Shumpert: K-Mart thinking about return

LAS VEGAS -- The Knicks tipped off their summer league play on Friday with five roster spots for next season up for grabs.

Will one of them go to Kenyon Martin? After GM Glen Grunwald said on Thursday that the veteran power forward will get "full consideration" for an offer, Iman Shumpert confirmed his former teammate is thinking about a return.

"I spoke to him. The Knicks are still on his mind," Shumpert told ESPNNewYork.com on Friday. "I didn't talk to him in detail about any of that. I was just checking on him being a good teammate. He's a great guy to have on my team; I learned a lot from him. So I just keep in touch with him."

Shumpert is already ecstatic that one Knick will be back: J.R. Smith.

"You know I'm happy; that's my guy," he said. "J.R. will come back and we've got our core group back. We've got Pablo [Prigioni] back. I'm really excited about next year."

On Friday, Shumpert wrapped up his first day of summer league, in a losing effort to the Pelicans, 77-72. He's one of the rare players under contract -- not to mention, a starter -- who's participating in Las Vegas. But the combo guard is here mainly to work on the skills of a specific position.

"[Mike Woodson] wanted me to come out here and make sure I played point guard, working on facilitating a little bit more and making some plays," he said. I felt like I had a good run. ... I felt like I did what I needed to do as far as just working on trying to push the pace, trying to keep guys on the same page."

Shumpert struggled on Friday, finishing 0-for-5 from the field with four assists and four turnovers. However, he was effective with his vocal leadership, a needed responsibility that comes with being the summer league team's starting point guard.

"It's huge," he said. "It's nice to go from the rookie that everybody is like 'just shut your mouth' and now it's like I'm the only one talking. I think it's contagious when anybody talks, and the more and more I talk, I think the rest of the guys really picked up on the chatter."

Shumpert said he's been trying to stress talking on defense to his mostly younger teammates.

"The biggest thing that I've been preaching to these guys this whole time in summer league is just communication," he said. "When you have a lot of communication, it picks up the aggressiveness with everybody on the court. And I think we started to understand that more in the second quarter, and that's when we evened out the score. Early on, we didn't do any talking and that was a bad look for us."

Shumpert will only play in the next two summer league games -- he'll miss the playoffs -- because he's leaving to China on Monday for an NBA-sanctioned trip.

"Just doing some camps and clinics," he said. "It will be my first time going to China ... it will be a lot of fun."

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