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Iman Shumpert says Cavaliers players not surprised by Kyrie Irving trade request

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The cliché is “winning cures all ills.”

The reality is “winning masks the symptoms of the illness.” From the Billy Martin Oakland Athletics through today’s Cleveland Cavaliers, the chance to win has kept combustible players together longer than they would have otherwise. But it doesn’t last forever. Just as Shaq and Kobe.

Or Iman Shumpert, who told Complex Cavs players saw this coming, as transcribed by Joe Varden at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“We all knew certain things about this team that’s tough,” Shumpert told Complex News’ “Everyday Struggle” in a wide-ranging interview….

“(People say) it’s LeBron and Kyrie hate each other,” Shumpert said. “No, it’s two dudes that need the ball. LeBron needs the ball, Kyrie needs the ball, Kevin (Love) needs the ball. Swish (J.R. Smith) can’t shoot unless he has the ball. Kyle Korver can’t shoot unless he has the ball…

“I don’t think it’s f*** LeBron,” Shumpert said, characterizing Irving’s trade request. “I think it’s more of, ‘I learned, we won together, it’s time for something different.'”

Or, Irving recognized the writing on the wall and didn’t want to be the guy holding the bag a year from now in Cleveland.

Not many players would have asked out, but Irving marches to his own drummer. Teammates don’t describe him so much as difficult, more just different. He got in his own head about the situation and Cleveland, whatever it may be, and decided he wanted out. Now.

Whatever the reason he bombed, things will be awkward for a while — Cavs fans will boo Irving louder than they will cheer the banner opening night. But someday Irving and LeBron will hash it out and be fine, much like Shaq and Kobe.

Maybe the formula is winning + time cures all ills.

Conflicting report: Iman Shumpert hasn’t requested trade

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Iman Shumpert reportedly requested a trade from the Cavaliers.

Or not.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

What Shumpert wants probably doesn’t matter much , anyway. He’s a role player, and teams shuffle role players regardless of their desires.

Shumpert might prefer to stay in Cleveland. He might not. It seems likely his camp doesn’t want him associated with a trade request, a fairly common request that still rankles fans when it becomes public.

Either way, the Cavs likely want to unload the two years and $21,348,313 remaining on Shumpert’s contract – clearing resulting luxury-tax payments and baggage. J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver are fine at shooting guard, and maybe Dwyane Wade signs with the Cavaliers after getting bought out by the Bulls.

Shumpert just isn’t worth it – unless the sweetener necessary to dump him is too great. Then, he’ll be stuck in Cleveland, whether he likes it or not.

Report: Iman Shumpert requested trade from Cavaliers

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Kyrie Irving sent shockwaves through the NBA by requesting a trade from the Cavaliers. They resolved up by sending him to the Celtics.

But Cleveland apparently isn’t done dealing with trade requests from its guards.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

Lost in the attention surrounding Irving’s trade request is that Iman Shumpert also requested a trade after the season, multiple sources told ESPN. Cleveland was in talks to trade Shumpert and his $10.3 million contract to Minnesota or Houston, but both deals fell apart. Logic would tell you that the Cavs will remain motivated to find a team to take Shumpert.

Shumpert’s camp quickly denied this was the case, saying he had made no such request.

Shumpert once said the Cavs “grabbed me out of hell” by acquiring him from the Knicks. But there’s been an apparent uneasiness in Shumpert from Cleveland’s end.

Even though the 27-year-old Shumpert – due $10,337,079 this season and holding a $11,011,234 player option for the following season – has probably seen his value bottom out, the Cavaliers would probably prefer to move on. They’re in line to pay the repeater luxury tax and also have J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver at shooting guard.

The Timberwolves before and Rockets after last season appeared interested in Shumpert, but I’m not sure any team would just take him at this point. Would Cleveland attach a sweetener to dump him? That might be the only way to grant his trade request and ease the luxury-tax bill. Preserving depth and positive assets might trump those other considerations.

Report: Cavaliers called Warriors about Kyrie Irving-Klay Thompson trade

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The Warriors rejected a Klay ThompsonPaul George trade offer from the Pacers.

What about Thompson for Kyrie Irving, who’s younger than George and locked up for an additional season (the same amount of time as Thompson for a similar price)?

Apparently, Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman inquired before sending Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

It would be hard to believe that Altman could have landed a better trade than the Boston one. He did call the uninterested Warriors about Klay Thompson, a source said.

I’m not sure what this trade would’ve accomplished for either team.

The Warriors obviously already have a point guard in Stephen Curry. Though Irving isn’t the best distributor, his handles and defense push him to point guard. Curry and Irving would have been a tough fit together. Golden State knows Curry and Thompson are a championship-caliber pairing.

Thompson would have been a big upgrade at shooting guard in Cleveland, but the Cavs would have been woefully undermanned at point guard. Derrick Rose, Jose Calderon and Kay Felder wouldn’t cut it. At least the Cavaliers have decent options at shooting guard with J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Kyle Korver.

The Warriors would’ve never said yes, which is fortunate for the Cavs. They did better in their trade with Boston, anyway. Thomas can step in at point guard while Crowder still provides much-needed wing depth – plus Zizic and that sweet, sweet Nets pick.

Hawks commit more earnestly to rebuild, but enough?

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NBCSports.com’s Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

The Hawks were pretty good without a clear path forward.

Now, they’re pretty bad without a clear path forward.

Luckily for them – and despite their best efforts – they might be bad enough.

Atlanta continued its descent from its 60-win peak two years ago by losing its two best players. The Hawks let Paul Millsap leave for the Nuggets and traded Dwight Howard to the Hornets in what could be described as a salary rearrangement more than a salary dump.

After multiple half-measures toward rebuilding – refusing to offer Al Horford the max, trading Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver for first-round picks – Atlanta finally committed.

Kind of.

The Hawks hedged against full-on tanking by signing Dewayne Dedmon and Ersan Ilyasova. Those two big men – Dedmon in his prime, Ilyasova close enough to it – supply enough hustle and basketball intelligence to sabotage a proper tank. Coach Mike Budenholzer, whose teams tend to exceed the sum of their parts, won’t help Atlanta bottom out.

I can see breaking up a team with a playoff chance to torpedo high into the lottery. The Hawks aren’t doing that – not purposefully, at least. It appears they’re trying to remain credibly competitive, which could only undermine their rebuild.

Atlanta is rebuilding around Dennis Schroder, John Collins, Taurean Prince and DeAndre’ Bembry. The Hawks also have all their own first-rounders plus protected first-rounders from the Rockets, Timberwolves, and Cavaliers. But the Houston pick is the only one of those extras that can ever land in the top 10, and that’s just top-three protected this season, a season in which the Rockets project to pick in the low 20s.

Simply, this is not an encouraging asset pool to begin a rebuild with. Atlanta would benefit greatly from a high 2018 pick.

The Hawks just don’t seem interested enough in securing one.

They also lost Tim Hardaway Jr. and Thabo Sefolosha in free agency. Like the 32-year-old Millsap, the 33-year-old Sefolosha had no place on a team mostly rebuilding. The 25-year-old Hardaway could have fit into the next era or even as a trade chip, but not on the four-year, $71 million offer sheet the Knicks signed him to. Though Atlanta wisely passed on matching, it’s a shame to lose an asset for nothing.

That’s really the story of the Hawks’ descent. Millsap, Horford, Sefolosha and DeMarre Carroll all walked in free agency. Atlanta was always reluctant to trade those players for value while it could.

I’m trying to grade only this offseason, not prior decisions. General manager Travis Schlenk took over this offseason, and he has the runway for a patient rebuild.

The Hawks wisely got a first-rounder for taking and buying out Jamal Crawford. Could they have found similar deals rather than signing Dedmon and Ilyasova? Could they have signed younger players instead?

The Hawks might hope they can trade Dedmon (two years, $12.3 million) and Ilyasova (one-year, $6 million) for even greater value, but that comes with complications. Dedmon has a $6.3 million player option for next season, so if his deal goes south, Atlanta is on the hook for another year. (If it goes well, Dedmon will become an unrestricted free agent and – fitting the theme – could just leave.) As a returning player on a one-year contract, Ilyasova can veto any trade.

If the Hawks had re-signed Millsap (and maybe Sefolosha, too), they could have made a decent case to return to the playoffs in the lowly Eastern Conference. Atlanta has the NBA’s second-longest active playoff streak, 10 seasons. That isn’t nothing, and continuing it would have been fine.

If the Hawks tried to return to the playoffs and failed, they would have ended up in a similar position to where they are now – somewhere in the lottery, but not necessarily high in it. They could have even traded Millsap – whose Denver deal guarantees him just $61 million over two years – for value.

If the future is murky either way, I’d rather be better in the interim.

Perhaps, Atlanta just tired of losing in the first or second round (though ownership and management has recently changed). That would have been the team’s likely ceiling if it re-signed Millsap.

But I just don’t see winning about 30 games as more pleasurable than reaching the playoffs, even with an early-round exit. A 30-win season doesn’t bring enough value in the draft to offset the difference.

Here’s the good news: The Hawks’ hedging probably didn’t go far enough. They might be downright terrible, anyway – positioning them to draft the elite young talent they badly need to galvanize their rebuild.

This was a D+ effort that stumbled into a slightly more favorable position – i.e., a team that struggles more than it expects.

Offseason grade: C-