Morning Shootaround

Shootaround (Oct. 4) -- Iman Shumpert ready to be more aggressive for Cleveland Cavaliers

NBA.com staff reports

This morning’s headlines:

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Shumpert has new look, attitude entering 2017-18 — For the Cleveland Cavaliers to make a fourth straight NBA Finals trip, they’ll need everyone fully engaged all season long. After a rough showing in The 2017 Finals, Cavs guard Iman Shumpert took some time away from things, changed up his look and had a good talk with coach Tyronn Lue before training camp. As Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com points out, all of this has Shumpert feeling good as the season nears:

After months of stewing over the NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors, his dwindling minutes and countless off-season trade rumors, Shumpert was able to move forward after a sit-down conversation with head coach Tyronn Lue.

“I talked to him right before we were about to start camp in the summertime,” Lue said Tuesday afternoon. “I let guys have their space. Three straight Finals and I know they have family and they have kids. We talk closer to training camp before we get to Santa Barbara.

“Cut his hair, which I like. Nice, new look. But he’s in a good place and we had a good talk and good conversation.”

Shumpert’s signature flat top is gone, replaced with a tighter look — brush length all the way around.

“My wife makes me try and do my daughter’s hair now and it’s like, if she gotta do her hair and I gotta do my daughter’s hair, and then I gotta do my hair, I don’t got time for that,” Shumpert said with a smile.

Shumpert spent all off-season wondering, waiting until late summer to finally have that one-on-one conversation with Lue.

“It was just that time for me to have a grown-up conversation with him and just let him know, ‘can we just sort of knock down the coach-player thing right now and can I just sort of talk to you personally about how I feel about how everything finished up last year?'” Shumpert said. “He gave me the chance to be honest and he let me know that if at any time during the year I just want to come in the office and sit down with him and kick everybody out. He said if I just want to yell and be crazy, I can do that, so that definitely made me feel a lot better.”

A postseason that began with a DNP ended with another lousy performance on the Finals stage, making four total field goals in the five-game series while logging just four minutes during Game 5.

“My concern is about playoff time and if I feel like I need to work on something to get more time on the floor,” Shumpert said. “I felt like during the Finals, I wanted to play more. I felt like the game I played more — I believe Game 2 — I felt like I was effective and I wanted to be more a part of the game. I felt like I could change the game in different ways. I may not change it the way another guy did but I felt like the way we did when I was in the game, it helped us.”

After numerous free agency additions, Shumpert once again appears caught in a numbers game. But early in training camp, he’s been a staple of the new-look second unit, playing alongside Dwyane Wade, Kyle Korver, Jeff Green and Tristan Thompson.

“I’m going to be more assertive with myself on the offensive end because I felt like a lot of times during the Finals, we needed another guy to make plays and I felt like I could do it but because during the year at times I would shy away from it for the concerns of the team, nobody trusted me with the ball. And I don’t like that feeling at all.

“I don’t like the media and everybody writing stuff like, ‘He’s a defensive (player).’ I don’t like the s—. I don’t like it because I know what I can do with the ball and I know what’s going on. It’s like I try and defer and make sure everybody is happy and make sure we got a good thing going, but if we’re going to sit here and say we need playmakers, then I’m going to be aggressive.

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Warriors start preparations for games in China — The lengthy flight overseas is over. Coach Steve Kerr is (at last) around, too. Now, the Golden State Warriors are getting ready for their Thursday game with the Minnesota Timberwolves at Shenzhen Universiade Center in Shenzhen, China on Thursday. Mark Medina of The Mercury News has more:

An East-Coast based processing center did not deliver Kerr’s passport in time for him to fly on the Warriors’ chartered plane that left on Sunday afternoon and landed on Monday evening nearly 14 hours and 20 minutes later. Instead, Kerr took a direct flight on Sunday evening and arrived in Hong Kong on Tuesday morning.

“We were a little worried he didn’t make the trip,” Warriors development coach Willie Green said. “But we’re glad he made it safely.”

The Warriors wanted to empower their players to spend their first day as it suited them. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala played golf Tuesday morning, with Green saying, “I put my money on Steph” to win on the links. Forward Draymond Green planned to join Kerr at the team’s event in Hong Kong. And nine players of the Warriors’ 18-man roster attended the optional workout.

“It’s a good turnout. It’s optional, though,” Green said. “We don’t hold it against guys if they didn’t want to come, but we got a good number of guys that want to get a rhythm. Our guys are professional and understand what’s at hand. We want to continue to get better.”

The main headliner featured Warriors forward Kevin Durant, who worked out before practice with assistant coach Bruce Fraser.

“KD is a guy that loves to get in the gym,” Green said. “He likes to come in and get a rhythm going. I think he’s just trying to come out and get off to a good start.”

The Warriors will have a formal practice Wednesday. But that will not mark the only task on their itinerary. They will have various meet-and-greets, while Curry, Thompson and Durant plan to make promotional appearances for their respective shoe brands. Oh, and the Warriors host the Minnesota Timberwolves for two preseason games in Shenzhen (Thursday) and Shanghai (Sunday). The NBA said there is about 240 media credentials from 123 outlets for those games.

“We know it’s part of the league expanding and having a presence globally. Sometimes it can be tough with the travel,” Green said. “We understand we have to come out here and try to make the best of it and enjoy it and interact with the fans here. The NBA does a great job of getting us here and we’re looking forward to it.”

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Clippers begin new era sans Paul — From rookie Milos Teodosic to veteran Patrick Beverley and others, the LA Clippers’ point guard/playmaking duties will be handled by many. That much is true for the Clippers as they begin the preseason edition of the post-Chris Paul era. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times has more:

They are the longest tenured Clippers remaining from this summer’s purge, so it’ll be up to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to steer this team towards a new frontier.

Griffin is entering his eighth season with the Clippers and Jordan his 10th, and as the Clippers’ veteran stars they must help ease the transition of the nine new players who have joined them in this quest to stay relevant in the super-tough Western Conference.

“It definitely starts with the core guys that we have who have been here the longest, and obviously that’s him and I,” Jordan said before the Clippers played their second exhibition game Tuesday night against the Toronto Raptors at the Stan Sheriff Center. “So we’ve got to set the tone and set an example of how we’re going to do things on and off the floor for this organization.”

There was a six-year period in which the Clippers had the big three of Griffin, Jordan and Chris Paul. But Paul forced a trade to the Houston Rockets over the summer.

Now the Clippers are just the big two of Griffin and Jordan.

“The roles absolutely changed out of necessity,” Griffin said. “Anytime you lose somebody like CP, everybody has to step up. I know DJ and I have talked about it all summer and we’re excited about that challenge.

“I think we have the majority of that load. But we also have some guys that are very talented and have a lot of experience. Lou (Williams) has been in the league for a long time now. Patrick (Beverley) played in big games, big moments. It’ll be collectively, but DJ and I will definitely have a bigger responsibility this year.”

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Rondo doesn’t regret stint with Bulls — Around this time one year ago, the Chicago Bulls tried to stay in the thick of the Eastern Conference’s upper crust with a backcourt remodel. Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade came aboard to play with All-Star Jimmy Butler, but the results were less than mighty as Chicago struggled all season long. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune caught up with Rondo, who looked back on his Bulls days:

Despite an extremely turbulent season in which he moved from starting to not playing at all to starting again, as well as a one-game suspension for throwing a towel in associate head coach Jim Boylen’s face, Rondo said he has no regrets about signing with the Bulls. He added he would’ve done so even if he had known Wade would follow, which was unexpected at the time of Rondo’s signing.

“It was a different season, but I learned a lot,” Rondo said. “It was the closest I’ve been to my family so I had a good opportunity there. I lived in a great city.

“What we were able to do the last 20 games to focus and lock in and make the playoffs with what we went through and the trades was good. We made a little bit of noise.”

One thing the Bulls endured was an emotional team meeting following Rondo’s legendary Instagram post, in which he indirectly criticized Wade and Butler by praising the veteran leadership of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from his time with the Celtics. The night before, Wade had specifically criticized young players following a late home collapse to the Hawks, while Butler followed with more general frustration.

“We’re good,” Rondo said of his relationship with Wade and Butler. “The post was obviously towards them but it was more so sticking up for the team. It wasn’t like a direct hit against those guys in my opinion. But it was what I felt at the time needed to be expressed.

“I had a dinner at the start of last season for the young guys because I was impressed with how hard they worked. I was in there every day and I saw Denzel (Valentine), Bobby (Portis) put in work every day. I felt somebody should stick up for them.”

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Haslem considered signing with Cavs — For 14 seasons, through the good times and bad, Udonis Haslem has been a part of everything for the Miami Heat. As he entered free agency this summer, the thinking in most NBA circles was that he wouldn’t ever leave the Heat. That ended up being true, but as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports, Haslem did briefly have eyes for the Cleveland Cavaliers:

Haslem told me on Tuesday that he thought about signing with Cleveland in July.

Did he seriously consider it?

“Yeah,” he said. “I got an interesting call from Cleveland. My son is out there [as a student and football player] at the University of Toledo in Ohio. It was something to consider.”

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue conveyed interest to Haslem through Cavs assistant and former Heat forward James Posey.

Haslem never visited the Cavaliers but suggested that his agent, Leon Rose, spoke to Cleveland management. “There might have been some conversations there,” Haslem said, smiling.

Haslem cracked that “now a day, you average five points and five rebounds and you get $40 million. There are minutes out there for a guy like myself regardless of my age (37). I get phone calls every summer. It’s always something to consider because at the end of the day, I can still play.”

But ultimately his heart was in Miami, where he has played all 14 seasons of his career.

“I can’t imagine being anywhere else,” Haslem said. “I’m all heart and going somewhere else, my heart just wouldn’t be in it. I just wouldn’t see the same player regardless of the opportunity to play and the minutes.

“This is the best place for me. I really want these guys to get this trophy. These guys work hard, they deserve it. I would love to see them have a chance to raise that trophy at the end of the season.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Evan Turner and a Blazers sideline reporter helped a woman in a car crash … The Rockets got a look at some of their small lineups last night … D’Angelo Russell made a good impression with the Nets in his preseason debut … Dario Saric (fatigue) will not play tonight vs. Memphis … Get to know Celtics dunk-happy rookie Daniel Theis … The Mavs are hoping their second unit gets lob feverPower forward depth won’t be a problem for the Pistons … Grizzlies coach David Fizdale is doing what most coaches do in the preseason — tinker with lineups … Realistic expectations are all the Magic have for rookie Jonathon Isaac

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