Report: Nuggets shoot down Iman Shumpert for Kenneth Faried trade

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UPDATE 6:08 pm: The Kenneth Faried for Iman Shumpert talks are dead, at least according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, who tweeted this:

Denver has made it clear to Kenneth Faried’s reps: There are no active talks involving him. Knicks offered Shumpert. Denver rejected idea.

Of course, if you were trying to negotiate a better deal this would be your first response and what you would leak. Talks have a way or resurecting, so don’t assume this is the end.

That said, I would understand Denver cutting it off. Faried to New York, where they are in desperate need of front line help with Tyson Chandler out, always made sense. Shumpert to Denver less so — yes Shumpert can fill some of the Andre Iguodala hole but the Nuggets can likely do better, they will want picks and sweetners with Shumpert. And the Knicks don’t have any first round picks they can move until 2018.

Wojnarowski added this:

3:18 pm: Denver’s new coach and front office like the polished offense J.J. Hickson brings and we told you before they were looking to shop Kenneth Faried this season.

Right now the Knicks desperately need help along the front line with Tyson Chandler out at least a month (likely more), and the Energizer Bunny that is Faried would be a good fit (and it works when Chandler returns as well).

So now two sides are having intensifying talks about a Faried for Shumpert trade, reports Frank Isola at the New York Daily News, but the price Denver wants is high — Iman Shumpert.

Talks between the Knicks and Nuggets centered around a deal that would send Iman Shumpert to Denver for forward Kenneth Faried have intensified in recent days, the Daily News has learned.

According to a league source, no deal is imminent, although the struggling Knicks feel they need to make a move to bolster their banged-up frontcourt.

Those two have similar salaries and could be traded for each other straight up but Marc Stein of ESPN says the deal could stall because Denver wants more.

But sources told ESPN.com that multiple teams have approached the Knicks with interest in Shumpert and said New York remains undecided about whether to trade its coveted perimeter defensive specialist.

Yet it’s believed that Denver is also seeking draft compensation in addition to Shumpert in exchange for Faried, who averaged 11.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in 2012-13 in his second season as a pro. That could prove to be too high a price for the Knicks, who would prefer not to part with Shumpert but understand that he is by far their most attractive current trade asset.

On the surface, this trade makes sense for both sides.

The Knicks need help along the front line and Faried provides that — however Knicks fans should be warned he is not a great on ball or strong side defender (he is good at coming from the weak side to get a block). Faried can get the Knicks offense just by outworking people. With Shumpert out J.R. Smith moves into the starting five and it will mean more minutes for Tim Hardaway Jr. and likely even Beno Udrih.

Denver misses the perimeter defense that Andre Iguodala brought last season and Shumpert helps fill that role. While Shumpert doesn’t really create his own shot he has an improved jumper (35.3 percent this season from three) and is strong in transition.

That said, Denver is currently without JaVale McGee (stress fracture) so you have to question if they should move a big right now. Also, Faried’s offense mainly comes from running the floor faster than the other bigs, but nobody else in New York is going to play at that pace (maybe Raymond Felton would like to a little more but that’s not a running team in Madison Square Garden).

Plus, Knicks fans love Shumpert and would hate this deal (although Faried would grow on them).

You can see how this deal could happen, but there are always a million things that can trip up a trade. We’ll keep you updated.

James Harden on recruiting Chris Paul from LA: “He didn’t seem happy”

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One of the most interesting storylines of the first month of this upcoming NBA season will be the Houston Rockets.

The team has paired MVP candidate James Harden with one of the greatest point guards of all time in Chris Paul, but it remains to be seen whether the two will be able to work together with the kind of efficiency that Mike D’Antoni’s team had in 2016-17.

Harden has been the subject of some chatter already this offseason after a photo of him surfaced on Instagram. In it, Harden looked to have added a significant portion of muscle this summer, which may help him as he moves back to a more off-ball style of play with Paul in the fold.

Harden was also the subject of significant scrutiny at the end of last season, where he failed in the playoffs in spectacular fashion against the San Antonio Spurs.

In a recent interview with Sam Amick of USA Today, Harden said his newfound weight gain has been part of his plan to combat late-season fatigue. Harden has also introduced yoga and pilates into his workout routine.

Perhaps more interesting information from Harden’s interview with Amick revealed just how much impact he had recruiting Chris Paul in the trade from Los Angeles Clippers, and Paul’s attitude at the end of the season toward his former team.

Via USA Today:

Harden, who signed a four-year extension this summer and will earn a combined $228 million by the end of the 2022-23 season, had everything to do with the move.

“I just knew that in the summertime obviously (Paul) was a free agent, and I wanted to see where his head was,” Harden said of Paul, who will now be a free agent next summer. “He didn’t seem happy, so after that we just took it from there.

“Obviously Golden State has been in the Finals and won two out of three, so that’s what everybody is trying to build up against. But we’re right there. We’re right there. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do, but it definitely puts us in a better chance.”

It certainly makes sense that after years of perpetual playoff failure by the Clippers that Paul would want to move on. Harden and CP3 seem to enjoy each other at the moment, and a pairing does seem to make sense on paper. We will see how that plays out over the course of next season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo announces he will not play for Greece in Eurobasket

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Giannis Antetokounmpo said had big plans to play for the Greek national team this summer, taking his country back to the top of the European ladder at EuroBasket (they had won the tournament a dozen years ago).

Instead, a sore knee will keep the Greek Freak out of EuroBasket. He made the announcement on his Facebook page.

Antetokounmpo had missed all but one of Greece’s early EuroBasket tune-ups due to a sore knee. That, understandably, concerned the Bucks, especially with his four-year, $100 million contract extension about to kick in next season.

Antetokounmpo is in China promoting shoes, but said he on Facebook he took a physical while there and was not able to complete the exercises due to pain.

“It is by far the biggest disappointment in my career. I must deal with the problem,” Antetokounmpo said in the Facebook post (written in Greek).

Within hours of the post going up, the Greek basketball federation released a statement slamming the Bucks and Antetokounmpo, saying they had done an MRI of his knee and found no damage.

“The simultaneous report by the Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo himself, by phone and social media from faraway China, and not by the appropriate official manner, of his inability to join the national men’s team saddens us … but is not surprising… A series of indications … had convinced us of the existence of an organized and well-staged plan by (the Bucks), with the full knowledge if not encouragement of the NBA that put the athlete on the spot and forced him to announce today that he is no longer part of the men’s national team.”

Great, just what the world needs, another conspiracy theory.

While NBA teams generally are not huge fans of their stars playing in national team tournaments (due to the injury risk), teams cannot stop a healthy player from playing. Antetokounmpo said this was his decision because he is in pain and has to think about the upcoming NBA season.

Whatever the Greek Federation believes internally, slamming the player and his team publicly like this is one good way to make sure he will not want to play for them in the future. He’s got knee pain, they are saying “you’re fine, walk it off, ” and that must have Antetokounmpo and the people around him wondering if the Greek Federation has his best interests — or theirs — at heart.

Akron store already selling “Stay Home 23” shirts, hats as LeBron decision looms

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We’ve seen this movie before.

There is all sorts of buzz around the league that LeBron James has one foot out the door in Cleveland. While people around LeBron denied he the rumor he is “100 percent” leaving, good luck finding any league source who thinks he is staying put next summer. Nothing is set in stone, his options — including staying — remain open, but we’ve all been down this road before.

The hometown fans are going to do their part to urge LeBron to stay.

Fan sentiment has some pull with LeBron (he came back to win the city a title). However, what matters more is a sense of a plan to keep the Cavaliers as title contenders for the coming years — and that is more than just Dan Gilbert paying the tax. The Cavs did nothing this summer that got them closer to beating Golden State, and while they swung for the fences with Paul George, what they really needed was wing defenders and athletes, and they didn’t get those either. Luc Mbah a Moute signed a one-year deal for the minimum somewhere else. Instead, Cleveland overpaid Kyle Korver.

Despite all that, the Cavs remain the team to beat in the East. If Cleveland gets to the Finals — LeBron’s eighth in a row — and they win or make it close, he may see staying as his best option. A season can be a lifetime in the NBA in terms of shifting attitudes. Still, I wouldn’t bet the rent on it.

Marshall Plumlee gets camp invite, partially guaranteed contract from Clippers

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The Los Angeles Clippers have 14 fully guaranteed contracts on their roster, plus a partial guarantee for DeAndre Liggins (who likely is on the roster opening day). They also are pretty much set at center with DeAndre Jordan and Willie Reed (plus when they go small they can play Blake Griffin there, something I wish they’d do a little more).

That said, Doc Rivers — just a coach now — needs bodies for camp, so in comes former Duke star and Knick Marshall Plumlee, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Plumlee played in 21 games for the Knicks last season, logging a total of 190 minutes. He bounced between New York and the D-League Westchester Knicks, when down he averaged 12.3 points and 9.8 rebounds a game.

He’s not making the Clippers’ squad (barring injury), but he could show well and get noticed by other teams. Over the course of a season, there will be a need for bigs as guys go down injured, Plumlee is getting a chance to show how his game has developed. And he makes some money in the process.