Dan Feldman

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 15:  Iman Shumpert #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on before the game against the Boston Celtics  at TD Garden on December 15, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Iman Shumpert says he no longer believes kneeling for national anthem is the answer


Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert rapped he’d kneel for the national anthem, following Colin Kaepernick’s lead in protesting police brutality against blacks in America.

But – as the NBA and players union discuss how to handle expected anthem demonstrations – Shumpert has changed his tune.

Shumpert on Instagram (hat tip: Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com):

Take a good look at my daughter Iman Tayla Shumpert Jr. The moment she was born was the day I saw the world a lot different. All day I wonder how can I raise her the right way and teach her the right lessons. I can't explain to her what's going on these days between the badge and the people. The badge was made to protect us, not scare us. #stealthefear #steal🔓fear #weprayforpeace For each steal I’m going to donate money and time towards a foundation(s) striding to improve the struggle between the badge and the citizen. I challenge all sponsors and athletes to match these proceeds to contribute to the cause helping families affected by all the killings leaving families and communities traumatized. As big as an awareness Kap has raised by taking a knee and the bravery it took for so many to follow I also understand those that fought for that flag have nothing to do with whats going on in our society today and I no longer believe taking a knee is the answer. This news makes me sick and I am challenging myself to make a difference! #stealthefear #steal🔓fear #weprayforpeace

A photo posted by Iman Shumpert (@imanshumpert) on

Kaepernick has repeatedly said his protest is not directed at the military. In fact, he has frequently praised military members for protecting his rights, including free speech.

But the anthem means different things to different people, and if Shumpert wants to stand, good for him. His response to the problems facing this country needn’t match Kaepernick’s.

Donating to causes promoting better relations between the police and the community, something Kaepernick is also doing, is an excellent course.

Larry Bird: Pacers have standing max offer to Paul George

Larry Bird, Paul George
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Paul George can sign a contract extension Sunday, though there’s no rush for the Pacers to give him to a new deal. He’s locked up through 2017-18 (and has a player option for the following season).

But whenever the time comes, Pacers president Larry Bird knows contract terms.

Nate Taylor of IndyStar:

Bird wants to sign George to a max contract – and he’ll do it as soon as his star player is ready.

“I know he don’t want to talk about it all year and I don’t either,” said Bird, the Pacers’ team president. “We want Paul here and we know what it’s going to cost and what it’s going to take. If Paul wants to get a deal done, we will. It’s a max deal. There’s no others, so there’s no use talking about it. If he wants it, he’s got it.”

George almost certainly won’t sign a straight contract extension. He’ll need something in exchange – a raise. The salary cap has risen so rapidly under the new national TV contracts, George’s once-max contract extension has given him a salary well below his max. So, a renegotiation-and-extension – like Russell Westbrook (Thunder) and James Harden (Rockets) – could be mutually beneficial.

The Pacers can create just enough cap space by waiving unguaranteed players to give George his max salary this season, but it makes more sense for George to renegotiate and extend next year for two reasons:

1. He’ll have seven years of experience, which triggers a higher max tier.

2. George could add three, as opposed to two currently, seasons to his deal (assuming he opts out in conjunction).

Big caveat: We don’t know how the Collective Bargaining Agreement will look next offseason. But I’m betting it will be as or more favorable to max players.

And George is certainly a max player. For the Pacers, the concern shouldn’t be how much George costs, but that they’re the ones paying him. At just 26, he should remain elite through his next contract.

Whether it’s an extension now or next offseason or re-signing him in 2018, Indiana seems committed to doing all it can financially to keep George. Now, the ball is in his court.

Report: Optimism for new Collective Bargaining Agreement by December

AP Money Found

Either the owners or players can opt out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement by Dec. 15, but they’ve been working to avoid that.

Maybe they will?

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Silver and a group of owners who make up the labor relations committee have been regularly meeting with Roberts and her staff in recent months to work on a new collective bargaining agreement. Those talks have been productive, and there is optimism that the sides may be able to work out a new deal by December, sources said.

The CBA needs major work. An influx of unforeseen money from the new national TV contracts has warped the system. I can’t see owners or players wanting to keep the system in tact, though both sides should be inclined to continue receiving billions without interruption.

Even if one side opts out – the only opportunity to do so before the CBA expires in 2021 – the agreement will run until June 30. There’d still be plenty of time to strike a deal before a work stoppage, and the pressure of that deadline could help.

But a signed, sealed and delivered CBA before Dec. 15 is the golden ticket – a way to preempt lockout hysteria before it has a chance to get going.

Kevin Durant on Stephen Curry shoes: ‘They were bad’


Sound the alarms. The Warriors have their first public dispute.

Put four stars – Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson – on a team, and they’ll argue about more than who’s best. They’ll cut into deeper issues.

Like shoes.

Joined by Durant and Nas on Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons, Simmons asked Nas his opinion of Curry’s shoes – the ones Curry defended as fire and most certainly were not fire. In fact, Simmons specifically said he couldn’t ask Durant the question.

Durant answered anyway:

They were bad.

The sneaker wars are an under-discussed element of Durant’s move to Golden State – especially because Durant (Nike) and Curry (Under Armour) are each so intertwined with the other company. Durant agreed to a massive Under Armour contract in 2014, but Nike exercised its matching rights to keep him. Curry, a former Nike endorser, left for Under Armour after Nike botched its presentation by leaving Durant’s name on a slide.

Through Curry, Under Armour rode the Warriors’ rapidly increasing popularity. Now, Durant has Nike cutting into the action.

On one hand, Durant made a dig several had made before. On the other hand, he’s disparaging a product designed to make Curry and his corporate partner a lot of money – while working with a competing company.

Curry and Durant are teammates in Golden State. They’re competitors in the shoe industry. That can create a real tension.

I really doubt this causes their bond to snap, but it also might seem like more than a harmless joke to some involved.

Report: Cavaliers concerned about Iman Shumpert beyond DUI

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Actress Teyana Taylor (L) and NBA player Iman Shumpert attend the Globe Fashion Week X China Moment fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Art Beam on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows)
Mireya Acierto/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows
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Iman Shumpert was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of DUI and reportedly cited for marijuana possession.

Terry Pluto of The Cleveland Plain Dealer on the Cavaliers:

That part is not huge unless it’s something that’s reoccurring. They are concerned about Shumpert in general.

That sounded ominous, but it was also possible Pluto – speaking in a video – didn’t intend to give that impression. Well…


There is a lot of drama and gossip about Iman Shumpert and actress/singer Teyana Taylor. I’m not getting into all that, you can search it on the web if you care about the details.

The Cavaliers guard also was arrested for a DUI for being high on marijuana in August.

Are there reasons for concern about Shumpert? I briefly discussed that in a video earlier in the week. I’ve since done more checking, and there are indeed some issues.

Now, I’m fairly certain Pluto is trying to relay there’s something going on here, or at least that the Cavs are worried something is going on here. What that is, I’m not sure. Pluto never overtly says, but he hits on three themes:

  • Shumpert signed a four-year, $40 million contract then had an down season.
  • He arrived at training camp with a broken wrist from a pickup game.
  • The Cavs want Shumpert to focus on shooting 3s and defending, not taking a larger offensive role.

If Shumpert just had a down year, maybe due to multiple injuries, fine. That happens to players, and it’s not always cause for greater concern. But the insinuation here seems to be that the Cavs are worried what caused Shumpert’s injuries and/or his diminished production.

Cleveland reportedly shopped Shumpert before the trade deadline. I wonder how actively they’ll pursue a deal this year.