Report: Cleveland in “serious discussions” to trade Iman Shumpert to Houston

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Cleveland needs to find a way to beat the Golden State Warriors, and the problem is there is not one move alone — not even landing Paul George (which obviously isn’t happening now) — which would vault them to that level. Cleveland has to get more athletic and versatile. Right now they have some nice role players that help against 28 other teams, but get exposed by the Warriors.

Iman Shumpert is near the top of that list. He’s never been an efficient scorer — his true shooting percentage of 53.6 last season was by far the best of his career, but it’s just above league average — and in the Finals he was virtually unplayable, shooting 23.5 percent. Shumpert shot 36 percent from three last season but struggled in the Finals shooting 22 percent. The defense for which he once was known has slipped in recent years — he’s solid on the ball but his help rotations/team defense is weak, and the Warriors exposed that.

Cleveland has decided to move on and is close to a trade with the Rockets, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are engaged in serious discussions on a deal to send guard Iman Shumpert to the Houston Rockets, according to league sources.

Shumpert would be moved to the Rockets for primarily a package of non-guaranteed contracts, which would allow Cleveland to create financial flexibility to pursue other roster upgrades. Shumpert has two years and $21.3 million left on his contract.

For Cleveland, this would give them the money to re-sign Kyle Korver and go after other players (otherwise they are capped out). This is the kind of move they have to make.

For the Rockets, they get a guy who played for Mike D’Antoni in New York, who likes that system, who can hit threes, and his individual defense would be an upgrade for them off the bench. Put simply, Houston gets some depth. While he may be paid more than he would get on the open market now, he ‘s not outrageously expensive, and the Rockets stockpile non-guaranteed deals just for moves like this.

 

Buddy Hield on Kings getting booed at home: ‘That’s how Sacramento fans are’

Kings guard Buddy Hield
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Buddy Hield is quite familiar with frustration amid the Kings’ disappointing season.

Sacramento fans showed theirs Wednesday, booing the Kings during their home loss to the Mavericks.

Buddy Hield, via James Ham of NBC Sports California:

“Everybody is frustrated, it’s not even them, we’re trying to figure it out too,” Buddy Hield said following the loss. “But it’s the home team and we get booed…we don’t agree with it, but they’re going to voice their opinion.

“I understand their frustration, but like I said, I’m going to keep shooting the ball,” Hield continued. “When I make a three they like me, when I don’t, they hate you. That’s how Sacramento fans are, man, so you’ve got to embrace it.”

Hield seemingly isn’t looking to pick a fight with fans. He made a point to empathize with their frustration.

But I don’t think he’s being fair, either.

Kings fans are far more loyal than swinging between love and hate depending whether or not a shot falls. They’re fed up after 13 – going on 14 – straight seasons missing the playoffs. This year has been particularly discouraging, as Sacramento has backtracked from fun and fast to sad and slow. Losing to Luka Doncica particular grievance – only adds to the irritation.

The Kings’ problems have spanned multiple owners, executives, coaches and players. So, booing this group isn’t totally fair, either. But this is who’s in front of the fans.

If this Sacramento team plays hard and together, fans will embrace it – and stick with it through thinner times.

76ers play 6-on-5 vs. Bulls (video)

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The 76ers found one way to solve their spacing issues.

Philadelphia showed good ball movement, finding Furkan Korkmaz for an open corner 3-pointer. The catch? Korkmaz got open, because the 76ers had six players on the floor.

I love Kyle O'Quinn trying to slink off the court. He wanted to get away with it. Tobias Harris, who jogged to the bench, was practically begging to get caught.

Honestly, I’m a little surprised how quickly the Bulls noticed the violation. It’s not as if their defense scrambling is anything new.

Thirty days after being called ‘day-to-day,’ Karl-Anthony Towns returns to Timberwolves

Karl-Anthony Towns
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Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders called Karl-Anthony Towns “day-to-day” with a left knee sprain.

That was 30 days ago.

Towns finally returned to Minnesota’s lineup, starting against the Pacers tonight.

While out due to his knee, Towns also battled illness. That undoubtedly complicated matters. But the Timberwolves repeatedly calling him “questionable” raises questions about their commitment to transparency. That’s important in an NBA embracing gambling.

Towns’ 17-game absence is a rare dent in his durability. In his first four seasons, Towns missed only five games – two due to a car crash.

Towns is Minnesota’s best player. He could provide a jolt to a team hanging in the playoff race. But, after a strong start, the Timberwolves began to tumble even before Towns went down. They’re probably won’t make the playoffs, though their odds are definitely better with him. At least he returns in time to make an All-Star case.

Knicks’ Marcus Morris after 23-point loss to Suns: ‘We were a better team’

Knicks forward Marcus Morris
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Marcus Morris loathes the Suns.

Unfortunately for him, his Knicks lost to the Suns, 121-98, yesterday.

Morris, via Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News:

“Kudos to Phoenix, but at the end of the day, we were a better team,” Marcus Morris said postgame. “We should have got that win tonight.”

Nahhh.

The Knicks stink. They’ve lost seven of eight. Morris talked about energy, and New York’s could be better. But this is what happens on losing teams. The Knicks’ roster just isn’t good enough. It’s not more complicated than that.

The Suns aren’t great, either. But they’re much better than New York – no matter how much that grinds Morris.