The Lakers recently called the Knicks to express their interest in Iman Shumpert, according to sources close to the situation.
No trade is imminent, and sources say the Lakers' call was more about doing their due diligence; it's well-known Shumpert is available. The Lakers are unlikely to make a deal before the end of their current four-game trip, which concludes Tuesday night in Memphis.
But with Steve Blake, who is expected to miss at least six weeks with an elbow injury, joining point guards Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar on the injured list, the Lakers could be interested in strengthening their backcourt.
Shumpert is more of a shooting guard, but with Bryant taking on more of a playmaking role -- averaging a career-high 6.7 assists while attempting fewer than nine shots a game -- since returning from a torn Achilles tendon last Sunday, it's easy to see the two playing together.
Sources say the Lakers also are interested in another Knicks player -- center Tyson Chandler. The Lakers did not inquire about Chandler when they called about Shumpert, but they are weighing whether to propose a Pau Gasol-for-Chandler trade, according to sources.
The Knicks are not looking to move Chandler -- several teams have contacted them about him, sources said -- but if a club agreed to take back struggling guard J.R. Smith, the Knicks would consider such a deal.
With Smith having signed a three-year, $18 million contract this past summer, the Lakers aren't likely to be interested in him.