Author: Dan Feldman

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

Cavaliers’ Iman Shumpert out 12-14 weeks


Iman Shumpert‘s four-year, $40 million contract with the Cavaliers isn’t getting off to the best start.

Cavaliers release:

Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert recently suffered a ruptured Extensor Carpi Ulnaris sheath in his right wrist. The extent of the injury was confirmed by MRI at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health yesterday by Dr. Thomas Graham and Dr. Richard Parker. Shumpert will have surgery to repair his wrist Wednesday at Cleveland Clinic. His return to play is currently projected to be 12 to 14 weeks.

The Cavaliers are fine with LeBron James and J.R. Smith starting on the wing, but depth behind those two leaves something to be desired. Richard Jefferson, Joe Harris and James Jones are the only players with guaranteed salaries. Mo Williams can play shooting guard, though that becomes more difficult if Kyrie Irving is still injured – unless you want to lean heavily on Matthew Dellavedova at point guard.

I thought, given Irving’s injury, point guard Quinn Cook would make Cleveland’s regular-season roster as the 15th player. But this makes it more likely one of the wings vying for that final spot – Austin Daye, Jared Cunningham and D.J. Stephens – earns the nod. Or the Cavaliers could keep Cook and use Williams more at shooting guard. There’s now a lot to juggle.

The playoffs matter more than anything for Cleveland, and Shumpert should be healthy by then. But home-court advantage is nice, and this injury makes that less likely.

If things really get desperate, the Cavaliers always have the Brendan Haywood trade exception to use on reinforcements.

Wesley Matthews could be out until Christmas

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Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons both said they planned to play opening night.

Neither is ready for training camp, but Parsons might meet his goal.

Matthews… not so much.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:

“Well, I would say that there’s a chance that Parsons could play in the (season) opener,” Carlisle said. “Wes is going to take a little longer. He’s not going to want to tell you that and we’re going to have to fight to keep him off the court, but we’ve got to make sure we do this the right way.”

Asked if Christmas was a realistic date for Matthews’ return, Carlisle said: “It’s a definite maybe.”

While it could be sooner, Matthews will not be ready for the start of the season. Carlisle admitted as much

The Mavericks knew what they were getting into when the signed Matthews, who tore his Achilles in March. Him playing Dallas’ first game this season always seemed overly ambitious.

But this is still bad news for the Mavericks, who have only John Jenkins as a natural shooting guard behind Matthews. Expect plenty of two point guard lineups with Deron Williams, Devin Harris, J.J. Barea and Raymond Felton. Small forward Justin Anderson could also play up.

Important: Dallas owes the Celtics a top-seven protected first-round pick. Matthews’ injury might push the Mavericks into the protected range – or it might help Boston get the highest pick possible.

Kobe Bryant implies he won’t ever leave Lakers

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Kobe Bryant says he still doesn’t know whether he’ll retire after this season.

If he doesn’t, Knicks president Phil Jackson (who coached Kobe) and Bleacher Report writer Kevin Ding (who covered Kobe) believe he might leave the Lakers in free agency.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Kobe Bryant has a message for Phil Jackson, Los Angeles Lakers fans and anyone else who thinks he will finish his NBA career elsewhere.

“A lot of players want to go to different teams or contend to win championships,” Bryant told Yahoo Sports at the conclusion of the Lakers’ media day on Monday. “I’m a Laker, man. I’m a Laker for better or worse.”

“I’m a Laker, man. How many times do I have to say that?” Bryant said “Dude, I bleed purple and gold.”

This isn’t the first time Kobe has pledged his undying loyalty to the Lakers. That matters.

So does Lakers owner Jim Buss saying Kobe must accept a reduced role to return in 2016-17 (and presumably a commensurately lower salary).

One of two things will happen this season:

1. Kobe will be healthy and productive.

2. Kobe won’t be healthy and productive.

If it’s No. 2, Kobe will probably retire.

If it’s No. 1 – and Kobe wants to keep playing, which is no given – he might not be willing to accept Buss’s terms. In that case, either Kobe or Buss will cave – or Kobe will sign elsewhere. Something has to give.

I believe Kobe wants to finish his career with the Lakers. I’m not entirely convinced that, if he plays beyond this season, he’ll stay in Los Angeles.