The New York Knicks are 3-5 and things are so bad the dancers have stopped dancing (by the owners orders).
This is not what Knicks management (or fans) expected, but with Tyson Chandler out a month (at least) it’s hard to see how things take a serious turn for the better in the short term. Without him their interior defense and rim protection is lacking.
Even with him, the problem is there is no easy way to fix this roster.
Which is why they may deal Iman Shumpert sooner rather than later, reports Marc Stein on ESPN (his new blog is a great read).
More and more folks around the league see some sort of Shumpert deal materializing sooner rather than later, given that he’s New York’s only real asset of value to make an in-season move and with the Knicks increasingly confident that they’ve got enough at the position to handle Shumpert’s exit now that J.R. Smith is back and with rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. looking good early.
Earlier this week there was some Kenneth Faried for Shumpert talk, but those rumors were all out of the New York side. The Nuggets want more in in a deal for Faried and the Knicks don’t have a first round pick until 2018 they can deal, so that fell through.
Stein mentions Sacramento as another possibility (not sure who heads back to New York in that deal), and there will be more. Shumpert has value as a young wing defender who can shoot the three (although he is off to a slow start this season, hitting 31.8 percent so far this season).
That said, I don’t know that there is one deal that can solve the Knicks issues. At least not to Dolan’s satisfaction. This is one oddly constructed roster.
Still it sounds like there is some smoke with a potential Shumpert trade with the fire not that far behind.
Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.
Pacers fans delivered.
They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.
Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.
The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.
“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”
Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.
Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.
Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):
This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.
Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.
He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.
Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.
So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.
Sam Amick of USA Today:
Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency
Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.
There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.
Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.