Iman Shumpert

Iman Shumpert Hoping To Return From Knee Injury

Iman Shumpert hopes that he can return from right knee soreness to help the Rockets in the coming days, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes.

Shumpert, 28, has missed Houston’s first two games following the All-Star break due to the injury. He has not played since Feb. 13 and is currently listed as questionable for the Rockets’ game against the Hawks on Monday.

“I just need to run and do stuff,” Shumpert said. “I haven’t really tested it out now. We’ve been doing strength work. I’ll be able to do a little running (Sunday and Monday), see how it responds and go from there.”

After appearing in just 14 games last season due to knee surgery, Shumpert acknowledged he needs to be more careful in returning to the court. In 45 games between the Rockets and Kings this season, 8.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 1.1 SPG. Houston acquired Shumpert as part of a three-team deal ahead of the trade deadline.
“I don’t think it was a certain play that happened. I sat out a year. Just an accumulation of minutes,” Shumpert said. “Don’t get me wrong. I can still play through it. Looking at the long haul, being traded to this team, knowing what we’re up against and what we have to do come playoff time, I have to be able to play through. If I’m able to take some time now to get it all right, using the All-Star break for those days and taking these days, will do me a lot of good in strengthening it and making sure my form is right.”

Kings Notes: Deadline, Barnes, Fox, Brewer

Having entered trade deadline week carrying $11MM in cap room and a handful of expiring veteran contracts, the Kings were expected to be among the NBA’s most active teams at the deadline, and they delivered, completing a pair of deals for Alec Burks and Harrison Barnes. Discussing those trades following the deadline, GM Vlade Divac explained that the club was thinking about both its short- and long-term future.

“Our focus going into this process was to improve our team and not jeopardize our future,” Divac said, per James Ham of NBC Sports California. “I think we achieved exactly what we tried. We brought talent that is going to help us be a better team, not just for now, but moving forward.”

The Kings had long been seeking an answer at the small forward position and are hoping Barnes can be that player after they acquired him from the Mavs for Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson. The veteran forward could theoretically leave Sacramento in free agency this summer, but the Kings sound hopeful that Barnes will stick around, either on his 2019/20 player option or on a new deal, as Ham relays.

“We want to focus on the rest of the season, and we’re going to talk about it after,” Divac said of Barnes’ future. “But definitely, we have interest to have him here for a long time.”

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Following the trade deadline, Divac spoke to star point guard De’Aaron Fox, who was said to be disappointed to see the Kings lose Jackson and Iman Shumpert, as Sam Amick of The Athletic details. “I tried to explain (the team’s deadline moves), why we did it, where we want to be, the experience with the playoffs and all that,” Divac said. “Look, De’Aaron is our marquee player. That’s the guy. I want De’Aaron to take this team to the next level, and I’m here to help him. Whatever I do, I try to make this team better.”
  • Corey Brewer, who signed a 10-day contract with the Kings after the trade deadline, called Sacramento a “perfect situation,” according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Brewer said he received interest from other teams, but likes the way the Kings “get up and down” the court and hopes to help the club’s push for a playoff spot.
  • Even after signing Brewer, the Kings still have one open spot on their roster, as our list of NBA roster counts shows. Sacramento is under no obligation to fill that opening, but the team would have to eventually get back up to 14 players if it lets Brewer walk once his 10-day deal expires.

Shumpert To Rockets, Burks to Kings In 3-Team Trade

FEBRUARY 7, 11:33am: The trade is now official, the Cavaliers confirmed in a press release. Here are the full details:

  • Cavaliers acquire Knight, Chriss, the Rockets’ 2019 first-round pick, and the Rockets 2022 second-round pick.
  • Rockets acquire Shumpert, Stauskas, Baldwin, and the Bucks’ 2021 second-round pick (from Cleveland).
  • Kings acquire Burks and lesser of the Rockets’ and Warriors’ 2020 second-round picks.

FEBRUARY 7, 7:21am: The draft pick the Kings are receiving from Houston in the deal will be the lesser of the Rockets’ and Warriors’ second-rounders in 2020, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports California.

FEBRUARY 6, 8:10pm: The Cavaliers will also receive a lottery-protected 2019 first-round pick from the Rockets, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who states that the front office is “thrilled” by what it was able to get in return for Burks.

7:25pm: The Kings, Rockets and Cavaliers have agreed to a three-team deal that will send Iman Shumpert to Houston, Alec Burks and a second-round pick to Sacramento and Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight to Cleveland, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

The Rockets will also receive Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin from the Cavs, adds ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Both guards were acquired Sunday when Cleveland shipped Rodney Hood to Portland. Houston hasn’t decided whether to keep both players for the rest of the season, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Because they were just acquired, Stauskas and Baldwin can’t be aggregated in the same trade, so the Cavaliers and Rockets will have to make two separate deals, tweets Keith Smith of Real GM. Burks will be traded for Knight, while Chriss’ $3.2MM salary will be absorbed with the TPE that Cleveland created by sending Hood to the Trail Blazers.

The Cavaliers had to include both guards to remain below the luxury tax, Bobby Marks posts on ESPN Now. They created a $1.5MM trade exception for each player and are now $1.2MM under the tax. Knight carries cap hits of $14.6MM for this season and $15.6MM for 2019/20, while Chriss has a $3.2MM expiring deal. Cleveland is dangerously close to tax territory for next season, Marks adds, hovering about $10MM below without accounting for a projected top five draft pick.

Houston will save $6.3MM in projected tax payments and bring its bill down to $6.1MM, Marks notes in a separate post. The total could drop even lower depending on what happens with $1.5MM in bonuses for Clint Capela, who is sidelined after thumb surgery. The Rockets will inherit Shumpert’s Bird rights and will sit about $4MM above the tax threshold with the addition of the three players.

The Rockets had been seeking veteran wing help and were hoping to unload the contracts of Knight and Chriss after acquiring them from Phoenix over the summer in a deal to unload Ryan Anderson‘s hefty salary. Shumpert has an $11MM expiring contract. Burks also has an expiring deal worth a little more than $11.5MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Rondo, Ingles, Cousins, Shumpert, Divac

Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo has been cleared to practice, Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet tweets. The Lakers will not practice prior to their game against Houston on Saturday, so Rondo’s first practice will be delayed until at least Sunday. Rondo hasn’t played since Christmas Day due to a torn ligament in his right ring finger. Rondo, who will be an unrestricted free agent once again this summer, underwent surgery on December 28th.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers still rues the day the franchise let Joe Ingles go, Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News reports. Ingles was the team’s last cut during 2014 training camp because the roster was already filled with guarantee contracts. Ingles has since emerged as a key piece for the Jazz. “I said it the day we released him that this was a bad decision and that we’re going to regret it,” Rivers said. “Unfortunately  I was working for someone who said we couldn’t eat a contract. We were begging to eat one contract and they said that will never happen and we had to let him go.”
  • The Warriors know there will be adjustment period once DeMarcus Cousins returns to action but they’re confident he’ll eventually fit in, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes. Like many of the team’s stars, Cousins is used to having the ball in his hands frequently. They’ll all have to learn to share it even more with a dominant low-post scorer in the lineup. “Obviously, we want him to be himself,” Stephen Curry said. “We want him to be that player that he knows he can be. Bring that specific and unique skill set to kind of change our look a little bit. We have high-IQ guys all over the floor that will be able to figure it out. It might not be smooth at the beginning because it is going to be different, but he brings another element that we’ve never had before.”
  • Kings guard Iman Shumpert denies that he tried to enter Portland’s locker room in a confrontation manner on Monday, he tweets. Shumpert was apparently upset at Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic for setting a hard pick on him but said he merely wanted to talk things out. “I was respectful of their team’s space and privacy. I waited outside and asked to have a conversation. I was greeted by team security that talked to me and I left.”
  • Kings GM Vlade Divac confirms that he told minority owners to stop meddling in the team’s affairs, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee tweets. Divac made his feelings known during a conference call with members of the team’s executive board. “I just told them about my plan,” he informed Anderson. When asked if he told those owners to stop meddling and leaking stories, he replied, “Yeah, that’s my plan.”

Kings In Position To Be Active At Trade Deadline

Sacramento remains the only team in the NBA to have any cap space on its 2018/19 payroll, and as the February 7 trade deadline fast approaches, this means that the Kings are positioned to be a major player in the trade market, if they so choose, writes James Ham of NBC Sports California.

That being said, the Kings aren’t interested in taking on any long-term deals with their cap space unless a player on a long-term deal can help the team win now and in the future. Additionally, the team is reportedly not interested in taking on any expiring contracts to help another club save money unless assets are attached to said contract.

So, what do the Kings want? Per Ham, the Kings are motivated to add more length and size at the small forward position, while also interested in adding a veteran point guard to bring off the bench in a back-up/potential mentorship role for budding star De’Aaron Fox.

[RELATED: Kings Among Teams Interested in Jeremy Lin]

In addition to their $11MM in cap space, the Kings have the expiring contracts of Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos, and Ben McLemore to worth with. Swingman Iman Shumpert is also in the final year of his contract, but has provided a veteran spark to a young team still competing for a playoff spot. Then again, Shumpert is only 6’5″ and plays small forward. As mentioned above, the team is interested in adding length to that position, so Shumpert could also be expendable if an attractive enough deal comes along.

As for the Kings’ current assets, Sacramento has no interest in moving any of its young talent (e.g. Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Marvin Bagley, or Buddy Hield) unless it means the team is making a massive long-term investment in a star-level player. And even then, the aforementioned core group of youngsters is close to untouchable.

In Ham’s view, general manager Vlade Divac should look to be active, as Sacramento has worked hard to be a player in the trade market and is the only team with cap space to use. However, the Kings should also be wary of using that cap space to take on future money that could eat into future cap room. Ultimately, Ham would be surprised to see no moves made before the deadline.

Pacific Notes: Oubre, Shumpert, Lakers

After getting off to a very rough start, the Suns have started to turn things around, winning five of their past nine games. The recent success is mainly a result of strong play from their two franchise cornerstones Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, but Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype writes that Kelly Oubre‘s positive impact shouldn’t be overlooked.

As Kennedy points out, Oubre is averaging 14.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 threes and 1.0 blocks per game, while shooting 47.4 percent from three-point range since joining the Suns several weeks ago. Ayton and Booker have loved the energy and “swag” that Oubre has brought to the team and perhaps more importantly, Oubre fits with the team’s timeline as they continue on a rebuilding path.

The Suns are still evaluating what they have in some of their young players, but it’s safe to say that the team continues to show more promise as Booker and Ayton lead the way on a nightly basis.

There’s more from the Pacific division:

  • An afterthought when acquired back in February, Iman Shumpert has taken up a leadership role with the Kings this season as his play has improved. Jason Jones of The Athletic details the valuable presence that Shumpert has had for this young Kings team.
  • As a result of recent struggles in the face of LeBron James‘ injury, is it better for the Lakers to stay patient or make a win-now move? Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report tackles this challenging question.
  • Speaking of those struggles, Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register details the Lakers‘ inability to close out games with James not playing. A recent buzzer-beating loss to the Kings and fourth quarter unraveling against the Clippers highlighted the room for growth for the Lakers’ young core.

Dinwiddie Extension Good News For Rozier, Russell?

League executives at last week’s G League Showcase in Las Vegas were “raving” about the Nets‘ deal to lock up Spencer Dinwiddie to a three-year, $34.3MM extension, comparing it to the Clippers‘ three-year, $24MM agreement with Lou Williams, writes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider-only link).

According to Marks, two teams he spoke to in Vegas had Dinwiddie ranked as the third-best point guard in the 2019 free agent class before he signed his extension, placing him behind only Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. That would have put Dinwiddie ahead of younger players like Terry Rozier (Celtics) and D’Angelo Russell (Nets), both of whom are on track for restricted free agency.

Rozier and Russell should benefit from Dinwiddie’s deal, since it takes one of 2019’s top FA point guards off the board and could create additional competition for their services. According to Marks, league execs in Vegas last week identified the Magic and Suns as probable suitors for Rozier and Russell, though the Celtics and Nets will have the upper hand until an offer sheet is on the table.

Here’s more from Marks:

  • Teams are monitoring Markelle Fultz, not just to keep an eye on his health and future, but also to see how Fultz’s status will impact Sixers teammate T.J. McConnell, according to Marks. McConnell is headed for unrestricted free agency and is unlikely to get an in-season extension if Philadelphia intends to maximize its 2019 cap room. McConnell could command a salary in the $5-7MM range, Marks notes.
  • Teams around the NBA believe there could be a strong group of buyout candidates available later this season. According to Marks, the veteran players that clubs are keeping an eye on include Carmelo Anthony, Robin Lopez, Zach Randolph, Anthony Tolliver, Enes Kanter, Kenneth Faried, Jerryd Bayless, Iman Shumpert, Kosta Koufos, Alec Burks, J.R. Smith, and Jabari Parker. Some of those vets may be traded and some figure to remain with their current teams, but I could definitely see several of them ending up on the buyout market.

Charania’s Latest: Kings, Mavs, Simmons, Celtics

The Kings were identified earlier this month as a probable buyer on the trade market, but rival executives don’t sense any urgency to make major changes in Sacramento, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic. At 18-16 so far this season, the Kings are ahead of schedule in their rebuilding process and are essentially “playing with house money” at this point, Charania notes.

With a handful of veterans on expiring contracts and about $11MM in cap room available immediately, the Kings are in a good position to make a move if they so choose. However, it sounds unlikely that Iman Shumpert – one of those veterans on an expiring contract – will be going anywhere. De’Aaron Fox has credited Shumpert for bringing leadership and championship experience to Sacramento, writes Charania.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • The Mavericks want to improve their roster and are “open for business,” according to Charania, who reiterates that teams around the NBA are monitoring Dennis Smith Jr. We heard earlier this week that Dallas has gauged the market on Smith.
  • Rival teams believe Magic swingman Jonathon Simmons will be among the players available on the trade market this season, per Charania. A previous report indicated that Orlando would probably prefer to move Simmons instead of Terrence Ross.
  • Major in-season changes are unlikely in Boston, since trading a player like Terry Rozier or Jaylen Brown for a draft pick wouldn’t help the Celtics win now. As Charania details, the C’s may re-evaluate their roster closer to the deadline, but the club is unlikely to cash in any major assets until at least the 2019 offseason.
  • The Rockets have had discussions about Hawks wing Kent Bazemore, who is expected to draw interest from multiple contending teams, according to Charania.
  • Several teams have inquired with the Bulls about Justin Holiday, league sources tell Charania.
  • Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith is known to be on the trade block, but clubs with interest in Smith are monitoring the situation to see whether he’ll end up on the buyout market, Charania writes.
  • Charania wonders if the Grizzliesdecision to make Chandler Parsons a healthy inactive will eventually lead to a standoff between the player and the team.

Pacific Notes: LeBron, Durant, Suns, Shumpert

The Lakers will have the cap room to pursue a second star in free agency during the summer of 2019, but it remains to be seen whether any of next year’s truly elite free agents will jump at the chance to play with LeBron James, writes Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report. As Kevin Durant, 2019’s top free agent, tells Bucher, it’s probably easier for role players to fit alongside LeBron than it would be for another star.

“It depends on what kind of player you are,” Durant said. “If you’re Kyle Korver, then it makes sense. Because Kyle Korver in Atlanta was the bulk of the offense, and he’s not a No. 1 option at all, not even close. So his talents benefit more from a guy who can pass and penetrate and get him open.

“If you’re a younger player like a Kawhi [Leonard], trying to pair him with LeBron James doesn’t really make sense,” Durant continued. “Kawhi enjoys having the ball in his hands, controlling the offense, dictating the tempo with his post-ups; it’s how he plays the game. A lot of young players are developing that skill. They don’t need another guy.”

Veteran forward Trevor Ariza, who also spoke to Bucher, essentially expressed the same sentiment as Durant, noting that players who could benefit most from LeBron’s ball-dominant play-making would likely be more inclined to join the Lakers than a star who wants to be dominating the ball himself.

“If I was a free agent, I would have to consider everything,” Ariza said. “But my role is different than [Paul George] and Kawhi. They ask them to do different things than they ask of me. Guys similar to [LeBron], why would they want to play with somebody who does all the same things? I can see why they would want to play elsewhere.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • In other Lakers news, Joe Vardon of The Athletic outlines why LeBron is unlikely to start deferring to the team’s young, unproven players anytime soon, while head coach Luke Walton says he thinks the franchise is capable of winning a championship without acquiring a second star (Twitter link via Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times).
  • Within an in-depth look at the Suns‘ point guard options, Bob Young of The Athletic reports that the team nearly traded up in the 2018 draft using the extra first-round pick it owns from the Bucks, and would’ve selected Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in that scenario. However, owner Robert Sarver pushed instead for the deal that saw the Suns give up Miami’s 2021 first-rounder for Mikal Bridges, according to Young.
  • Iman Shumpert, who looked like an expendable veteran on an expiring contract coming into the season, has been a key part of the Kings‘ rotation and is having on positive impact on Sacramento’s young players, writes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Pacific Rumors: Ingram, Crawford, Shumpert, Rivers

Lakers forward Brandon Ingram felt he got off easy after receiving a four-game suspension for instigating a fight between his team and the Rockets on Saturday night, he told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and Dave McMenamin and other media members. Ingram received the longest suspension doled out by the league but he thought it could be worse. Teammate Rajon Rondo and Houston’s Chris Paul also received suspensions. “Well, it was better than we expected,” Ingram said. “I’m happy it’s only four but I know I got to control my emotions a little better.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Veteran guard Jamal Crawford took only two shots in his Suns debut Saturday and that was by design, he told Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Crawford joined Phoenix on a one-year contract just before the season opener. “Missing training camp, missing preseason, you don’t want to come in and be ultra-aggressive,” he said. “You have a new team, you have a new coach and learning a new system so you don’t want to come and try to step on anybody’s toes. I’m sure the scoring part will come, but for me, I’m just trying to make the right play.”
  • Iman Shumpert feels a sense of satisfaction being back in uniform this season, according to Noel Harris of the Sacramento Bee. He was dealt to Sacramento by the Cavaliers at February’s trade deadline but didn’t suit up due to plantar fasciitis. He was bothered by a calf injury in training camp but was able to return for a preseason game. He then scored a team-best 26 points in the Kings’ first regular-season win over the Thunder. “Being able to play that preseason game, that was a different type of happiness for me after sitting out a year,” Shumpert said. “I joke around about it a lot, but I’m serious as a heart attack when I say it: I don’t wish that on anybody, not being able to play.” Shumpert needs to continue to produce, as he’ll enter the free agent market after making $11MM this season.
  • Doc Rivers doesn’t think he’d still be coaching the Clippers if the former star trio of Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan had remained with the team, as he told Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times“I needed the change. I wouldn’t have done this with the same group. I wouldn’t be here probably,” Rivers said. “We just needed change. We needed it and we just had to do it. We had to come to the conclusion we weren’t going to win.”