Around the Atlantic: Knicks wanted to trade Shumpert?

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Around the Atlantic: Knicks wanted to trade Shumpert?

Add a few more names to the Sixers' list.

After relative silence about the Sixers' coaching search, the team has been linked to numerous candidates in the past week and will now interview Hawks assistants Quin Snyder and Kenny Atkinson.

Here's some more news around the Atlantic division:

Knicks: Owner wanted to trade Iman Shumpert?
Prior to taping an interview with Dwight Howard, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith was caught on camera -- whether he intended to or not -- saying Knicks owner James Dolan wanted to trade Iman Shumpert.

Smith said the 6-foot-5, 23-year-old swingman would be traded because of missed summer league action.

"And by the way, Dolan was ready to trade [Iman Shumpert] because he didn’t want to work out in the summer league," Smith told 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."

ProBasketballTalk noted that most legitimate news is posted swiftly, so the notion that Dolan would trade a young showstopper like Shumpert over missing summer league games was probably a "fleeting thought."

Raptors: D.J. Augustin agrees to one-year deal
Five-year veteran point guard D.J. Augustin reached an agreement to join the Toronto Raptors, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, via ProBasketballTalk.

Augustin signed for one year, and is expected to take over for Jose Calderon, the Raptors' starting point guard last year who left in free agency.

Augustin backed up George Hill in 2012-13 for the Pacers, and totaled 4.7 points and 2.2 assists per game.

The point guard will join former Pacers teammate Tyler Hansbrough, who joined the Raptors last week with a two-year contract.

Raptors: Camby to be bought out
TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors have agreed to buy out center Marcus Camby's contract and place him on waivers.

Camby, acquired as part of the trade that sent Andrea Bargnani to the New York Knicks, was owed $7.5 million over the final two years of his contract.

The 39-year-old center appeared in just 24 games last season for the Knicks, averaging 1.8 points per game. Camby was picked second overall by Toronto in the 1996 draft and has played 973 games during his career.

He expressed a desire to play for a contending team (see full story).

-The Associated Press

Sixers intend to use Ben Simmons, Dario Saric in same lineup

Sixers intend to use Ben Simmons, Dario Saric in same lineup

GALLOWAY, N.J. — Training camp is an opportunity for Brett Brown to assess all the pieces he has available to construct the best roster possible. There are no clear-cut formulas to create the most successful lineups, not when the team has so many players that can be utilized at multiple positions. 

“There are a lot of moving parts,” Brown said Wednesday after Day 2 of training camp. “You’re going to see a bunch of different looks, blue and white. That’s part of my job. That’s part of what I’ve got to get done when we play on opening night.” 

Among these combinations is pairing Dario Saric and Ben Simmons. Given their versatility, the rookies can play multiple positions to share the court. Brown has eyed their size and skills at the two- and three-spots.

“The pluses are you have 6-10, do-alls that really can jump into a very versatile defensive world with perhaps a lot of switching,” Brown said. “I think they’re elite defensive rebounders that can rebound and lead a break and take off. ...

“The disadvantages are, you’re playing two guys out of position that’ve never played a second of NBA basketball and have never played together. It comes down to familiarity, it comes down to some type of comfort level that they’re going to have to navigate and figure out each other a little bit more.”

Saric and Simmons, like the rest of the Sixers, are learning one another’s games in training camp. Saric described Simmons’ skill set as “amazing” considering his stature and speed, noting, “I never played with somebody who’s that [many] kilograms.” 

“I think we will find a way to play together,” Saric said. “I think we can do it. Coach said most of the time we will play together. Maybe I can push the ball, he can push the ball too. ... He’s an unbelievably good passer and I think we’ll find a way how to play and I’m very happy because of that.”

Simmons entered the league touted as a point-forward. Exceeding the combo position, Simmons has played pure point at times, both on the offensive and defensive ends. He has been tapping into the Sixers' guards and veteran leader Elton Brand to help enhance his communication running the floor.

“[The] challenge is probably guarding the point guard position. They’re a lot quicker,” Simmons said. “But I also have a lot more length and strength. I think just being able to get to the rim. Also, if I have a smaller guy I can post it up.”

Saric also has ball handling skills in his arsenal. He grew up playing point guard from ages 8 to 14 before hitting a growth spurt. Saric looked up to Magic Johnson at the position. 

“To make other players happy and to make other players better, I think that’s the role of point guard,” Saric said. 

Brown will use the next four weeks as a trial period to maneuver different combinations and looks, including a towering duo of rookies.  

“Now is the time to do that," Brown said, "with the end game being whenever that type of thing happens, you have something quite special if they’re paired — when they’re paired, because I’m going to play them together — when they start really feeling each other’s game out in the environment that I've put them in a lot better."

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Sixers lost Jahlil Okafor for the final 23 games last season because of a small meniscus tear in his right knee. Now they are being cautious as he prepares for his second year.

As part of the Sixers’ prescheduled load management for Okafor, he participated in a portion of practice and then worked out individually with head strength and conditioning coach Todd Wright.

“They just told me to relax once I did what they wanted me to do today,” Okafor said. “I was off to the sidelines. I feel fine. I’ll be good tomorrow.”

Okafor learned during his first NBA season that he should speak more openly with the staff about his body.

“Communication is key,” he said. “I think last year I didn’t really communicate how I was feeling, so I wasn’t able to get the help I needed.”

The team held three practice sessions in the first two days of training camp. Okafor said he knew the Sixers would be cautious with his workload. He is poised to improve upon his rookie year in which he averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 53 games last season.

“I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said. “I’m all good.”