Report: Nuggets shoot down Iman Shumpert for Kenneth Faried trade

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UPDATE 6:08 pm: The Kenneth Faried for Iman Shumpert talks are dead, at least according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, who tweeted this:

Denver has made it clear to Kenneth Faried’s reps: There are no active talks involving him. Knicks offered Shumpert. Denver rejected idea.

Of course, if you were trying to negotiate a better deal this would be your first response and what you would leak. Talks have a way or resurecting, so don’t assume this is the end.

That said, I would understand Denver cutting it off. Faried to New York, where they are in desperate need of front line help with Tyson Chandler out, always made sense. Shumpert to Denver less so — yes Shumpert can fill some of the Andre Iguodala hole but the Nuggets can likely do better, they will want picks and sweetners with Shumpert. And the Knicks don’t have any first round picks they can move until 2018.

Wojnarowski added this:

3:18 pm: Denver’s new coach and front office like the polished offense J.J. Hickson brings and we told you before they were looking to shop Kenneth Faried this season.

Right now the Knicks desperately need help along the front line with Tyson Chandler out at least a month (likely more), and the Energizer Bunny that is Faried would be a good fit (and it works when Chandler returns as well).

So now two sides are having intensifying talks about a Faried for Shumpert trade, reports Frank Isola at the New York Daily News, but the price Denver wants is high — Iman Shumpert.

Talks between the Knicks and Nuggets centered around a deal that would send Iman Shumpert to Denver for forward Kenneth Faried have intensified in recent days, the Daily News has learned.

According to a league source, no deal is imminent, although the struggling Knicks feel they need to make a move to bolster their banged-up frontcourt.

Those two have similar salaries and could be traded for each other straight up but Marc Stein of ESPN says the deal could stall because Denver wants more.

But sources told ESPN.com that multiple teams have approached the Knicks with interest in Shumpert and said New York remains undecided about whether to trade its coveted perimeter defensive specialist.

Yet it’s believed that Denver is also seeking draft compensation in addition to Shumpert in exchange for Faried, who averaged 11.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in 2012-13 in his second season as a pro. That could prove to be too high a price for the Knicks, who would prefer not to part with Shumpert but understand that he is by far their most attractive current trade asset.

On the surface, this trade makes sense for both sides.

The Knicks need help along the front line and Faried provides that — however Knicks fans should be warned he is not a great on ball or strong side defender (he is good at coming from the weak side to get a block). Faried can get the Knicks offense just by outworking people. With Shumpert out J.R. Smith moves into the starting five and it will mean more minutes for Tim Hardaway Jr. and likely even Beno Udrih.

Denver misses the perimeter defense that Andre Iguodala brought last season and Shumpert helps fill that role. While Shumpert doesn’t really create his own shot he has an improved jumper (35.3 percent this season from three) and is strong in transition.

That said, Denver is currently without JaVale McGee (stress fracture) so you have to question if they should move a big right now. Also, Faried’s offense mainly comes from running the floor faster than the other bigs, but nobody else in New York is going to play at that pace (maybe Raymond Felton would like to a little more but that’s not a running team in Madison Square Garden).

Plus, Knicks fans love Shumpert and would hate this deal (although Faried would grow on them).

You can see how this deal could happen, but there are always a million things that can trip up a trade. We’ll keep you updated.

Spurs disbanding all-female dance team in favor of co-ed hype team

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Is this the wave of the future?

Since then newly-minted owner Jerry Buss started the Laker Girls’ in 1979, all-female dance teams have become standard around the NBA. However, with how things are now viewed through the prism of the #metoo movement, and reports on how NFL cheerleaders were treated in places such as Washington and Miami, a lot of professional sports teams are re-thinking the concept of female dance teams.

The Spurs are apparently doing away with theirs, to be replaced by a 35-person co-ed “hype team.”

The Spurs have not said officially that this is the end of the Silver Dancers. “Lack of interest” is an odd reason to give — is there suddenly less interest now than there was five years ago? A number of teams have both female dance teams and co-ed “spirit” or “hype” teams.

Far more likely, this is about perception in what is a conservative state and marketplace.

The question is will this become a trend, both around the NBA and professional sports. As the teams try to evolve and make more dynamic their in-arena experiences, are the dance teams going to fade from view?

Just something to keep and eye on going forward.

Just a reminder: Spurs hope to repair relationship with Kawhi Leonard, offer-him $219 million

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It’s everyone’s favorite parlor game around the NBA: Where will Kawhi Leonard play next season? Philadelphia? Los Angeles? Somewhere else? Fans of 29 teams are posting their trade scenarios online, while GMs of 29 teams privately have tried to come up with offers that could tempt San Antonio.

The most likely answer: San Antonio.

While the relationship between Leonard and the Spurs is frayed — and with the people close to Leonard and in his ear seemingly trying to push him out the door — the Spurs would rather keep one of the five best players in the NBA (when healthy) in-house. From Tom Osbourne of the San Antonio Express-News.

Still, the Spurs hope to meet with Leonard and his representatives soon in a bid to mend fences and pave the way for Leonard to come to terms on a five-year $219 million supermax contract that he will be eligible to receive starting July 1. If attempts to patch up the relationship fail, the Spurs will be forced to explore trading a player coach Gregg Popovich once labeled “the future face of the franchise.”

The timing of that meeting has been slowed in part because of the death of Popovich’s wife and everyone involved understandably giving him all the space wants. It will happen.

Can the relationship be salvaged? Maybe, $219 million can mend a lot of fences. There are things the Spurs can and would be willing to do to promote Leonard more (although that all starts with him getting out of his comfort zone and building his brand, starting with speaking more in public). Also, Gregg Popovich was able to sooth LaMarcus Aldridge‘s ego when the big man demanded a trade, and not only did the player stay he had an All-NBA level season. Popovich and Leonard still have a strong relationship.

Is that enough? Time will tell, but people around the league think at best it’s a coin flip. Things are not good right now. However, the Spurs will get the first crack at fixing this before they are forced to consider a trade.

Julius Randle’s camp not convinced he’s a Laker priority

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Last November, Julius Randle walked into Staples Center wearing a sweatshirt that said: “pay me.”

Yet he and the Lakers could not come to terms on a rookie contract extension — the Lakers could have had him starting at $12.4 million a year, but wanted to keep their cap space and options open. Now, it’s going to cost a lot more to keep the restricted free agent who averaged 16.1 points per game on 55.8 percent shooting with eight rebounds a game. There are rumors that the previous contract negotiations left a bad taste in Randle’s mouth and he wants out.

Lakers’ fans want Randle back. The Lakers still have rights to match any offer and the front office has said Randle is a priority. Randle’s camp is not so sure about that last part, they haven’t seen the evidence, reports Tania Ganguli at The Los Angeles Times.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka told The Times on Friday that the Lakers’ front office is constantly in touch with Julius Randle’s representatives, and there has been “a mutual exchange of interest and hoping that we can work something out for both sides.”

Randle’s camp is unsure of how mutual the interest has been.

“We still have no indication of where Julius stands among the Lakers’ priorities, or if he is a priority at all,” Randle’s agent Aaron Mintz said Saturday in response to Pelinka’s comments. “We are looking forward to the marketplace in July, when we will get a clear picture of Julius’ future.”

That is negotiation posturing by Mintz, no doubt. He might as well have said, “show me the money.”

Don’t expect other teams to wait around on Randle offers while the Lakers figure out their free agent possibilities — Paul George, LeBron James (probably not him) — come July 1. Other teams are interested (Dallas among them) and are going to try to move quickly to force the Lakers’ hand.

Once those other offers are on the table, we’ll see where the Lakers’ priorities really are.

Rumor: Dallas to target big men — Cousins, Jordan, Randle — in free agency

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The Dallas Mavericks have been hunting for a center ever since they thought they had DeAndre Jordan, right before the Clippers locked him in a house and forced him to change his mind (that’s not really how it went down, but it makes a better story than the truth). It’s why Dallas has been linked to Mohamed Bamba in the draft — a big, defensive-minded, rim runner who could develop into a great pick-and-roll partner with Dennis Smith Jr.

However, the Mavericks may not want to wait for Bamba — or any other young big — to develop.

Expect the Mavericks to go after one of the name big men on the market in free agency this summer, reports Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer from the NBA Combine in Chicago.

Ever since word spread in league circles in March that Dirk Nowitzki would return to the Mavericks for his 21st season, there have also been rumblings that the Dallas front office will look to make additions this summer that can put the team back on a winning track. The Mavericks can create space to sign a max free agent, and multiple league sources expect them to pursue a trio of big men: DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins, and restricted free agent Julius Randle.

Jordan has not yet officially opted out of the $24.1 million he is owed next season by the Los Angeles Clippers (although most observers expect him to). It is possible Dallas and other teams are not going to offer that much per season for Jordan, but if he can get three years starting at closer to $20 million per that’s a lot more guaranteed money. Also, does he want out of Los Angeles now that Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are gone and will he take a little less per year to get to a new team?

We know Dallas likes him and Jordan has a relationship with Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle from the last go around.

How much money and how many years would Dallas be willing to risk on Cousins coming off a torn Achilles? More than the Pelicans (who don’t have the money to replace Cousins with anywhere near that level player if he bolts)?

Randle showed a lot of promise as a bully inside who can run some pick-and-roll with Smith, but do the Mavericks want to try to outbid the Lakers (which leads to the question of what other free agents Los Angeles might get and how much they are willing to pay to keep Randle)?

We know this, Mark Cuban does not sit quietly on the sidelines of free agency. Expect the Mavericks to be aggressive players this summer.