Iman Shumpert active for Cavaliers, expected to make Cleveland debut Friday vs. Hornets


Iman Shumpert has missed his teams’ last 20 games with a dislocated shoulder, but is set to make his return to the lineup on Friday when the Cavaliers host the Hornets.

Shumpert was acquired from the Knicks as part of the three-team deal that sent Dion Waiters to Oklahoma City, but has been unavailable for the eight games he’s been in Cleveland due to recovering from the injury.

All systems are apparently go, and Shumpert can expect to make his Cavaliers debut against Charlotte.

From Chris Haynes of

After recovering from a dislocated left shoulder, guard Iman Shumpert will make his debut as a Cavalier off the bench tonight when they welcome the Charlotte Hornets to The Q. …

Shumpert, 24, is expected to instantly provide defensive toughness and an edge on the perimeter. He was one of their prime targets to improve their point-of-entry defense. His ability to focus primarily on shutting down the opponent’s go-to perimeter scorer should free up LeBron James on the offensive end.

That last part is the dream where Shumpert is concerned, but it remains to see if that will be the reality. His individual defensive numbers with New York this season were dismal, but that could have been a function of his disinterest in playing for a losing team that had made it clear he wasn’t a part of its future.

This is good news for the Cavaliers, however, any way you slice it. We’re past the midway point of the season now, so every game is precious in terms of an opportunity for the team to build some cohesiveness from a chemistry standpoint.

Shumpert has a chance to become a legitimate part of the rotation, and that starts tonight against a Hornets team that is 7-2 in its last nine contests.

Charles Barkley: “Chris Paul doesn’t deserve to make the All-Star team”


Chris Paul has been selected for the last seven All-Star Games, played in six of them and started four.

This season CP3 is averaging 17.3 points and dishing out 9.8 assists a game, he has a .579 true shooting percentage well above the league average and has a PER of 24.7 — all of those numbers right around his career averages — while leading the Clippers to a 29-14 record.

But in a loaded Western Conference deep with guards Charles Barkley says Chris Paul doesn’t deserve to make the All-Star Team. None of the guys on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” picked Paul as an All-Star reserve. Barkley went on the Clippers’ flagship radio station Friday, The Beast 980 in Los Angeles, and defended his choice.

“Chris Paul doesn’t deserve to make the All-Star team. I love Chris. I’ve said that he’s the best leader we’ve got in the NBA now, but he’s not an All-Star this year. There are too many guys head of him. Steph Curry is the MVP probably, so far this year in the NBA. You’ve got Klay Thompson too.

“Steph is the leading vote-getter, and he’s best the best PG in the NBA this year. Kobe’s there, and that’s going to be the big decision, but then you’ve got James Harden, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard…. It’s going to be very difficult for Chris to make the team this year.”

I think Barkley is wrong here.

Yes, Stephen Curry is the leading vote getter, MVP candidate and starter at the point. As it should be. Yes, Kobe Bryant was voted in by the fans (even though it appears he will miss the game due to injury).

But that leaves still three or four more guard spots, depending on how you want to use your “wild card” slots. I think we can all agree that James Harden should make the team (and be slotted as a starter if Kobe is out) and Damian Lillard should be in as well.

After that, who are you putting ahead of CP3? On Barkley’s list on TNT he had Russell Westbrook and Klay Thompson ahead of Paul. Both guys having great seasons but Westbrook missed a lot of games with injuries and Thompson, while having a great season, is not the floor general or leader of an elite team the way Paul is — CP3 means more to the Clippers.

Barkley is big on rewarding winning teams… um, the Clippers are 29-14, that’s a 55-win pace? No, the Clips have not lived up to the preseason hype, they’ve been maddeningly inconsistent, but they are still winning. A lot.

After that there are great choices out West, I hate to see Mike Conley miss the team, but the conference is just loaded.

That said, if you’re leaving Chris Paul off your team you’re doing it wrong.

Wale says he’s talking to Kanye West about designing new Wizards uniforms


Former Nets owner Jay Z ushered in Brooklyn’s black-and-white color scheme and helped designed the team’s jerseys.

Drake is involved in the Raptors’ rebranding, including Toronto’s new logo.

Now, Wale – a D.C. native and a “creative liaison” for the Wizards – could be the next rapper to shape an NBA team’s look. And he’s seeking input from Kanye West.

Wale, via Dan Friedell of ESPN:

I want to be a shot in the arm to DC basketball. My job is to provide a spark, at all costs. I’m not going to do anything corny, but I’m talking to Kanye about designing new uniforms.

I have no idea whether Wale and Kanye would design a good uniform, but I’d be excited to find out – which is why the Wizards are enlisting their help, even if it’s just to attach their names to the project.

The Wizards’ regular uniforms, a modernized twist on the franchise’s previous duds, are already among the best in the league. I wouldn’t want to throw those out the window.

But Washington’s alternates are pretty weak. I’d welcome Wale and Kanye creating a new third jersey for the team.

Whatever Wale does with the uniforms, here’s some advice: I know everyone in D.C. is going gaga over Kevin Durant, but don’t follow Drake’s lead on that front. It won’t go over well with the NBA.

Report: Kobe first injured shoulder during preseason, has been playing through it all year


An MRI revealed that Kobe Bryant has suffered a torn rotator cuff injury to his right shoulder, and while the severity of the injury is not yet known, it’s certainly something that could cause him to be shut down for the remainder of the season.

As it turns out, this is not a new injury; Bryant first suffered it during the preseason, and has been playing through it all year. But he aggravated it somewhat severely in Wednesday night’s loss in New Orleans.

From Ramona Shelburne of

Kobe first injured this shoulder in the preseason, according to sources. Has been playing w/ it all year. It just got worse last night

And from Ken Berger of

On Kobe Bryant, there’s “concern” within Lakers this could be season-ending, source says. But nothing definitive until docs examine him.

There have been rumblings that the Lakers may choose to shut down Bryant at some point during this lost season, and this injury, even if it’s only a partial tear, would provide more than enough of a legitimate reason to do so.

L.A. has zero chance of getting anywhere near the playoffs, and with Bryant under contract for one additional season, it may be worth saving him in case the Lakers are able to convince one or more impactful free agents to come to Los Angeles this summer.

If Bryant does miss significant time, it’ll open the door for someone more deserving to make the All-Star team out West. The guard position is extremely deep with guys like James Harden, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook and Klay Thompson all seemingly in need of a spot, but one would likely have been left out had Bryant been healthy enough to appear. Assuming the injury now forces him out of action, there should be room for everyone who has a legitimate case to make it to the midseason exhibition in NYC.

Who should be the All-Star Game reserves? Here’s our picks.


Now we know the starters for the All-Star Game in New York Feb. 15.

We also know that Mike Budenholzer and Steve Kerr will be the coaches. We know that Ariana Grande will be the halftime entertainment. We know that some confused out-of-town fans will take the train to Penn Station then still ask someone how to get to Madison Square Garden from there.

What we don’t know is who will be the reserves for the All-Star Game. With the starters in place the coaches from around the league vote to round out the rest of the field. Those reserves will be announced officially Jan. 29. But we’re not that patient, so we’re giving you our picks today. The entire team at ProBasketballTalk — Kurt Helin, Brett Pollakoff, Dan Feldman and Sean Highkin — have made their selections, and while we agree on some we also discuss below where we disagree.

Like the coaches do, we picked two backup guards, three backup front court players and two wild cards.

(For the record, we are not dealing with the Kobe Bryant injury in this post, nor potentially LaMarcus Aldridge. It is very likely Kobe will be out of the All-Star Game, at which point Commissioner Adam Silver gets to pick his replacement on the team, while Steve Kerr would pick who will start in his place.)



Kurt: This is just a brutal set of choices — it’s not that just there are guys like Klay Thompson, Mike Conley, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki who just missed my cut, it’s that guys like Tony Parker or Monta Ellis are deserving and can’t even get close to serious consideration. The West is just overloaded with talent. The hardest call for me was whether or not to include Kevin Durant on the team — he’s been amazing when he’s played but missed a lot of time. In the end, I just can’t keep the second best player on the planet off the squad if he’s healthy, and clearly he is.

Brett: The West is just too stacked this year, which means plenty of deserving players will end up getting shut out. Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins are the biggest snubs, and of course, guys like Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan would get in if the talent pool was more diluted. I don’t see Klay usurping any of the guards, and if Cousins gets in, it may be at Howard’s expense. But I simply couldn’t justify leaving any of the guys I selected off of the roster.

Dan: With my criteria, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were slam-dunk choices, where others might debate whether they’ve played enough. Very little separated DeMarcus Cousins, Tim Duncan, Chris Paul and Damian Lillard (in) and Dirk Nowitzki and LaMarcus Aldridge (out). Because I’m not worried time missed, I also gave serious to Kawhi Leonard, whose impact on the Spurs in limited action is unquestioned. Klay Thompson wasn’t too difficult an omission, which says a lot about the West. And if Thompson didn’t come that close, other seemingly reasonable candidates like Mike Conley, Tyson Chandler, Gordon Hayward, DeAndre Jordan, Derrick Favors, Goran Dragic and Draymond Green didn’t have much of a chance.



Kurt: Finding enough representation for the Hawks was the challenge, because you can argue they should have four guys. I couldn’t select Kyle Korver over Jeff Teague and I couldn’t leave off any of the other guards — Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler have been fantastic and deserved their spots, and without LeBron in Miami Wade has stepped up his game this season.

Brett: You could make a case for the Hawks getting four players in — I mean, the team has won 27 of its last 29 games. But Bosh is worthy, so Horford (regrettably) just misses the cut.

Dan: Kyrie Irving vs. Jeff Teague was my toughest decision in this process. Teague has been better this season, but I pick All-Stars based on which player I believe is best at this moment. That’s still Irving, who has a stronger track record but has been (somewhat fairly, somewhat unfairly) tainted by the Cavaliers’ early struggles. By the same logic, I wasn’t going to punish Kevin Love for Cleveland marginalizing him.  Nikola Vucevic, Kyle Korver, Kemba Walker and Andre Drummond also drew consideration.