Report: Knicks may be closer to dealing Iman Shumpert to Clippers, talking smaller trade with Nuggets

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A report earlier on Wednesday had the Knicks engaged in trade talks with the Clippers that would send Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton to Los Angeles in exchange for Darren Collison and Reggie Bullock.

Despite getting out from under Felton’s contract, which is essentially for two more seasons beyond this one considering his player option for 2016, this trade would be a disaster for the Knicks. Collison has been improved in an expanded role with Chris Paul out of the lineup, but is as bad on the defensive end of the floor as he’s been good offensively.

Collison is not an upgrade, and giving up Shumpert for him would be a mistake. At least in the most recent round of discussions, New York would get a player that can contribute now, though it’s unclear if that’s truly what would be best.

Barnes is better now than Bullock, but Felton’s contract at less than $4 million per year isn’t exactly an albatross that the Knicks should be trying to get rid of at all costs. Shumpert is still on his rookie deal, and though he’s been marginalized by the Knicks management and coaching staff since the summer, he’s got real potential and has shown the ability to produce on both ends of the floor.

A smaller move New York is considering might be better for the team, and far less damaging to its future.

The Knicks would trade Udrih for a bag of basketballs at this point, considering how dreadful he was in running the team during his 12 starts this season. Hamilton is a skilled offensive player, but he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Oh, and then came this, from TNT’s David Aldridge:

It’s clear the Knicks are trying to make some moves before Thursday’s deadline. It’s unclear, however, if any of them will end up being wise long-term decisions.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.