Iman Shumpert, Alexis Ajinca

Report: Iman Shumpert integral in Phil Jackson’s rebuilding plan


Phil Jackson, at his introductory press conference, said he’d determine which current New York Knicks fit – and can fit – his vision for the team.

Carmelo Anthony does, or at least can. Jackson said that very clearly.

How many other Knicks has Jackson reached a verdict on? At least one, reportedly.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Now Shumpert appears to have a legitimate future with Phil Jackson’s Knicks. According to a league source, Jackson is a fan of Shumpert.

Shumpert is a defensive-minded player who sacrifices his game and doesn’t need to score a lot to have an impact.

“Iman is still part of this,’’ a league source familiar with the Knicks’ thinking told The Post.

Shumpert is 23, an impressive athlete, a versatile defender and an intriguing offensive player. It shouldn’t have taken paying Jackson $12 million per year for Shumpert to play a prominent role in the Knicks’ future, but here we are.

Now, the question become what Shumpert does with this opportunity. He regressed a little this year, and next season will be his final year of his rookie deal. Even if Jackson likes him now, how much will he be willing to pay Shumpert on his next contract?

If Shumpert learns the nuances of the triangle offense and taps his defensive potential, it could be quite a bit. But those are still ifs – even if Shumpert is excited by Jackson. Via Berman:

“I love Phil Jackson,’’ Shumpert said. “Just being a child, seeing him, how he conducted the Bulls. I just love him.’’

Like Jackson with the Knicks, the feeling is mutual. For now.

Really, it matters only how Jackson evaluates Shumpert once he’s worked closely with him. I don’t expect the new Knicks president’s perception to change with Shumpert – at least until Shumpert’s impending raise nears.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: No, Lakers are not playoff bound

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When you ask Lakers fans for bold predictions, you get the delusional to come out of the woodwork.

Most Lakers fans I know — remember, I’m a former Laker blogger living in So Cal, even my optometrist wants to talk Lakers during my eye exam — are realistic about where the team is in the rebuild process. Like me, they want to see a healthy season of Kobe Bryant where he can choose whether or not to continue his career on his terms, not Father Time’s.

But Lakers exceptionalism is a thing, and there are Lakers fans living in a fantasy land.

That’s what Jenna Corrado and I get to in the latest PBT Extra: There are Lakers fans that think they are playoff bound. And there are people who expect even more than that from this team this year — like Kobe Bryant to return to MVP form. Those people need to stop taking so much glaucoma medication.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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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.