Iman Shumpert slums at the Summer League so not to become a Piston (Getty Images)
Now, this is just gossip. Gossip not worthy of the airwaves, according to Stephen A. Smith, and not worth a column of Smith’s own. What this is, via Deadspin, is a satellite feed of the in-between moments of Smith’s interview with Dwight Howard from this week, pirated bits that show Smith telling Howard that New York Knicks owner James Dolan wanted to trade Iman Shumpert because Shumpert wouldn’t take part in the NBA’s Summer League. Even though Shumpert took part in the Summer League.
Smith doesn’t really break any stories, and he spends most of us his day shouting at fellow ESPN windbag Skip Bayless, making hay off of trumped up insolence and whoever’s name is trending that particular day, for the hopeless sorts that like to watch basic cable TV at home late in the morning. So for Smith to choose to hang onto this particular bit of scoop speaks volumes – he either doesn’t want to double-cross his buddies with the Knicks, or (far less likely) he didn’t feel the rumor was well-sourced enough to run with.
(I know, I’m laughing at that last part too. Just want to cover all my bases.)
This is what James Dolan does, though. As Eric Freeman reminded us earlier on Wednesday, he’s created the lousiest, most duplicitous front office in pro basketball. I’d call it the most duplicitous front office in all of sports, but I’m not familiar enough with awful organizations in other pro sports enough to comment. Dolan and his cronies don’t mind lying, they don’t mind making terrible and rash decisions, and they don’t mind keeping the truth from their fans.
And Shumpert, it should be noted, didn’t mind playing in the Orlando Summer League. In a rare move for a veteran of his status, Shumpert participated in a game last week. From Jim Baumbach at Newsday:
Perhaps the most established of the roughly 250 players who came here, Shumpert was encouraged by the Knicks to at least play a few games here and continue working on his offensive game in the wake of his breakout postseason.
Shumpert arrived Thursday for the team's final practice on the UNLV campus before Saturday's opener, and he's embracing the chance to be a grizzled veteran for a change.
"I'm here with a smile," he said. "I'm not here with the angry eyes."
"Iman's here to play basketball," he said. "I could get hurt working out by myself in the gym. I'm not thinking about me getting hurt. I feel like the worst has already happened. I tore my ACL in a freak accident. I don't think God has it out for me. I'll be all right."
(Now, if James Dolan wants to trade Iman Shumpert for referring to himself in the third person, I’m OK with that.)
The Knicks could win 60 games next year and claw their way to their first title in 41 years. That wouldn’t take away from what a joke of an organization this is.
Reportedly. From a report that isn’t actually a report.
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