The Knicks have struggled a bit as of late, and have had seemingly nothing but bad news on the injury front.
Mike Woodson changed all that after the team practiced on Saturday when he told reporters that Iman Shumpert has been cleared by doctors, and could make his season debut later this week.
From Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com:
“He’s been cleared,” coach Mike Woodson said after Saturday’s practice at the team’s training facility. “He’ll practice on Monday and if we get the two practices in — for sure one in London and there’s no setback — he’ll be cleared probably to play in the Detroit game.”
The Knicks will be in London to play the Pistons on Thursday, and need to begin to get healthy to return to the level of contender the team was playing at over the first couple of months of the season.
Shumpert tore knee ligaments during the playoffs last April, but before then worked his way into the starting lineup for 35 games while averaging 9.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.7 steals per game in almost 29 minutes of action.
Shumpert made a name for himself last season as a tough and capable perimeter defender, and once he works his way back from a conditioning standpoint he should be able to give the Knicks a much-needed boost in that area.
It looks like that help will be on the way as early as this week.
NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.
Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.
Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.
A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”
Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.
DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.
But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.
DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:
“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.
“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”
This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.
Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.
Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.
I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.