Iman Shumpert

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.

Knicks Notes: Jennings, Griffin, Hornacek, Porzingis

Brandon Jennings is still taking shots at the Knicks, even though he’s now in a Wizards uniform, relays Keely Diven of CSNMidAtlantic. After his first game for Washington on Friday, Jennings told reporters the change has been beneficial. “I’m in the same position I was in New York,” he said, “but just in a better system for me personally and with a team that actually plays together.” Jennings was never shy about criticizing the Knicks while he played there, perhaps surprised to see the inner turmoil in the organization after signing a one-year deal worth more than $4.8MM last summer. Jennings agreed to a buyout with New York and signed with the Wizards on Wednesday. He will be an unrestricted free agent again in July.

There’s more out of New York:

  • Cavaliers GM David Griffin said the team agreed to take J.R. Smith from the Knicks in a 2015 trade involving Iman Shumpert so it wouldn’t have to surrender a first-round pick, tweets Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. Griffin recounted the deal Saturday at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Smith and Shumpert both became contributors during the Cavs’ two trips to the NBA Finals, while the Knicks received Lance Thomas, Lou Amundson, Alex Kirk and a 2019 second-rounder.
  • Coach Jeff Hornacek says defensive lapses, not the triangle offense, are behind the Knicks’ difficulties in closing out games, according to Al Iannazzone of Newsday. Several players have been pointing fingers at the triangle, with Carmelo Anthony saying after Friday’s loss to the Sixers that other teams adjust during the games, but the Knicks don’t. “When we get down, especially in fourth quarters, we want to run something that’s part of a system,” Hornacek said. “The triangle aspects is one of the systems that you can run that hopefully they can’t double, hopefully they can’t switch. It at least gets you organized in a set.”
  • Phil Jackson’s attempts to trade Anthony and Derrick Rose before the deadline are evidence that the Knicks will eventually revolve around Kristaps Porzingis, Iannazzone writes in a separate story. He suggests that Porzingis should be made the focus of the offense now, even if it means fewer touches for Anthony.

Trade Rumors: C. Lee, Clippers, Pacers, Jazz, Kings

Earlier today, we heard that the Clippers recently showed interest in Courtney Lee, and according to Ian Begley and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, the Clips and Knicks continue to talk. New York has been seeking draft picks in discussions on Lee and other players, and the Clippers don’t have any immediate first-rounders to offer, as Begley notes. So if the Knicks want to send Lee to Los Angeles, they may have to settle for a player or get a third team involved.

Here are more of the latest trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Pacers have been talking to teams about possible trades that would allow them to clear roster spots, tweets ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. As Windhorst notes, teams suspect that might be related to their talks with the Celtics regarding Paul George. Of course, Indiana may also just be doing due diligence as well in case Boston ups its offer — the Pacers wouldn’t want to be stuck having to waive useful players to make a deal work.
  • The Jazz don’t appear likely at this point to make a deal, says Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (via Twitter). TNT’s David Aldridge notes (via Twitter) that Utah could still make a move for Deron Williams, but if Williams isn’t dealt, the veteran point guard won’t ask for a buyout from the Mavericks.
  • The Kings continue to mull their options, but don’t appear to be moving forward with talks for players like Darren Collison and Arron Afflalo for now, according to Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post (Twitter link), who adds that Sacramento’s asking prices may be too high. If those prices come down, things could change.
  • The Wizards continue to work the phones, but aren’t overly optimistic about getting another deal done by the deadline, tweets Bontemps.
  • The market for Iman Shumpert appears to be cooling as the deadline approaches, per Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net (Twitter link). Amico says that teams are asking for a draft pick from the Cavaliers, and Cleveland doesn’t have many picks left.

Cavaliers Notes: Shumpert, Mack, Sanders

Iman Shumpert has been the subject of trade rumors with the Wolves and Rockets among the teams showing interest, but coach Tyronn Lue believes the Cavaliers will keep him on the team, as Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com relays. “You wish you could trade and get all the people you say you can get, but it never happens. … If you hear about 200 trades, there’s probably two that happens,” Lue said.

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

  • Back-up point guard isn’t as much of a need for the Cavs as it was earlier in the season, Vardon writes in the same piece. “In the playoffs you can always get away with playing [LeBron James] at the backup point guard,” Lue said. “The backup point guard situation was more so to not play Bron and [Kyrie Irving] so many minutes throughout the regular season, but, I mean we just gotta go with what we got.”
  • The Cavs recently engaged in trade talks with the Jazz regarding a swap of Shelvin Mack and Jordan McRae, Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). Haynes adds that the discussions have stalled out.
  • Lue said he was impressed with Larry Sanders, who worked out for the Cavs today, as Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets. Lue added that the biggest question with the big man is whether he loves the game or not.

Trade Rumors: Shumpert, Rockets, Wizards, Hawks

Although the Cavaliers have shown a willingness this season to move Iman Shumpert, the team has become a little more wary of a deal lately with J.R. Smith sidelined, per Marc Stein and Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com. The Rockets are interested in Shumpert, but don’t want to give up Patrick Beverley in a deal, as we heard this afternoon.

Despite Houston’s interest in Shumpert, a league source tells Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com that the Cavs don’t like what the Rockets are offering. According to Stein and Watkins, K.J. McDaniels is believed to be a part of Houston’s offer, though it’s not clear what other pieces the Rockets would put on the table.

While we wait to see if the Rockets and Cavs can move closer to a deal within the next 24 hours, let’s check in on a few more trade rumors and notes…

  • The Wizards aren’t just looking for a scorer, according to J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com, who says (via Twitter) that the team is seeking another defender as well. Washington has been linked to P.J. Tucker, so the report makes sense. Michael adds (via Twitter) that it will be difficult to get someone one player capable of meeting both criteria, but the club appears willing to acquire a rental if it’s the right player.
  • In an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (video link), Hawks GM Wes Wilcox strongly reiterated that Paul Millsap isn’t going anywhere at the trade deadline, and will be the team’s top priority in free agency this summer. Wilcox also confirmed that Atlanta is approaching the deadline as a buyer.
  • Asked today about the Pistons‘ trade possibilites, head coach Stan Van Gundy said that the team hasn’t gone into trade discussions with a specific goal in mind. “We’ve been more open to listening and looking at things,” Van Gundy said, per Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link). Reports have suggested that the Pistons have listened to inquiries on guys like Andre Drummond and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, so the club isn’t closing the door on any possibilties.

Rockets Seeking Trade For Player Earning $10-12MM

11:31am: Iman Shumpert is one player who has drawn interest from the Rockets, league sources tell ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter link). Shumpert is making a little under $10MM this year, and will earn a little over $10MM in 2017/18.

11:23am: The latest trade rumor involving the Rockets is both oddly specific and non-specific, as Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (via Twitter) that the club is looking to acquire a player earning a salary in the $10-12MM range. Houston is offering expiring contracts and cash savings to potential trade partners, according to Wojnarowski.

[RELATED: Rockets to acquire Lou Williams]

The Rockets’ six highest-paid players – all of whom are key rotation pieces – are on multiyear contracts, but players like K.J. McDaniels ($3.33MM), Nene ($2.898MM), and Tyler Ennis ($1.734MM) have no guaranteed money on their deals beyond this season, and could be among the pieces Houston would put on the table. Combining those three salaries would allow the Rockets to take back up to approximately $12MM.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that Houston already has nearly $88MM in guaranteed contracts on its books for the 2017/18 season, per Basketball Insiders. Acquiring a player earning $10-12MM for next season would take the team right up near the projected cap ($102MM), so GM Daryl Morey may be looking to use that room on a deadline acquisition instead of a summer free agent. If they were up against the cap, the Rockets would still have the mid-level exception to use in July to entice a free agent.

Having already struck a deal for Lou Williams, the Rockets will likely be focusing on adding a frontcourt player next. There’s no shortage of potential trade candidates in the $10-12MM range, but one potentially intriguing option would be Wilson Chandler.

Chandler is earning $11.233MM this season and $12MM+ next year, and was linked to the Rockets earlier this week. TNT’s David Aldridge tweeted last night that Denver remains on the lookout for a first-round pick and an expiring contract for Chandler or Danilo Gallinari, so perhaps there’s a fit there, though Houston is sending its 2017 first-rounder to the Lakers in the Williams deal.

Trade Rumors: Holiday, Shumpert, Rivers

The Pelicans are unlikely to trade Jrue Holiday prior to the February 23 trade deadline, says Justin Verrier of ESPN. The point guard is the final piece of New Orleans’ suddenly formidable Big Three.

Expect Holiday, who’s averaged 19.8 points and 8.3 assists per game in seven February contests to balance the frontcourt-heavy roster. Holiday, just 26 years old, is owed $11MM this season and will be a free agent this summer.

According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the Pelicans are interested in giving Holiday a max, or near max, contract.

There’s more trade speculation from around the NBA:

  • The Rockets have the fourth-best record in the league and aren’t expected to make any drastic roster moves, but they may be involved in something else, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Feigen suggests that Houston’s three draft picks could be available, as well as players on modest contracts who aren’t a major part of Mike D’Antoni‘s core.
  • The Cavaliers, who watched two trade exceptions expire yesterday, won’t be making a trade just for the sake of making one, tweets Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. Things can change, he says, but he doesn’t suspect they’ll force anything. Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype, on the other hand, would be “shocked” if the Cavs don’t make a move.
  • Doubling up as the head coach of the Clippers and managing team personnel isn’t easy and some believe that it has limited Doc Rivers‘ ability to make significant trades. Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes that Rivers has considered deals in the past but ultimately scrapped them because of an unwillingness to part with talent that he likes to have when he’s coaching from the sidelines.
  • There’s no denying that the Cavaliers have made Iman Shumpert available, tweets Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. There is indeed interest, Amico adds.

Cavs Notes: Shumpert, James, Irving, Carmelo Anthony Rumors

The Cavs haven’t completely closed the door on Carmelo Anthony. According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, the Cavs are exploring “the very slight possibility” of acquiring ‘Melo by the Feb. 23 deadline. Vardon also notes the likelihood of Cleveland acquiring Shelvin Mack– a move not aimed at postseason depth, but helping rest LeBron James and Kyrie Irving as the season winds down.

While the Cavs hold “basement-level low” expectations of completing a deal for Anthony, the Knicks could consider offers for lesser players in an attempt to move him by the deadline.

More from Cleveland…

  • Iman Shumpert carries “real value” on the trade market, Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com writes. Capable of filling in at the Two or Three, Shumpert has improved his long-range shooting to a career-high 42.5% from beyond the arc. While Shumpert is due to make $10.3MM in 2017/18, Pluto reminds readers of his value- citing Matthew Dellevedova’s $38MM deal as a comparable example. As of this morning, the Timberwolves were thought to have “strong interest” in Shumpert’s services.
  • LeBron James’ heavy workload has been a point of contention this season, and it appears the four-time MVP is ready to accept additional rest in the second half. “Me being a competitor, me playing the game that I love every single day, I don’t always have the right assessment of me playing a lot of minutes,” James told Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal. “That’s why I have Coach Lue and the coaching staff and the training staff to be like, ‘Hey, LeBron, you’ve played six straight Finals, you’ve played this amount of minutes, let’s take it easy today. Let’s take today off.’ That’s what they’re going to do.” James has averaged 37.5 minutes per game this season, compared to 35.6 MPG in 2015/16 and 36.1 in 2014/15.
  • Learning to play alongside James was a humbling experience for Irving, Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. “I was trying to figure it out all at once so it took a while, it didn’t look perfect. A lot of the arrogance I had and the aura that I had I had to let go of completely,” Irving said. “Let go of that complete ego, the selfishness that we all want to have it and being that player every single night. The truth is you can still be that player with other great players, you’ve just got to figure out how to do it.” Averaging a career-best 24.4 points, Irving will suit up for his fourth All-Star game tonight in New Orleans.

Northwest Notes: Mudiay, Thibodeau, Stephenson

The performance of Nuggets rookie guard Jamal Murray has made Emmanuel Mudiay expendable, writes Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post. Veteran Jameer Nelson has become the starting point guard as Denver pushes for a playoff spot, and Kiszla sees Murray as a better backup to both Nelson and Gary Harris than Mudiay is. That leaves little playing time for last year’s first-round pick, who may now be more valuable to the Nuggets as a trade chip. Kiszla would like to see the Nuggets pursue Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, but admits that Denver doesn’t have the pieces to make that happen. He also mentions Atlanta’s Thabo Sefolosha as a target, but not in a one-for-one deal for Mudiay.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Tom Thibodeau’s new dual role as Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations leaves no time for a vacation during the All-Star break, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Zgoda lists seven possible targets for Minnesota before Thursday’s trade deadline: Chicago’s Taj Gibson, Orlando’s Bismack Biyombo, Denver’s Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler, Cleveland’s Iman Shumpert, Phoenix’s P.J. Tucker and Philadelphia’s Nerlens Noel.
  • Lance Stephenson is looking at a two-week recovery from his Grade 2 ankle sprain, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News in Minneapolis. Stephenson’s 10-day contract expired this weekend, and it’s uncertain whether the Timberwolves will be interested in signing him again once he has recovered.
  • The Jazz may add short-term salary to help them get above the cap floor, but they will be reluctant to take on long-term salary in any deal, writes Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News. Utah’s top priority this summer will be to re-sign Gordon Hayward, who will want a max contract with an annual salary in the $25MM to $30MM range. The Jazz also want to keep free agent point guard George Hill, who will demand about $20MM per season, and Rudy Gobert‘s extension will kick in next season, starting at more than $21.2MM next year. That ties up three players making more than $70MM, which limits Utah’s roster flexibility.
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