07-18-2013, 08:19 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Tokyo from Brooklyn
Re: Dolan threathened to trade Shumpert if he didn't play Summer League
At some point Shump has to improve his game.
Iman draws Dolan’s, Woody’s ire for early summer league exit
Whether Knicks owner James Dolan has forever soured on Iman Shumpert is unsubstantiated. What is crystal clear is Knicks coach Mike Woodson preferred Iman Shumpert had played more than just one game in the Las Vegas summer league.
Shumpert arrived late and left early. The summer league was sandwiched between two non-Knick events. One was the basketball camp Shumpert runs in his hometown of Oak Park, Ill., which kids pay to attend. The second was an NBA-sponsored trip China to be a league ambassador.
The organization wanted to look at Shumpert at point guard, but didn’t get a long look. Starting at point guard alongside rookie Tim Hardaway Jr., Shumpert, playing with his high-top dyed blond in the front, was 0-for-5 from the field with four turnovers and four assists in the summer-league opener last Friday.
Woodson said upon Shumpert’s departure the Knicks combo guard had “a prior commitment,’’ referring to China. Woodson then gave a pointed critique of Shumpert’s offensive game, saying the Knicks coaches would work with him in earnest when he returned July 26 because he “has a long ways to go.’’
The Shumpert issue took an even more bizarre twist yesterday with a YouTube video that surfaced in which ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith made an off-the-cuff, off-the-air remark to Dwight Howard during a taping, indicating Dolan was unhappy with Shumpert’s summer league.
“And by the way, [James] Dolan was ready to trade [Shumpert] because he didn’t want to work out in the summer league,’’ Smith said to Howard, according to the videotape.
Smith added to Howard, “Dolan’s talking about trading him. I said, ‘Trade who? You better hold on to that boy. You better not lose Iman Shumpert.’ That boy can play.”
Smith addressed the video on his ESPN radio show yesterday and said he heard Dolan felt that way before the summer league began an doesn’t believe the Knicks owner still feels that way because Shumpert showed up in Las Vegas.
After Shumpert bolted town, Woodson said the guard needed to improve his offensive repertoire. With the possibility of J.R. Smith missing the start of the season because of knee surgery, the Knicks appear desperate for Shumpert to emerge as their secondary scorer while also dabbling at point guard.
The Knicks are still searching for a third point guard via free agency. Aaron Brooks, Sebastian Telfair and Euroleaguer Bobby Brown are on their radar but they may just roll the dice with summer league standout Toure Murry.
“We’re going to develop [Shumpert] as the summer goes along,’’ Woodson said. “There’s a lot of individual things he’s got to learn from a skill standpoint to better his game. He’s been good the last few years. He still has a ways to go in terms of things we expect him to do for us.
“He’s got to develop go-to moves where he can score the basketball and get shots,’’ Woodson added. “Defensively, I like everything about him. Offensively, he has to learn to play with the basketball, get players off and get and make shots for himself.’’
When Shumpert had a slow start upon his return last January, the Knicks were listening to trade offers, with Phoenix offering Jared Dudley. Shumpert had a strong finish to the season and it would seem highly unlikely they will trade him — unless it brings them Boston’s Rajon Rondo.
Shumpert said in Vegas he was not there against his will. Some fans were upset Shumpert was forced to play summer league, fearing he may reinjure his knee.
“I’m here with a smile,’’ Shumpert said. “I’m not here with angry eyes. I’m happy to be healthy.’’
Despite entering his third season, Shumpert had never played summer league. The lockout wiped out summer league when he was a rookie and he was rehabbing his ACL tear last July.
“I can get hurt working out by myself in the gym,’’ Shumpert said before the opener. “I’m not thinking about me getting hurt.’’