Two teams on the verge of competing in the upper echelon of the rugged Western Conference – the Rockets and Timberwolves – may still have interest in an NBA trade for Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert, according to recent rumors.
As ESPN’s Dave McMenamin wrote on Oct. 3: “Shumpert could still be traded before the season. Cleveland has 16 guaranteed contracts and needs to either cut a player or unload a player in a deal before the regular season starts. Shumpert’s $10.3 million salary is a lot to pay for a backup – particularly given the Cavs’ luxury tax situation.”
The Rockets have coveted Shumpert for a while now due to his defensive prowess. Houston will obviously have to go through the All-Star backcourts of Golden State and Oklahoma City in the West and desperately need a shutdown defender.
As it always does, however, money is the big hold-up here. The Rockets would need to ditch off the contract of say, a Trevor Ariza ($7.4 million), as well as a smaller contract (Tim Quarterman?) in order to land Shumpert via trade.
While McMenamin wrote that Shumpert could be traded before the start of the Cavaliers’ season next Tuesday against the Celtics, expect the Cavs to hold onto him until Isaiah Thomas returns from injury. The Cavs will be asking a lot from their bench in the first few months of the season, and when Cleveland is sailing smooth – Shumpert is a big part of their success.
The Timberwolves have also consistently been mentioned as an NBA trade landing spot for Shumpert, dating back to a year ago when ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported that Minnesota “inquired about his availability.” There was also Shumpert to Minnesota buzz at the February NBA trade deadline.
Those rumors came before the Timberwolves traded for Jimmy Butler, but Minnesota head coach Tom Thibodeau has always believed that a great defensive team can topple a great offensive team. Loading up on the defensive end, particularly at guard, would be a wise decision for the Timberwolves, who look to be on the verge of something special.
The most likely trade chip that the Timberwolves would send in a trade for Shumpert is big man Cole Adrich, who has been on the NBA trade block recently.
“The Wolves dangled Cole Aldrich and a second round pick in search of veteran help, sources say, and they should experiment with Butler as a small ball power forward,” Lowe reported earlier this month.