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Mike Woodson reassures Iman Shumpert after trade rumors

Iman Shumpert controls the ball during a game

Iman Shumpert controls the ball during a game against the Los Angeles Clippers. (Feb. 10, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Mike Woodson made it sound doubtful that the Knicks would trade Iman Shumpert, but he wouldn't rule it out entirely.

For what it's worth, Carmelo Anthony said the Knicks won't move Shumpert -- whose name surfaced in a trade rumor Saturday night -- and shouldn't make any moves as the Feb. 21 trade deadline nears.

"He ain't going nowhere," Anthony said. "He ain't got to worry about that. The Knicks shouldn't even be in trade talks."

The Knicks are looking for backcourt help, though. They showed they needed it after another poor perimeter performance on defense in Sunday's 102-88 loss to the Clippers.

Phoenix is interested in Shumpert and reportedly would offer Jared Dudley and possibly a first-round pick.

The Knicks aren't biting, given that Shumpert is only 22 and a strong defender who will be important in the postseason against some of the league's better perimeter players.

Woodson said he spoke to Shumpert after the report came out and assured him of his importance, but that was the extent of what he could tell him.

"If owners came to me and said we have to do a deal, then you do the deal," Woodson said. "I sat him down and I told him. He knows how I feel about him. My daughter jumped me about that trade rumor. She called me and told me, 'Daddy, you're not going to trade him,' because they all went to Georgia Tech together. I was like, 'Iman's going to be right here with me.' "

Asked about the conversation with Woodson, Shumpert responded: "He said don't worry about it. He said rumors are rumors."

Shumpert has struggled since returning from a torn ACL and lateral meniscus 12 games ago. He played a season-low 12 minutes Friday in Minnesota. Woodson started him on Chris Paul Sunday, but that didn't go well.

The Knicks' perimeter defense has been an issue all season. Shumpert would alleviate some of their defensive concerns if he were to return to his pre-surgery form.

"Iman's a big part of what we do," Woodson said. "He's been kind of on a little roller-coaster ride. My job is to continue to show him some love and assure him he's a part of what we do and get him back to playing how he was playing last year. He'll get there.

"I got a lot of faith in Iman. This organization does, too. We'll get him where he needs to be. It's going to probably take a little time. He's just got to stay the course. He's going to be fine."

New York Sports