Here are a few notes from the Eastern Conference:
- The latest piece by Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com examines Iman Shumpert‘s trade value and the likelihood that the Knicks guard develops into an elite player. Shumpert has been discussed as a potential trade candidate throughout the season, and Begley suggests that his value lies in his potential and not proven production. So far in his career, the former first-round pick has scored 8.2 PPG in 26.5 MPG.
- Marc Berman of the New York Post compares Mike Woodson‘s tough treatment of Shumpert this season to his treatment of J.R. Smith last season. Smith responded positively and ended up winning sixth man of the year, but it remains to be seen whether or not Shumpert will respond in such a way.
- Dion Waiters has been another popular name in trade rumors around the league. We learned yesterday that the Cavaliers are shopping Waiters, and Bob Finnan of the News Herald reveals that Waiters is attempting to stay focused on the court amid all the trade talks: “I’m out here and still smiling. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than playing basketball. I’ll leave that all to the press. I’ll let them have fun with that.”
- Much was made of LeBron James and “The Decision,” but Tommy Beer of HoopsWorld notes that James’ decision to sign with the Heat was unselfish in the sense that he took less guaranteed years and a significant pay cut in order to play for a championship-caliber club. In fact, James could have made an additional $15MM had he signed a more lucrative contract that was available to him.
- Speaking of the Heat, Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel writes that Miami and the Big Three have come a long way since their 9-8 start in 2010/11 that had critics questioning whether or not the superstar packed club could succeed. James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade each have early termination options on their contracts for the 2014/15 season, but there’s been little evidence to suggest any of them are eager to explore free agency.