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Iman Shumpert looking forward to not just ‘standing in the corner’ on offense

Iman ShumpertCount Iman Shumpert as one of the players looking forward to all the changes the New York Knicks made.

Speaking at his Citi Basketball Procamp at House of Sports on Tuesday, Shump said he was looking forward to the team’s new coach Derek Fisher and president Phil Jackson implementing the triangle offense.

“The way it’s set up, you can start three guards, it really doesn’t matter. Everybody’s going to get touches, everybody gets opportunities to cut,” Shumpert said of the triangle offense. “It’s constant action going on. So I think that I’ll be able to capitalize on that and I’ll be able to use my athleticism a lot more than standing in the corner. I know this year in the offense I will have a lot more opportunities to cut and get to the basket.”

Shumpert averaged 6.7 points on 37.8 percent shooting playing 26.5 minutes per game last season in the Knicks’ offense, which was mostly an iso offense that centered around Carmelo Anthony. ‘Melo is still on the team despite flirting with the Bulls and Lakers in free agency, but he may be sharing a little more now that they have a new offensive system. Still, Shumpert has to recover from knee surgery and will still share minutes with My Name Is Earl and Tim Hardaway Jr. Don’t expect some sort of huge boost to his stats.

Kevin Love to Glen Taylor: Focus on your own team

Kevin-Love-bald-headMinnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor took some parting shots at Kevin Love on Tuesday, pointing out some shortcomings in the star forward’s game and wondering out loud if he will be a good fit for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Love responded on Wednesday by basically telling Taylor to worry about himself.

Love’s message during an appearance on “Mike and Mike” was that Taylor received enough of a haul in the trade that he should be focusing on the Timberwolves and nothing else.

“I think emotions are definitely running high right now,” Love said. “For Glen to say that, I just think that he should be focusing on the players that he just received. I mean, he has two of the No. 1 picks in the last two drafts: Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. He has another guy who can really play in Thaddeus Young.

“I think he got a lot for me. So I’d be focusing even more on that. More than anything, I’m just excited to start my time in Cleveland, get to work with my new teammates, and start with this new family here.”

Taylor is obviously bitter that he was unable to keep Love. He admitted that he regrets not giving Love the deal the three-time NBA All-Star sought back in 2012, but in the next breath he questioned whether Love can stay healthy and handle not being the biggest star on his team.

Personally, I agree with Love. Minnesota got a player in Wiggins that many feel could be the next Kobe Bryant. If you can’t keep your biggest star, you might as well get one with no ceiling in return. Taylor has nothing to be angry about after the way the Love era ended.

T-Wolves owner Glen Taylor takes parting shots at Kevin Love

Kevin Love mustache

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is kicking himself for not signing Kevin Love to a maximum five-year contract extension, but the team owner still has some criticism for the franchise’s former top player.

Though Taylor admitted at a press conference Tuesday that he regrets not giving Love the deal the forward sought in 2012, he did mention some shortcomings in the forward’s game.

Let’s start with the concerns over Love’s health.

“The only thing I still have a question mark about is his health,” Taylor said via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I had that concern then. I still have that concern, and Cleveland should have that concern, too: if he can keep his health. If they sign him to a five-year contract like they’re thinking about, that’s a big contract on a guy who’s had some times when he has missed games.”

That’s fair considering Love has gone through multiple wrist injuries and a knee surgery.

Taylor then took a shot at Love’s defense, which has widely been acknowledged as a weakness. He also said Love would be the No. 3 player on the Cleveland Cavaliers behind LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

“I question Kevin if this is going to be the best deal for him,” Taylor said of Love. “I think he’ll be the third player on a team. I don’t think he’ll get a lot of credit if they do really well. I think he’ll get the blame if they don’t do well. He’ll have to learn to handle that. He’s around a couple guys who are awful good.

“Now I’m not saying Kevin isn’t good. I think where he maybe got away with some stuff not playing defense on our team, I’m not sure how it’s going to work in Cleveland. I guess they will ask him to play more defense.”

Way to kick a guy on his way out!

If Taylor doesn’t think Love will be a key player on the Cavs and get a lot of credit for the team’s success — and they will succeed — then he’s every bit as nuts as I thought he was and that helps explain why his team has sucked for so long. This may be good for Love. Taylor’s thoughts could motivate him.

Shabazz Napier having trouble adjusting to ball the NBA uses

Shabazz NapierShabazz Napier did not look sharp in his professional debut during the NBA summer league. The former UConn star, who led his team to an improbable national championship back in April, shot 28-for-102 from the field and turned the ball over 38 times. Napier had eight turnovers in his first summer league game, which is more than he had during any single game in his 143-game collegiate career.

While nerves may have played a role in Napier’s shaky play, he said the biggest issue he is having is a physical one — he can’t get used to playing with a different basketball.

“I just want to continue to get better at everything,” Napier told Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “But my biggest thing is getting comfortable with that basketball. That’s one of my biggest problems and it’s kind of ironic, because it’s a basketball. But it’s different than a college basketball.”

[Related: Shabazz Napier calls himself best point guard in NBA Draft]

Napier, who used a Nike ball at UConn, said he never wanted to touch an NBA ball for the same reason some guys won’t lay a finger on a championship trophy until they have earned it.

“The funny thing is, I never really touched an NBA ball until I left school,” he said. “I told myself I never wanted to. I felt like it was superstitious, like something bad was going to happen, like I had to earn it. I never touched it and it’s definitely different. This ball is leather and the biggest thing for me now is getting comfortable with it.”

That excuse will only fly for so long, as I’m sure Napier knows. In addition to adjusting to the NBA ball, Napier is likely going to have some issues with shot selection. He was the clear-cut leader of the Huskies and had plenty of hot and cold streaks. While Napier was incredibly clutch, some of the shots he took were downright ridiculous. That won’t fly at the NBA level, no matter what the balls are made out of.

LeBron James excited to bring chalk toss back to Cleveland

LeBron-James-chalk-tossLeBron James may be coming back to Cleveland as a more experienced and mature player and person, but he plans to act like he never left. In addition to keeping the same jersey number for his second stint with the Cavaliers, LeBron is also looking forward to bringing back the chalk toss.

LeBron posted a video game simulation of his chalk toss on Instagram over the weekend.

“I swear I can’t wait for this moment again!!” he wrote. “#TheLand #PowderFillsTheRoom #StriveForGreatness.”

[Related: Dwight Howard mocks LeBron's chalk toss in Cleveland]

LeBron did the chalk toss throughout his time with the Cavs and brought it with him to Miami, but he hasn’t done it much in recent years. While I haven’t watched every Heat game in the past two years, I can’t find any evidence of James doing his chalk routine since roughly 2012. Maybe he was saving it for the big return.

Andrew Wiggins’ HS coach: ‘Andrew could care less what LeBron James thinks of him’

Andrew-WigginsAndrew Wiggins might as well have been handed his walking papers by the Cavaliers the day LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland. Like the rest of us, the No. 1 overall pick knew the Cavs were looking to deal him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. But was he concerned about it? It doesn’t appear so.

According to Wiggins’ Huntington Prep high school coach Rob Fulford, the former Kansas star has been unfazed by both trade rumors and what LeBron thinks of him.

“Andrew is such a good kid; he’s just a classy kid, very humble, very respectful,” Fulford told Jeff Caplan of NBA.com. “I think this whole process with the trade rumors, he could care less. That kid just wants to play basketball. The fact that LeBron never reached out to him, Andrew could care less what LeBron James thinks of him.”

When LeBron wrote his heartfelt essay for Sports Illustrated announcing that he was coming home, he mentioned how excited he is to work with several new teammates. Wiggins was not among those mentioned, which was hardly an oversight. Wiggins, 19, then told reporters earlier this month that he had not spoken to James once since they became teammates.

Kansas coach Bill Self later said that Wiggins told him he wants to be traded. Fulford basically said the same, noting that Wiggins can now be the star of the show in Minnesota.

“Andrew’s going to be a superstar,” he said. “This gives him a platform from Day 1 to kind of be the guy, and he’s ready for that. … It’s one of those things, him being on a team where it’s kind of really going to be his, I think, is a good thing for him.”

With Love out of Minnesota and Timberwolves fans desperate for a winning team, Wiggins will have an opportunity to be the hero. Playing in Cleveland with a kid from Akron would not have presented him with the same opportunity.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Kobe sent LeBron a great text message in 2010

Kobe Bryant LeBron James

Kobe Bryant’s incredibly competitive spirit was on full display in a text message he sent LeBron James during the infamous summer of 2010.

The summer of 2010 was the one where LeBron left Cleveland for Miami to form a Big 3 with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Prior to James announcing his decision, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the MVP’s future.

Would he stay in Cleveland? Would he go to the Knicks? Would he consider the Lakers? The Heat weren’t even in the picture according to most insiders.

Regardless of where LeBron chose to go, Kobe had a warning for him.

According to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, Kobe sent the following awesome text to LeBron that summer:

“Go ahead and get another MVP, if you want. And find the city you want to live in. But we’re going to win the championship. Don’t worry about it.”

Does it get more Kobe Bryant than that?

[Also see: Kobe and LeBron trade trash talk on Christmas 2010]

Despite his bravado, Bryant couldn’t have been more wrong about the message he sent LeBron.

Though the Lakers had just won the title — their second in a row (LeBron won NBA MVP both seasons) — James led his Heat to the NBA Finals each of the next four seasons. The Mavs won the title the next season, and then LeBron got his rings — two in a row — before the Spurs ending that streak in June. The Lakers haven’t been back to the Finals since Kobe sent that message.

[Related: Kobe tells LeBron one ring is not enough]

I’m not a Kobe fan, but you have to admire his competitive spirit. That guy is oozing with confidence and belief in himself and his teammates. His drive, desire and will to win have helped him win five NBA titles.

That story about the text message came as part of a cool article Ding wrote on “untold stories” about Kobe. I suggest you check out the entire thing for more nice Kobe stories.