Iman Shumpert

Charania’s Latest: Nuggets, Nowitzki, Harkless, Crawford

Before they reached an agreement to sign Troy Daniels this week, the Nuggets considered a handful of other veteran free agents, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who identifies Iman Shumpert and Joakim Noah as two players who were on Denver’s radar.

Although the Nuggets chose Daniels for now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t add another free agent, such as Shumpert or Noah, before the playoffs begin next month. Daniels filled the 14th spot on Denver’s roster, so the team still has one more opening on its 15-man squad.

Here are a few more items of interest from Charania:

  • The Mavericks have a standing job offer out to Dirk Nowitzki, but the longtime Dallas forward isn’t yet ready to take on a formal role with the franchise, says Charania. It’s not clear what sort of job the Mavs are offering Nowitzki — I imagine he’d have plenty of say in his role, depending on what interests him.
  • After not buying out Maurice Harkless by March 1, the Knicks are expected to show interest in re-signing him this summer, sources tell The Athletic. Some playoff teams are planning to pursue Harkless as well, Charania adds.
  • Despite not having played since last spring, Jamal Crawford remains committed to continuing his NBA career, according to Charania, who says the free agent guard – who turns 40 in two weeks – is in shape and ready to go if he gets an opportunity.
  • Earlier today, we passed along Charania’s reports on the Lakers monitoring the market for shooting help, Joel Embiid‘s target return date, and a few pre-deadline trades that ultimately failed to materialize.

Nets’ David Nwaba Suffers Torn Achilles

7:27pm: Nwaba underwent surgery Friday afternoon, according to a team press release.

7:45am: Nets swingman David Nwaba suffered a torn right Achilles tendon during Thursday’s loss in San Antonio, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), Nwaba will undergo surgery on Friday to repair the tear.

While neither Charania nor Haynes offers a timeline for Nwaba’s recovery, it seems safe to assume he’ll miss the rest of the 2019/20 season. There’s also no guarantee he’ll be ready to go by opening night next fall, given how long it usually takes players to recover from Achilles tears.

“I just wish him the speediest recovery,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said after the game, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “There’s no guy on the team who does things more perfectly in terms of preparing for a game, preparing for a season. You just feel ill when you think about it.

It’s a tough blow for Nwaba, who had recently established himself as a regular contributor for Brooklyn. In the club’s first 19 games, he only appeared in 11 and averaged just 10.8 minutes per contest. Since then though, he had appeared in all nine games and never played fewer than 14 minutes during that stretch.

While the 26-year-old had been averaging a career-low 5.2 PPG, his shooting percentages were very good (.521 FG%, .429 3PT%) and he provided the Nets with strong perimeter defense.

With Nwaba out, Lewis wonders if the Nets will turn back to Iman Shumpert, who was recently waived due to a roster crunch but would provide a similar skill set. To re-sign Shumpert, Brooklyn would likely have to trade or waive Nwaba or another player to open up a spot on the 15-man roster.

Nwaba’s contract includes a July 7, 2020 trigger date for his non-guaranteed $1.82MM salary for the 2020/21 season, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter). Even if the Nets waive him before that date, they’d be responsible for paying his ’20/21 salary until he’s fully healthy and able to return to the court.

The Nets are now eligible to apply for a disabled player exception (and have done so), but since Nwaba was on a minimum-salary deal, the value of such an exception would be limited to just $839K.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Atlantic Notes: Shumpert, Embiid, Smith Jr., Harris

Veteran guard Iman Shumpert became a victim of league rules when the Nets were forced to make a tough decision last week, waiving the 29-year-old after having him on the roster for less than a month.

Brooklyn was required to create an open roster spot with forward Wilson Chandler set to return from a 25-game suspension, leaving the team with the choice of waiving a player or working to find a suitable trade. Chandler was suspended at the start of the season for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy.

“I think we understand the circumstances,” coach Kenny Atkinson said of waiving Shumpert, as relayed by Mollie Walker of the New York Post. “Everybody understands the circumstances. I know this: That guy [Shumpert] belongs in the league. He proved that in the time he was with us. But circumstances just dictated with Wilson coming back. It’s just how it is.”

Shumpert provided a spark off the bench in 13 games, particularly on the defensive end, but he struggled in limited time offensively by averaging 4.2 points on 33% shooting from the floor and 24% from deep.

Following the news of his waiving, Shumpert took to social media and thanked the Nets for his brief opportunity with the franchise.

“The Brooklyn Nets are a first class organization from top to bottom,” he wrote. “It was great to be with you guys even for the short stay! I’m around.”

For teams seeking a veteran defender at the wing position, Shumpert remains available on the free-agent market. He holds several years of experience and was part of the 2015/16 Cavaliers team that won an NBA championship, making other stops with New York, Sacramento and Houston in his career.

Here are some other notes from the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • Sixers center Joel Embiid hears the outside criticism and knows how to deal with it, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe writes. Embiid was challenged by the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley to provide more of a consistent effort going forward, responding by tallying 38 points, 13 rebounds and six assists against the Celtics on Thursday.
  • Interim Knicks coach Mike Miller opted not to use Dennis Smith Jr. in the team’s game against Sacramento on Friday, giving the young guard a DNP-CD, Marc Berman details for the New York Post. Miller utilized guards Frank Ntilikina and Elfrid Payton, pulling away with a 103-101 victory despite Ntilikina’s struggles.
  • Sixers forward Tobias Harris is making a strong case for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Harris has averaged 19.8 points and seven rebounds in 27 games this season, shooting 49% from the floor. He has yet to make an All-Star team during his nine-year career.

Nets Waive Iman Shumpert

3:13pm: The Nets have officially waived Shumpert, the team announced this afternoon in a press release.

10:54am: The Nets will waive veteran swingman Iman Shumpert, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Brooklyn is currently carrying 16 players, but will have to get back down to 15 after this Saturday’s game in Toronto, when Wilson Chandler‘s 25-game suspension ends and he becomes eligible to be reinstated. The Nets, who have posted a 9-4 record since Shumpert entered the lineup, will “reluctantly” release the recently-signed 29-year-old due to their roster crunch, per Charania.

Having signed with the Nets on November 13, Shumpert quickly entered the club’s rotation, averaging 4.2 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 13 games (18.5 MPG). He didn’t shoot well during his time in Brooklyn (.328/.242/.571), but he provided head coach Kenny Atkinson with another reliable perimeter defender.

Once he’s officially placed on waivers, Shumpert will be eligible to be claimed by any of the NBA’s other teams, since he’s on a minimum-salary contract. Assuming he clears waivers, he’ll once again become an unrestricted free agent and the Nets will be on the hook for the prorated portion of his non-guaranteed salary (about $419K if he’s cut today, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks).

Chandler, David Nwaba, Rodions Kurucs, and Theo Pinson were among the other players the Nets could have considered parting with if they’d wanted to retain Shumpert, but they’ll all hang onto their roster spots for now.

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Silver, Knicks, Brown, Shumpert

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson is hopeful that Kyrie Irving could return to practice within the next week or so, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Irving has missed the past 12 games due to a shoulder impingement.

Over the course of those games, Brooklyn has accrued a 9-3 record, including a 105-102 home victory against the Nuggets on Sunday.

“I think the plan is to continue to ramp up his individual on-court work, and I think from there it’s starting to integrate him in the next week or two into team practices,” Atkinson said, as relayed by Lewis. “Like I always say, that could be a planned practice or us making one up if the game schedule so dictates.”

The Nets have struggled through clear growing pains with Irving this season, owning a 4-7 record when he’s active. Brooklyn is expected to sport a formidable roster when fully healthy, pushing a core that includes Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, DeAndre Jordan and others, which will only improve with Kevin Durant‘s return next season.

Brooklyn has upcoming games scheduled against Charlotte on Wednesday, Toronto on Saturday and Philadelphia on Sunday. Through a small sample size of 11 games this season, Irving has averaged 28.5 points and 7.2 assists per contest — both of which would be career-high marks if they hold.

Here’s more from around the division:

  • NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has no plans of getting involved in the Knicks‘ ongoing internal chaos, a process that’s been stretched over several years, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “I wouldn’t. It’s not my role,” Silver said. “Of course, I work for 30 teams. And the 29 other teams want to beat that team. That’s not to say me getting involved (would be good) and that I’m in any better position to know what to do. We set the rules. And then we try to have a level playing field for the teams to compete.”
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston examines how Jaylen Brown has won over Celtics fans in the early stages of the season. Brown has put forth his best campaign to date, holding per-game averages of 20.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals while helping the Celtics obtain a 16-5 record. “When [Brown] has it going, he definitely gives us a lot more options,” teammate Kemba Walker said. “He’s been playing well all year. I’m excited for him. He’s put in a lot of work each and every day, and it’s showing on the court.”
  • Iman Shumpert‘s impressive play is leaving the Nets with a difficult roster decision to make, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Brooklyn has to waive or trade a player by next Sunday to clear a roster spot, with Wilson Chandler‘s 25-game suspension set to expire that day. “He’s been a sparkplug,” coach Kenny Atkinson said of Shumpert. “He’s really what we ask for: We ask for a perimeter defender, a guy that can really guard multiple positions. And then he’s got a great spirit in the locker room.”

Atlantic Notes: Fizdale, Powell, Nwaba, Temple

A member of the Knicks organization expects management to fire coach David Fizdale soon, Ian Begley of SNY-TV reports. Though that source doesn’t have decision-making authority on those matters, it shows the uneasiness within the organization at the moment, Begley adds. The Knicks have the Eastern Conference’s worst record and have dropped seven straight despite adding several veteran free agents over the summer.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Swingman Norman Powell has returned to the bench with Kyle Lowry back in the lineup but he’ll be an important part of the Raptors’ second unit, Josh Lewenberg of TSN reports. Powell scored 23 points against the Heat on Tuesday. Coach Nick Nurse told Powell, “‘Your role is an off the bench guy for this team, so let’s go kick some butt in this role and start getting used to it.’ And I was proud of him for doing that last night. He was huge.” Powell’s contract runs through 2021/22, with an $11.6MM player option on the final year.
  • Guard David Nwaba doesn’t have a guaranteed spot on the Nets‘ roster but coach Kenny Atkinson said he’s earned more playing time, Zach Brazilier of the New York Post relays. The team will have to make a roster move on December 15 when Wilson Chandler’s 25-game suspension ends and it could come down to Nwaba and Iman Shumpert, who was signed last month. “I’m not worried about that,” said Nwaba, whose salary for 2020/21 is not guaranteed. “I just play my game and worry about contributing.”
  • With Kyrie Irving sidelined by a shoulder injury, Garrett Temple has made a big contribution, Howard Kussoy of the New York Post writes. Temple averaged 12.1 PPG and 2.8 APG during the first eight games Irving missed. Temple’s two-year, $9.8MM contract with the Nets includes a $5MM team option next season. “We all collectively wanted him. Everybody checked a yes box when we were in our recruiting phase, here’s a guy that would fit in well,” Atkinson said. “I’m a little surprised how he’s stepped it up to another level. … I’m really surprised but content.”

Nets Notes: Irving, Temple, Shumpert, Allen

Kyrie Irving is developing into the team leader in Brooklyn that the Celtics hoped he would be last year, according to Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report. Irving frequently strategizes with Nets coach Kenny Atkinson during games and has taken a proactive approach in helping his teammates improve. Although he has missed the last eight games with a shoulder impingement, Irving has made a difference on the court as well. He’s averaging a career best 28.5 points and 7.2 assists per game and is leading all NBA players in “clutch” points.

Veteran Garrett Temple knew Irving was special, which is why he chose to sign with Brooklyn when he had numerous other offers. Sources tell Scotto that the Nuggets, Wizards, Cavaliers and Pelicans all expressed interest in Temple.

“Any time you go to a different team, and you don’t get traded there and choose to go to a different team when you’re a star, you have a chance to not right wrongs but become the person that you want to be,” Temple said. “It’s kind of a clean slate. The league is kind of a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately type of league anyway. Kyrie comes here, and if he’s the person I’ve seen the last four weeks, then all of those pundits are going to change their tune because he’s been here since Labor Day, we’ve been working out, and he’s been a great leader. He hasn’t tried to show up any young guys. He’s been a hard worker doing his thing, and when you win, it cures a lot of ills too. He said he failed as a leader. He’s going to try to change that, and he recognizes that.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Atkinson said Irving has been able to begin “on-court work,” tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Although Irving has already been ruled out of Sunday’s game, Atkinson calls it a positive step toward his eventual return.
  • Brooklyn will face a difficult roster decision when Wilson Chandler returns on December 15, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Nets signed Iman Shumpert when they were permitted to temporarily add a 16th player after Chandler served the first five games of his 25-game ban. Shumpert has played well, which means Brooklyn may decide to unload someone else to make room for Chandler.
  • Jarrett Allen has improved nearly every part of his game in his third NBA season, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Allen is averaging a double-double in points and rebounds and leading the league in field goal percentage, but free throws remain a problem. Lewis suggests that Allen can learn from free agent addition DeAndre Jordan, who has steadily improved after starting his career as a poor shooter from the line.

New York Notes: Ntilikina, Mills, Shumpert, Claxton

A starter in seven straight games, Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina is finally trending in the right direction, writes Ian Begley of SNY.tv, largely because of his newfound mental approach to the game that began last season and continued this summer.

“I think the work I put in all summer and even last season while I was injured, allows me to be more comfortable and everything else in life be more comfortable here in this country, this situation as an NBA player, said Ntilikina. “And everything is set now, so my mind is all the way into basketball and do what it takes to get to the next level.

There’s more from the Big Apple this afternoon:

  • Lesser-used players like Theo Pinson and Dzanan Musa rewarded Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson with his trust in them during the team’s recent win over Chicago, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “That’s what we’re about,” Atkinson said. “We’ve got to trust these guys. They put in the work, they’ve been in our program a while so they understand what we’re doing. We can’t burn out our other guys, our top eight. We can’t play them 45 minutes. So, those guys’ contributions were huge.”
  • Stefan Bondy of the Daily News opines that allowing president Steve Mills to choose the Knicks’ next head coach (should David Fizdale be fired) is a silly proposition, as Mills has already failed time and time again to find the right candidate to lead the team moving forward.
  • Atkinson says the Nets are looking for new addition, veteran swingman Iman Shumpert, to fill a need with his perimeter defense, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “He fits a need right now. Perimeter defense, that’s always been his calling card. I … know him well, know the personality. He gets after it defensively. That will be his role for us.”
  • According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, at least one former Knicks player did not like how MSG fans booed his former teammate, Mavs’ forward Kristaps Porzingis. “I think everybody can think what they want but I feel bad for KP,” said Hornets’ big man Willy Hernangomez. “He’s my brother. We spent too many nights in this amazing arena. I understand what people [do]. The people always treated me good when I was here and appreciated. But I was sad when I saw that.”
  • SB Nation’s Nets Daily takes a look at how Nets rookie power forward Nicolas Claxton is set to earn additional minutes at the NBA level as a result of the recent poor play of teammate Rodions Kurucs. “We’ve got to get our best talent on the floor,” Atkinson said Friday. “I think (Claxton’s) a talented guy. We need to find a way to play him.”

Atlantic Notes: VanVleet, Shumpert, DSJ, Knicks

Fred VanVleet became a household name among NBA fans during the Raptors‘ championship run last spring, and particularly during Game 6 of the Finals, when he knocked down five three-pointers. That success has now carried over to the 2019/20 season. As Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes, VanVleet is proving to the Raptors and to the rest of the league that he’s capable of being a starting point guard.

VanVleet has started all 11 of the Raptors’ games so far, first alongside Kyle Lowry and now in Lowry’s place at point guard as the veteran recovers from a thumb injury. VanVleet has made 40.6% of his three-pointers in those 11 games, and his 17.1 PPG, 7.6 APG, and league-leading 38.5 MPG would all easily be career bests.

With 2020’s free agent class expected to be quite weak, VanVleet – who is in the final season of a two-year, $18MM deal – projects to be one of the top point guards available. He won’t be eligible for an extension before reaching the open market, so the Raptors will almost certainly have to ward off rival suitors next summer if they intend to lock up VanVleet beyond this season.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • After the Nets signed Iman Shumpert to a contract on Wednesday, Chris Milholen of NetsDaily explores what the veteran swingman is capable of bringing to Brooklyn and why he’s a “safe” addition for the club.
  • The Knicks considered sending Dennis Smith Jr. to their G League affiliate in Westchester for some low-pressure minutes after he spent two weeks away from New York, but ultimately opted not to do so, per head coach David Fizdale. “We thought about it, but we just felt like it wasn’t an injury that took him out,” Fizdale said Wednesday, per Greg Joyce of The New York Post. “It was more from a conditioning standpoint. So what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna play him, try to play him in smaller doses to get him back in shape.”
  • How did the Knicks end up in their current dilemma, with Fizdale on the hot seat and top front office executives facing similar pressure? ESPN’s Brian Windhorst revisits the franchise’s last year and a half, starting with Fizdale’s introductory press conference back in May 2018, providing a blow-by-blow account of the turning points during that time.

Nets Sign Iman Shumpert

3:50pm: The Nets have officially signed Shumpert, the team announced today in a press release. His minimum-salary contract will pay him about $13.1K per day as long as he remains on the roster.

2:24pm: The Nets are bringing in free agent swingman Iman Shumpert, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com tweets. No corresponding roster move will be necessary, as Brooklyn has the ability to carry a 16th man until Wilson Chandler returns from suspension.

The news of Shumpert signing coincides with Stadium’s Shams Charania reporting that Caris LeVert is expected to miss several weeks because of feared ligament damage in his thumb. LeVert, who recently signed a three-year, $52MM extension, has missed 79 games because of injury since coming into the league.

Shumpert’s deal will give him the opportunity to once again be teammates with Kyrie Irving after the two vets won a title in Cleveland together. As NetsDaily relays, Irving lobbied for the team to sign Shumpert over the summer.

As we explained earlier this month, players serving longer-term suspensions can be moved to the suspended list after five games, at which point a team is eligible to add an extra player to its roster. Chandler will be eligible to return from his 25-game ban on December 15, so Brooklyn will have to make a roster move at that time, releasing Shumpert or trading or waiving of its other players to get back down to 15 players on standard contracts.