Iman Shumpert

Latest On Kyrie Irving

The Suns were “very” close to acquiring Kyrie Irving on draft day, reports John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (via Twitter). Irving’s trade request reportedly didn’t happen until early July, but it appears the Cavaliers were having discussions about their star point guard as they explored ways to upgrade their roster in June, before he formally asked to be moved.

According to Gambadoro (Twitter links), the Suns still have the pieces to land Irving, but any deal would require the team to part with Eric Bledsoe, Josh Jackson, and more. Gambadoro isn’t sure exactly what else the Cavs would ask for in addition to Bledsoe and Jackson, but the price may be too steep for Phoenix.

Here’s more on Irving:

  • According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst on The Lowe Post podcast, the Pacers offered Paul George for Kyrie Irving around the time of the draft (hat tip to Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk). Cleveland likely wouldn’t have accepted George straight up for Irving even after he made his trade request, given George’s expiring contract, but if they’d known Kyrie wanted out at that time, it could have made those discussions with Indiana much more interesting.
  • The Cavaliers have heard from virtually every team in the league in some capacity, though some are more interested in Irving than others, a source tells Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. According to Kyler, the situation is unlikely to get resolved quickly.
  • Kyler also suggests that Cleveland would like to reduce its projected tax bill in an Irving deal, with one source predicting that any team acquiring Irving will have to take on at least Iman Shumpert‘s contract.
  • Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com suggests that LeBron James is “eager to see [Irving] off,” but the four-time MVP denied that report in a tweet, suggesting that it needs “another source.”
  • Appearing on The Rich Eisen Show on Monday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver suggested that the Irving drama in Cleveland is “not necessarily the kind of drama that the league wants.” Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com has the details and the quotes from Silver, who called the situation “upsetting.”
  • Here are several of Monday’s Irving-related notes and updates.

Central Rumors: Shumpert, Korver, Bulls, Forman

While trade talks between the Cavaliers and Rockets involving Iman Shumpert appear to have lost momentum, Cleveland continues to try to find a landing spot for the swingman, indicating that there are other possible trade partners, per Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. According to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net, the Raptors, Timberwolves, Lakers, and Kings have expressed some level of interest in Shumpert, though it’s not clear how many of those clubs remain in pursuit.

As we wait to see if the Cavs can find a taker for Shumpert, let’s round up a few more Central notes and rumors…

  • The Cavaliers have made a contract offer to Kyle Korver, according to Vardon. The terms of that offer aren’t known.
  • After a Saturday report indicated that the Bulls have conveyed interest in Justin Holiday, Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link) hears from a source that Chicago is one of the teams that has made Holiday a contract offer. The Knicks haven’t formally put an offer on the table for Holiday, but the situation is fluid, says Berman.
  • The Bulls may end up re-shuffling their front office this offseason, a source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. According to Cowley, GM Gar Forman could be the odd man out if the team restructures its management hierarchy, while John Paxson‘s brother Jim Paxson – the Bulls’ director of basketball operations – may take on more responsibilities.

Iman Shumpert Talks Between Rockets, Cavs Stalled

JULY 2, 8:40am: Shumpert talks between the Cavs and Rockets have “significantly stalled” for now, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. Having reached an agreement with P.J. Tucker on Saturday night, Houston now has less of a need for a defensive-minded wing, reducing Cleveland’s leverage.

JULY 1, 3:40pm: The Rockets and Cavaliers are discussing a trade that would send Iman Shumpert to Houston, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN (via Twitter), the proposed deal would net the Cavs a draft pick and a trade exception. Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link) classifies the trade talks as “serious.”

Shumpert has been mentioned for weeks as a trade candidate for Cleveland, particularly with the team trying to reduce its potential repeater tax penalties. Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net reports (via Twitter) that the Cavs have spent much of the day discussing Shumpert deals with various teams.

Houston currently doesn’t have the cap room necessary to absorb Shumpert’s $10,337,079 salary, but the team stockpiled non-guaranteed contracts last week that could be used for salary-matching purposes.

A package of Tim Quarterman, Ryan Kelly, Isaiah Taylor, Shawn Long, and Chinanu Onuaku would theoretically be enough to acquire Shumpert from a cap perspective. Of those players, only Onuaku has a guaranteed salary for 2017/18, so the Cavs could waive the rest and clear approximately $9MM from their cap while creating a sizable trade exception.

According to Wojnarowski, one sticking point in Cleveland’s trade discussions involving Shumpert is his 2018/19 player option — the veteran has thus far been unwilling to waive that option.

Shumpert, 27, averaged 7.5 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 76 games (31 starts) for the Cavs last season, shooting 36.0% on three-point attempts.

Central Notes: Shumpert, KCP, Holiday

The reported agreement between the Pistons and Langston Galloway has some speculating that the team may be willing to let Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leave as a restricted free agent, though, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press notes that the signing won’t necessarily affect Detroit’s dealings with the shooting guard (Twitter links). The Pistons will likely make additional roster moves in order to retain Caldwell-Pope, Ellis opines. By using more than $5.192MM of their mid-level exception to ink Galloway, the Pistons will have a hard cap of $125.266MM for the 2017/18 league year, which could create problems if another team gives Caldwell-Pope a maximum salary offer sheet.

With free agency well underway, here’s more of the latest news and rumors from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers are reportedly seeking to move Iman Shumpert via trade and several teams have had discussions with Cleveland regarding the shooting guard, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype relays (via Twitter). The team reportedly wants to clear Shumpert’s salary of $10,337,079 off its books for the coming season.
  • The Bulls have expressed interest in signing unrestricted free agent Justin Holiday, Kennedy relays in a separate tweet. The Knicks, Mavs and Wolves are also among those interested in the swingman’s services.
  • The Bulls primary focus for this offseason and beyond is to land a top four pick in next June’s NBA Draft in order to have a shot at selecting Michael Porter Jr., Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun Times relays. “We’re not going to be throwing huge money at people right out of the gate,’’ VP of basketball operations John Paxson told reporters earlier this week. “We have to be disciplined and patient. You need the right veterans, guys who are good teammates and supportive of the young guys and can teach them how to be pros. If there was a young player who we thought fit our future, we would certainly look at that.’’

Cavs Rumors: Trade Talks, Shumpert, Frye, Billups

Although an ESPN report classified pre-draft trade talks between the Cavaliers, Nuggets, and Pacers regarding Paul George and Kevin Love as “serious,” Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com spoke to a source who downplayed the rumor, suggesting a deal was never close and is unlikely to happen now.

Vardon suggests that the Pacers “obviously weren’t interested” in their end of the potential trade, which is corroborated by Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net. According to Amico, the Cavaliers and Nuggets both wanted to get something done, but the Pacers were hesitant. Amico notes that the exact details of the proposed offer aren’t known, but Indiana likely would’ve received one player from Cleveland and at least two from Denver, including Kenneth Faried.

Here’s more from out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavs are having trouble finding teams willing to take on the contracts of Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye, according to Amico, who says Cleveland would like to move both players before training camp. One GM of a lottery team tells Amico that his club may be willing to trade for Frye later, but only after waiting to see how his roster takes shape in free agency. Amico adds that Shumpert may have been discussed in talks with the Pacers.
  • The Cavaliers have discussed a possible three-way trade with the Knicks, but Carmelo Anthony‘s stand-off with Phil Jackson appears to be complicating New York’s chances of getting anything major done, says Amico.
  • In a piece for Basketball Insiders, James Blancarte wonders if Love is being undervalued by NBA fans and observers. If that’s the case, NBA execs may be guilty of it too — Amico writes that teams have thus far been unwilling to offer a ton for Love since it’s widely known the Cavs are looking to move him.
  • The Cavs still have no resolution on their front office situation. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported on Sunday evening (via Twitter) that talks between the team and Chauncey Billups were ongoing, with no immediate resolution anticipated. Nearly two full days later, there have been no real updates. Cleveland reportedly offered Billups a five-year deal to become the team’s new president of basketball operations.

Trade Rumors: Butler, Rubio, Cavaliers

Jimmy Butler continues to be very much in demand, according to a post from Ian Begley on ESPN Now. Executives from other teams believe the Timberwolves are offering the seventh pick in tonight’s draft as part of a package to get the Bulls to re-open trade talks. Minnesota coach/executive Tom Thibodeau coached Butler in Chicago and is eager for a reunion. The Cavaliers made an unsuccessful offer for Butler, and sources relayed to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that Butler’s preference is to stay with the Bulls. The Timberwolves are also talking to the Pacers about Paul George, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets.

There are more trade rumors as the draft draws nearer:

  • The Wolves are once again trying to find takers for Ricky Rubio, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Earlier reports identified the Mavericks and Knicks as teams that might have interest in the sixth-year point guard, who still has two seasons and more than $29MM left on his contract.
  • The Cavaliers are in a “holding pattern” as they await progress on several proposed trades, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops (Twitter link). Cleveland’s problem is a shortage of tradable assets and what insiders are describing as a “flooded market” (Twitter link).
  • Cleveland is finding that no one wants to take on the hefty contracts of Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith or Tristan Thompson, Amico adds (Twitter link). Shumpert has two years left on his deal at a combined $21.3MM. Smith re-signed last summer and is owed more than $44MM over the next three seasons. Thompson has three years remaining at more than $52.4MM.

Cavs Exploring Trade Market For Shumpert, Frye

In an effort to upgrade their roster, the Cavaliers have been exploring the trade market for Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye, sources tell Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net.

It’s no surprise that the Cavs are looking into possible deals involving Shumpert and Frye, though I wouldn’t expect the team to find much of value on the trade market. Shumpert will earn $10.34MM in 2017/18, while Frye will make $7.42MM, and neither veteran plays a huge role in Cleveland — teams interested in adding role players could probably find similar players for comparable prices – or less – on the free agent market.

While Shumpert and Frye may not bring a huge return to Cleveland, they do make some sense as trade chips, since both players could be on expiring deals next season. Frye will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2018, while Shumpert has a player option for 2018/19. That might make them more viable trade candidates than someone like J.R. Smith, who has multiple guaranteed years left on his contract. Ultimately though, the Cavs aren’t likely to land a true impact player on the trade market unless they’re willing to discuss Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love.

As the Cavs explore potential deals, general manager David Griffin continues to field calls and make decisions for the franchise, despite the fact that his contract will expire at the end of the month, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. It has been a week since Cleveland was eliminated from the postseason, and there was an expectation that there might be some resolution on Griffin’s situation by now, but with no new agreement in place, the situation is starting to “cause some unrest” in the Cavs’ front office, per McMenamin.

One source who spoke to McMenamin describes it as “insanity,” while a source tells Amico it’s “going to be a hairy few days” in Cleveland as Griffin continues to focus on the Cavs’ future while his own future remains up in the air.

Shumpert, Smith: Carmelo Wants To Stay In New York

Trading Carmelo Anthony out of New York may not be as easy as team president Phil Jackson is hoping, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, two of Anthony’s friends and former teammates, believe he wants to remain with the Knicks and will use his no-trade clause to veto any deal.

“Sometimes you feel like it’s just unfinished business, and I feel like that’s what it is with Melo,” Shumpert said, referring to the Knicks’ 31-51 season. “He don’t want to leave on that note.”

Smith noted how hard Anthony worked to get to New York, forcing the Nuggets’ hands in a 2011 deal so he could be part of the league’s biggest market.

“He does want to stay in New York. He made the effort to get to New York,” Smith said. “Granted, it hasn’t gone as well as he hoped it would. But I’m sure that’s where he wants to be.”

Anthony will make more than $26.2MM next season and has an early termination option for his nearly $28MM salary in 2018/19. Jackson would like to get those figures off the Knicks’ salary cap, and contacted the Clippers, Cavaliers and Celtics before February’s deadline in an attempt to work out a trade.

Any team that does deal for Anthony would have to absorb his 15% trade kicker, which would bring his total cap hit to about $30MM.Anthony hasn’t made any public appearances since the season ended, Bondy notes, apart from a single workout session. He has also stopped posting on social media since mid-April.

While Anthony has chosen silence, Jackson has remained persistent about his desire to find a taker for his star. He began with a postseason press conference in which he stated that Anthony would be “better off somewhere else,” then repeated those sentiments to the media at the draft combine.

“I don’t think [Jackson] should’ve been so vocal about [wanting to trade Anthony],” Shumpert said. “That’s just me. I think a lot of stuff is better if everybody just assumes what’s going on and they don’t really know what’s going on. I didn’t like that it was publicized, but what am I going to do? He said some stuff about me too.

“I know it’s not going to bother Melo’s jumpshot next season. Melo is going to continue to work and get better, and continue to try to win. That’s all he can do.”

Central Notes: Pistons, Baynes, Shumpert

At the end of the Pistons‘ season last month, president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy vowed that changes were coming for the team, but there’s not necessarily an obvious path for the team to make personnel changes, contends Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

In Langlois’ view, it’s obvious that the Pistons need to add some scoring punch, perhaps in the form of three-point shooting. However, the team’s top three-point shooter – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – will be a restricted free agent, and re-signing him will likely limit Detroit’s ability to add another impact scorer, since most of the team’s other rotation players are under contract.

One Pistons regular not under contract for next season is Aron Baynes, and his player option decision will play a part in how the club approaches the offseason. According to Vince Ellis of The Detroit News (Twitter link), Baynes’ agent said today that his client figures to mull his decision on that option right up until the June 20 deadline.

Here’s more on the Pistons and a couple of their Central rivals:

  • In a separate piece for Pistons.com, Langlois details the recent history of “mystery men” in the first round of the NBA draft, and wonders if the Pistons might be the team to roll the dice on a relative unknown this June.
  • The trial date for Cavaliers swingman Iman Shumpert is set for June 26, meaning it won’t happen until after the season is over, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Shumpert is facing charges of driving while under the influence of marijuana, and would face a penalty from the NBA if it’s not his first offense.
  • Gretchen Ehlke of The Associated Press (link via The Journal-Sentinel) provides an update on the Bucks‘ new arena, which is currently under construction and remains on track to open for the team’s 2018/19 season.
  • On Tuesday night, we passed along word that Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue reached out to Kevin Garnett during the regular season about the possibility of an NBA comeback.

Central Notes: Felder, James, Pistons, Williams

Kay Felder made an impact in his most recent D-League assignment; scoring 26 points in a match-up with the Maine Red Claws. The 5’9″ Felder raised eyebrows, however, with his decision to dunk at the conclusion of a 110-99 win, when the away team had already conceded the loss. NBA vet Jordan Mickey didn’t appreciate the gesture:

“I take pride in being a professional and not doing anything like that at the end of a game,” Mickey told Glenn Jordan of Amico Hoops. “No NBA team I know of would do that. I know the Celtics wouldn’t do it for sure and I doubt the Cavaliers would do something like that. Guys know better than to do stuff like that. It is what it is, I’ll keep that in the back of my mind if we happen to play these guys again.”

Still riding high from his 26-point showing, Felder praised the Cavs for giving him an opportunity to receive minutes with the Canton Charge.

“I think the Cavs are doing a great job of bringing me down, calling me up, letting me see what Kyrie (Irving) or LeBron (James) is doing and bringing it down here and helping these guys out as well,” Felder said. “It’s not just for me. I can also help these guys as well with what I see up there.”

More from around the Central…

  • Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon-Journal was critical of the Cavs‘ defensive effort in a loss to Denver on Wednesday. Ridenour understands that the 32-year-old James needs to conserve energy as the postseason approaches, but pointed out a second quarter sequence in which James stayed downcourt to protest a no-call. LeBron finished the game with a -30 rating, his second-worst plus-minus of the season.
  • The Pistons‘ late-season swoon has resulted from “a complicated mosaic of factors,” Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes. Specifically, Beard points out poor defense, inconsistencies at point guard, a lack of leadership, and slow starts to must-win games. [Stan] Van Gundy does much of the talking but the leadership mantle needs to come from the locker room,” Beard writes. “After Wednesday’s loss, the players were saying all the right things about playing better in the last 10 games, but the next step is turning that talk into action — and more importantly, victories.”
  • Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com addressed Derrick Williams‘ recent lack of playing time in his latest mailbag. Despite a stellar plus-minus when Williams and James are each on the court, Tyronn Lue has gone with J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver over Williams in the second unit. Vardon points out that if Williams is getting minutes in the postseason, either Iman Shumpert or Richard Jefferson would have to be benched; that’s a move he doesn’t see Lue pulling off.
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