Los Angeles Lakers superstar shooting guard Kobe Bryant just returned to action, but that hasn't stopped the team from inquiring about other backcourt players.
The Lakers recently called the Knicks to express their interest in Iman Shumpert, acccording to sources close to the situation.The Lakers are one of several teams to check in on Knicks shooting guard Iman Shumpert, sources said.
No trade is imminent, and sources say the Lakers' call was more about doing their due diligence; it's well-known Shumpert is available. The Lakers are unlikely to make a deal before the end of their current four-game road trip, which concludes Tuesday night in Memphis.
But with Steve Blake, who is expected to miss at least six weeks with an elbow injury, joining point guards Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar on the injured list, the Lakers could be interested in strengthening their backcourt.
Shumpert is more of a shooting guard, but with Bryant taking on more of a playmaking role -- he is averaging a career-high 6.7 assists while attempting fewer than nine shots a game -- since returning from a torn Achilles tendon last Sunday, it's easy to see the two playing together.
Shumpert is struggling through a disappointing season, and the Knicks have discussed trades involving him with several other teams, including the Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors.
Sources say the Lakers are also interested in another Knicks player -- center Tyson Chandler. The Lakers did not inquire about Chandler when they called about Shumpert, but they are weighing whether to propose a Pau Gasol-for-Chandler trade, according to sources.
The Knicks are not looking to move Chandler -- several teams have contacted them about him, sources said -- but if a club agreed to take back struggling guard J.R. Smith, the Knicks would consider such a deal.
With Smith signing a three-year, $18 million contract last summer, the Lakers aren't likely to be interested in him.