Iman Shumpert

Cavs Seek Three-And-D Wing Player

Influential Cavs players are open to trading for Markieff Morris, but the front office is instead looking for a defensive-minded wing player who can effectively shoot spot-up jumpers from long range, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer hears. Cavs higher-ups want that three-and-D wing to back up Iman Shumpert, concerned that the way Shumpert plays will again leave him injured, just as he was to start the season with a wrist issue that cost him the team’s first 21 games, Haynes reports.

The Suns have made Morris “very available” for a trade, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com wrote last month, amid a losing season, a benching, and a back-and-forth that included a summer trade demand, a media day backtracking, and a suspension for throwing a towel at coach Jeff Hornacek. Cavs players nonetheless think he’d be solid if veteran voices LeBron James, Richard Jefferson and James Jones were in his ear, according to Haynes. However, the Cavs brass is worried Morris would upset team chemistry, Haynes hears. The players also like the idea of adding Morris as insurance behind Kevin Love, Haynes writes. Love, like Shumpert, has had trouble with injuries in the past.

The Cavs have an open roster spot after trading Joe Harris to the Magic this week, a move that helped reduce Cleveland’s massive projected tax bill. The team is nonetheless in line to shell out about $170MM between payroll and taxes, and trading for Morris and his $8MM salary using its $10,522,500 trade exception would send that figure about $25MM higher, putting the Cavs in position to break the record of the 2013/14 Nets, who laid out more than $193MM, for the most money spent in a single season. The alternative would be to send matching salary to Phoenix, but either way, the Suns would likely want assets the Cavs simply don’t have, Haynes posits. The Suns are reportedly looking for young players or draft picks in exchange for Morris, and the Cavs have unloaded many such assets since going into win-now mode upon LeBron’s 2014 return.

Three-and-D wing players are tough to find on the trade market. The Suns have rugged defender P.J. Tucker, a career 35.5% 3-point shooter, but they’ve given no indication that they’re prepared to deal him yet.

Which do you think the Cavs need more, a three-and-D wing or Morris? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Cavs Notes: Williams, Jefferson, Smith, Shumpert

Having a healthy roster for the first time in more than a year is cutting into the playing time of some Cavaliers veterans, writes Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon-Journal. It’s a situation that Anderson Varejao has been dealing with all year. Now Mo Williams is joining him and Richard Jefferson could be in the same situation, Lloyd speculates. Williams signed with the Cavs over the summer to handle the point guard duties while Kyrie Irving recovered from a fractured kneecap. Now that Irving is healthy, Williams’ playing time has plummeted. He was held out of a game against the Suns last week, then played just five minutes against the Warriors and 10 against the Blazers. Lloyd writes that it’s obvious Williams has fallen to third on the point guard depth chart behind Irving and Matthew Dellavedova“Guys gotta understand and I’ve told them this, only so many guys can play,” said coach David Blatt. “That’s just the reality of the limitations of the game. Some guys may find themselves for no other reason other than that not playing many minutes or not playing at all.”

There’s more this morning out of Cleveland:

  • Some veterans on the team weren’t happy with Blatt’s decision to not play Jefferson in the Christmas Day game against Golden State, Lloyd writes in the same piece. The writer believes Blatt will have to eventually decide between Jefferson and J.R. Smith for a rotation spot. Smith is currently a starter, but Lloyd expects Iman Shumpert to take over his role when Irving’s minutes restriction is lifted.
  • Williams showed up at the locker room barely an hour before game time Saturday, then seemed to be a reluctant participant in cheering his teammates, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. The writer sees the Cavs as primed for another run at the NBA Finals, but warns a counterproductive influence could help derail that.
  • Cleveland’s renewed defensive prowess has coincided with Shumpert’s return to the lineup, Lloyd writes in a separate story. Since Shumpert came back from a wrist injury three weeks ago, the Cavs lead the league in defensive field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage and are behind only the Spurs in points allowed per 100 possessions.

Atlantic Notes: Lopez, Landry, Zeller

The emergence of rookie Kristaps Porzingis clouds the future of Knicks offseason signee Robin Lopez, surmises Marc Berman of the New York Post, who earlier reported that the team is thinking about taking Lopez out of the starting five. He’s played 20 minutes or fewer in seven of his last nine games, though he’s shown hints of more efficient play and says he’s beginning to get a handle on the triangle offense, as Berman relays.

“I’m starting to see the opportunities,’’ Lopez said. “I’m starting to see when I’m supposed to look for me — on the block. When I’m supposed look for the pick and roll, where the cuts are going to be. I know it will get better. I’m getting a better idea of what I’m supposed to do offensively.’’

See more on the Knicks and the rest of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Cavs are in first place in the Eastern Conference with J.R. Smith and a now-healthy Iman Shumpert, but the Knicks have seen strong play from Lance Thomas, and coach Derek Fisher doesn’t regret New York’s participation in last January’s three-way trade with Cleveland and Oklahoma City. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News has the details. “Seems like both for J.R. and Shump it’s worked out well. They seem happy,” Fisher said Tuesday. “We like our team as it is at this point.”
  • Sixers offseason trade acquisition Carl Landry, the only player on the team older than 25, made his season debut Wednesday after a wrist injury cost him the first two months of the season, and he’s embracing a leadership role, observes Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News. The team has been in the market for additional veteran influences of late.
  • Tyler Zeller was an extension candidate this past summer, but the Celtics were reportedly interested in a deal only if it would come at a discount to them, and that hesitancy seems wise now that the center is averaging only 8.5 minutes a game. Still, the soon-to-be free agent posted a season-high 14 points Monday, and his lack of complaints about fluctuating minutes reveals a value, coach Brad Stevens contends, as A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNBoston.com notes. The Celtics organization is “even more endeared” to Zeller because of the way he’s handled the situation, Stevens said, according to Blakely.

And-Ones: Howard, Roberts, Jones, Kidd

Rockets center Dwight Howard recently turned 30 and hopes he can continue to play in the NBA into his 40s, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle relays. “That’d be fun if I was to play this game [that long],” Howard told Feigen. “That was always my goal, to play 20 years, 20-something years in this league. I’m extremely happy and blessed to have been able to play this game for as long as I have been so far. I have played a lot of minutes. I’ve been doing a lot since I came into the league. I’m thankful. I’m not going to complain about it. I’m happy that I’ve been able to play 12 years so far. A lot of NBA players never played this long so I am very happy and blessed that I’ve been able to play 12 years in the NBA. Hopefully, I can play another 10, but the time I’ve played, I’ve enjoyed it.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Several NBA teams have expressed interest in Raptors preseason cut Ronald Roberts, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv relays (via Twitter). In 10 appearances for the Raptors 905 this season Roberts is averaging 17.9 points and 13.0 rebounds on 67% shooting.
  • Timberwolves rookie point guard Tyus Jones believes his recent stint in the D-League will help him to contribute more at the NBA level, Jace Frederick of The Pioneer Press writes. That definitely helped me out and definitely prepared me even more than I was, and it’s just helped my process,” Jones said. “I think it did prepare me a little bit better to help this team out.
  • The Knickstrade of J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers was a move met with displeasure by the team’s fanbase, but it has worked out well for both sides so far, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “We made the decision,’’ Knicks coach Derek Fisher said. “It seems like it’s worked out well for both. J.R. and Shump, they seem happy. We like our team as it is at this point. I think our team would be OK if they were here or not because of what [habits] we’re doing every day.’’
  • Bucks front office officials would have liked to have drafted Bobby Portis with the 17th overall pick this year, but coach Jason Kidd went with Rashad Vaughn instead, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (audio link via Twitter at 57-minute mark). Kidd is calling the shots on personnel, as Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times told us in a recent edition of The Beat. People around the league wonder whether Kidd’s leave of absence for hip surgery is the first step toward him dropping the coaching job and moving into a full-time front office role with the team, Wojnarowski hears.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Shumpert, D-League, Ross

Iman Shumpert, who made his season debut Friday after breaking his right wrist just before training camp, is viewed by the Cavs as more of a long-term part of the team compared to J.R. Smith, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. That is one reason why, according to Pluto, the Cavs re-signed Shumpert, 25, to a four-year, $40MM deal very early in the summer. The Cavs believe Shumpert can be a significant part of a championship team because he is unselfish and is a solid 3-point shooter, Pluto adds. In comparison, the Cavs did not re-sign Smith until late August. Smith’s deal was a two-year pact with a player option for 2016/17.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The Grizzlies recalled James Ennis from the D-League, the team announced. It was the small forward’s third trip to the D-League this season. The 25-year-old has averaged has 23.3 points in 36.8 minutes in three games in the D-League.
  • The Lakers assigned Tarik Black, Ryan Kelly and Anthony Brown to their D-League affiliate, the team announced (on Twitter).
  • Terrence Ross, who signed a three-year, $31MM extension with the Raptors last month, has not been able to string together consistent performances since inking the deal, Eric Koreen of the National Post writes. Toronto has tried in a variety of ways to spark Ross, including having him come off the bench, but nothing seems to stick, Koreen adds.

Eastern Notes: Redick, Patterson, Monroe

The Cavaliers have been hit hard by injuries to begin the season and have struggled a bit as a result, but the team would be remiss to believe that the return to health of Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert will cure all that ails them, Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group writes. LeBron James apparently shares Haynes’ opinion, saying, “I hope we don’t think that way. It’s never that way. When you get your guys back, you prepare just as you prepare before. There’s only one guy ever in the world that everything will be all right when he comes back and that’s Jesus Christ. Other than that, you can’t bank on nobody being OK.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick was shocked when the Magic dealt him away to the Bucks in 2013, and though he is happy playing in Los Angeles he still has fond memories of his time in Orlando, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. “If you have a family, if you have a wife, it’s just a great place to play,” Redick said. “L.A. can be a little more stressful in that regard. My wife and I joke all the time, like, ‘Man, life was simple in Orlando. The rent was so low. We didn’t have to deal with traffic or state income tax.’ There’s all these other things out here. But playing in Los Angeles, playing in a big market, playing for a high-profile team — those are things that I wanted in free agency. I wanted the chance to win. So I’m happy, man.
  • The Hawks have assigned Lamar Patterson to the D-League, and he will report to the Spurs’ affiliate in Austin as part of the flexible assignment rule, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution relays (via Twitter).
  • Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy appreciated the abilities of Greg Monroe, who departed as a free agent and inked a deal with the Bucks this past offseason, but he couldn’t justify tying up a large chunk of the franchise’s cap space between Monroe and Andre Drummond, Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel writes. “I think Greg played some at the four obviously and was good, but his best position is at center,” Van Gundy said. “He knew that. We knew that. What of your resources are you going to tie up at basically one position? Or were you willing to play with two centers in a league that’s going the other way? It didn’t have anything to do with the person, really. It was the situation where we had to make a decision. I miss Greg, I do…. He’s a great rebounder, and a great competitor and teammate.

Cavs Notes: LeBron, Blatt, Shumpert, Love

The Cavaliers have lost two in a row and are on just their third regular season losing streak since January 15th, observes Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. Still, the rhetoric coming from the team suggests it isn’t treating the matter lightly, with LeBron James questioning the team’s hunger and attention to detail and coach David Blatt calling for more toughness, as Lloyd relays. Iman Shumpert should help add some grit, Lloyd posits, and he’s ahead of schedule as he mends from his wrist injury, with a mid-December return possible, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Still, that’s a ways off, Lloyd notes. See more from Cleveland:

  • The attitude of Dion Waiters wore on coaches, executives and other Cavs players and prompted his trade last season, Lloyd writes in the same piece, one that looks back on Cleveland’s choice to pick Waiters instead of Andre Drummond with the No. 4 overall selection in 2012. Drummond doesn’t seem to place blame the Cavs, since they already had other big men, though Cleveland, like others, had questions about Drummond’s motor, Lloyd notes. “Still to this day I don’t have the answer to that,” the Pistons center said about why teams questioned his desire. “I don’t know who started that or how it came about, but I’m pretty sure they’re punching themselves now.”
  • James is more trusting of coach Blatt and his teammates than he was last season, as Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today examines. James is again showing the willingness to accept coaching that he had under Erik Spoelstra in Miami, and Blatt feels more comfortable communicating to him, Zillgitt writes.
  • Kevin Love‘s rejuvenated play this season is prompting many to take a second look at the trade that brought him to Cleveland and sent out Andrew Wiggins, but the value of the deal for the Cavs will likely come down to whether the team delivers a title with Love on the roster, observes Shaun Powell of NBA.com.

And-Ones: LeBron, Silver, Labissiere, Bender

LeBron James isn’t pressuring the Cavs to make moves amid the absence of key players, observes Joe Vardon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Kevin Love is set to take part in a full practice for the first time this weekend, Vardon’s Northeast Ohio Media Group colleague Chris Haynes writes, but Kyrie Irving is still out, Iman Shumpert isn’t expected back for about three months, and Tristan Thompson remains unsigned.

“Until Kyrie and Tristan and Shump is ready, we have enough guys that will all help,” James said. “It’s not about me carrying the team and that nature. We’re all grown men, we’re all professionals and they’re here to do their job.”

While we wait to see if the Cavs can indeed overcome being shorthanded, here’s more from around the league:

  • It’s unclear whether formal labor talks between commissioner Adam Silver and union executive director Michele Roberts have taken place, but Silver told Raúl Barrigón of HoopsHype that the two have remained in communication (All Twitter links). “We continue to talk all the time,” Silver said. “I think Michele Roberts and I both have the same goal which is to avoid any sort of work stoppage. And we know one of the ways to avoid a work stoppage is to talk early and often. And we’re doing that.”
  • Top 2016 draft prospect Skal Labissiere has yet to receive NCAA clearance to play this season at Kentucky, his guardian tells Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. The NCAA has scrutinized the relationship between the guardian and the 7’0″ forward/center, Goodman hears, but it’s not clear if that’s the reason for the holdup. Labissiere is the top prospect in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings while Chad Ford of ESPN.com has him second.
  • Dragan Bender impressed NBA scouts and executives with his play in exhibitions in Chicago and New York last week, according to Ford, who has the 17-year-old small forward at No. 3 in his ranking of the top 2016 draft prospects (Twitter links).
  • Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari became the first players to sign renegotiations-and-extensions under the current collective bargaining agreement this summer, but with the cap rising, a greater chance exists that this rarely used contract tool comes into play more often, notes Nate Duncan of Nylon Calculus. Duncan examines potential renegotiation-and-extension scenarios for DeMarcus Cousins, James Harden and others, arguing that such a move would make sense for both Cousins and the Kings in 2017.

Agent Happy Walters Leaves Relativity Sports

Prominent NBA agent Happy Walters has left Relativity Media and its Relativity Sports offshoot, Variety’s James Rainey reports. Walters represents John Wall, Jimmy Butler, Ty Lawson, Monta Ellis, Amar’e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert and other notable NBA names. Billionaire and Relativity part-owner Ron Burkle, who was once a part of the bidding group that ultimately bought the Kings in 2013, will take over as chairman of Relativity Sports, tweets Liz Mullen of the SportsBusiness Journal.

Relativity was in the news this summer when DeAndre Jordan, then a client of Relativity agents Dan Fegan and Jarinn Akana, pulled his infamous flip-flop and re-signed with the Clippers after verbally committing to the Mavs. Jordan later let go of Fegan and Akana, and Austin Rivers, the son of Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers, did the same.

Several Walters clients made moves this offseason. Butler scored a new five-year deal worth more than $92MM with the Bulls, Ellis signed with the Pacers for nearly $44MM over four years, Shumpert re-upped with the Cavs on a four-year deal worth $40MM and Stoudemire joined the Heat for the minimum salary. Lawson gave up the guarantee on the final season of his contract to facilitate a trade to the Rockets, a move that could cast him into free agency this coming summer.

Walters is forming his own company, Rainey hears, though it’s unclear if all his clients will follow him. One of them, Maurice Harkless, faces a November 2nd deadline to sign a rookie scale extension, but the chances of an extension for Harkless, whom the Blazers acquired via trade this summer, have long seemed remote.

Iman Shumpert To Miss Three Months With Injury

2:59pm: The Cavs don’t have immediate plans to address the injury with a roster move, Griffin said, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com, but he didn’t rule out doing so at some point.

“I think we look at this as a very similar situation to what we went through in the playoffs last year: Next man up,” Griffin said. “We have a roster we feel is deep enough to withstand one injury like this, and so we’re going to give people a chance to kind of absorb it from within, but obviously we’ve been paying attention to a lot of opportunities that we may be able to [use] to improve the group. We’ll just play it by ear.”

11:32am: Iman Shumpert will miss the next 12-14 weeks because of a wrist injury, the team announced. The swingman, who re-signed with the Cavaliers for four years and $40MM this summer, recently suffered a ruptured extensor carpi ulnaris sheath in his right wrist, according to the team. Shumpert hit his wrist on the rim during a workout last week but continued to play through it, GM David Griffin said today, according to Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link). The injury is poised to force Shumpert out for training camp and the first two months of the regular season.

Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov and Anderson Varejao are all coming off surgery, and while all were reportedly to be ready for camp, Griffin said Monday the team will take it slow with Irving and Love and wouldn’t lay out a timetable for their return to game action, notes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. If they return to playing by the start of the regular season, it would combine with the late summer signing of J.R. Smith to soften the blow of the Shumpert injury.

Cleveland would need to have at least four players who are expected to be out for an extended length of time to qualify for a hardship provision, which would allow for a 16th regular season roster spot. The team can’t apply for a disabled player exception, which would give the team cap flexibility to acquire a player, unless Shumpert is deemed likely to miss the season. Since neither scenario is in play, the Cavs will have to replace Shumpert using existing means. They can’t sign any free agent for more than the minimum salary, but they have a $10,522,500 trade exception. The team would probably use that exception only if necessary, preferring to save it for next offseason, as Haynes explained to Hoops Rumors in a recent installment of The Beat.

Shumpert took over for Smith in the starting lineup during the postseason, so Smith figures to flip back into the role of starter at the wing in Shumpert’s absence. Backup point guards Mo Williams and Matthew Dellavedova can slide over to shooting guard, while Richard Jefferson and James Jones are available at small forward. The injury may well force 30-year-old LeBron James to play more minutes than would be ideal at the start of the season. In any case, the depth is a product of the team’s offseason player personnel work, as Williams, Dellavedova, Jefferson, Jones and James all signed contracts with the team this summer, just like Shumpert and Smith.

Do you think the Cavs should use their trade exception to deal for someone to replace Shumpert, or ride it out until he gets back? Comment to tell us.

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