control. Go out there and play.”
“That’s kind of out of my hands,” Woodson said before the game. “If owners came to me and said we have to do a deal, you do the deal. But I sat [Shumpert] down and I told him. He knows how I feel about him.”
Woodson said his daugthers, Alexis and Mariah, were also concerned about the reports.
“My daughter jumped me [Saturday] night about that trade rumor,” Woodson said before the game. “She called me and said, ‘Daddy, you’re not trading him’ because they all went to Georgia Tech together. Man, I’m like, ‘Iman’s gonna be right here with me.'”
Woodson continued to say he has “faith in Iman,” enough faith to put him on Clippers star Chris Paul to start the game.
But Paul went off for 25 points and seven assists as the Clippers outscored the Knicks, 31-18, in the fourth period.
Shumpert and the Knicks’ perimeter defenders continue to struggle. The Clippers guard group of Paul, Jamal Crawford (27 points,) Eric Bledsoe (13) and Chauncey Billups (eight) combined for 73 points.
“I know it is a challenge to continue to guard guys but I am going to work and get better,” said Shumpert, who is still working his way back from ACL surgery.
“When your mind and body is in different places, it is hard but I am going to keep working. I am getting adjusted to it.”
Shumpert is also struggling on the offensive end.
He finished with two points on 1-of-4 shooting and entered averaging 5.2 points in his last five games.
“It isn’t only about the offense,” Woodson said of Shumpert. “We didn’t rely on him to score a lot of points last year. I like him from a defensive standpoint.”
Right now, that isn’t a strong aspect of Shumpert’s game, and the Knicks have to hope that he will continue to work his way back into form heading into the playoffs.
They will certainly need him to guard quick, athletic point guards in the postseason.
**For Video, Notes & Quotes from the game, read my NBA.com Notebook here.
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