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Iman Shumpert insists on tuning out distractions, staying positive

Iman Shumpert #21 of the Knicks controls the

Iman Shumpert #21 of the Knicks controls the ball during a preseason game against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden on Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Iman Shumpert no longer cares what anyone says about him, good or bad. He's not listening to trade rumors anymore, and when talk of his future comes up, he shrugs it off.

This is a new and perhaps improved Shumpert. He's physically as healthy as he's been since his rookie season, and he might be mentally stronger than ever.

"I'm 24, I'm playing basketball, it's my dream job, so I'm a pretty happy camper,'' Shumpert said after practice Thursday. "My mom told me to smile, so I'm just going to smile through it. My worst day, I'm just going to try and smile.''

Shumpert is entering his fourth and perhaps last season as a Knick. Because he was a member of the 2011 draft class, the Knicks have until Oct. 31 to sign him to an extension. As of now, it doesn't appear that will happen, but when the subject was broached, Shumpert had fun with it.

"That's something you can worry about,'' he said. "You worry about that. Write whatever you want. You got my clearance.''

Shumpert was smiling as he walked off. He probably wouldn't have done that the previous two seasons, when he would glare and get annoyed by certain questions.

He was the subject of trade rumors most of last season. Shumpert might have been moved had he not sprained an MCL the night before the trade deadline.

"I don't read into it anymore,'' he said.

Now Shumpert appears to be in a better place, and the Knicks should benefit.

He's the Knicks' best perimeter defender and his versatility could help him excel in the triangle offense. In the last three preseason games, Shumpert has been very active on both ends of the floor.

Shumpert came into the league known for his defense, and he showed right away he could be a stopper. But he blew out his knee in the playoffs that year, and has shown only glimpses of being back to his old self. But Shumpert feels he's there now, and he looks to be.

"Yeah, just limiting distractions, and being able to look yourself in the mirror and know you worked hard all summer,'' he said. "I'm going to miss shots. I'm going to make plenty of mistakes. It's not going to be perfect. Some people are going to like me. Some people won't. It don't really matter.

"Right now, we just got to win games. I know I've got to come with a certain energy and effort every day. These guys expect something from me, and I'm going to bring it every day.''

To limit distractions, Shumpert said he's tried to "stop talking to people,'' avoid "listening to'' comments and opinions from people who haven't played in the NBA, and just focus on himself and the Knicks.

"I think we got a tight group of guys, a new staff,'' Shumpert said. "I'm receptive to all their information because they're the ones who are teaching us this new offense, this new system, and I got to march with that. I can't really depend on everybody else for information. Can't read anything. Can't let anything bad get inside. Keep feeding yourself with positivity.''

Notes & quotes: Amar'e Stoudemire bathes in red wine to help create circulation in his red blood cells. "It's a rejuvenation,'' he said. Stoudemire, who has had numerous knee surgeries, posted a picture on Instagram on Wednesday of him in the red wine bath, known as vinotherapy. He said it's water and wine, and he's been doing it for about six to eight months. "My legs felt rejuvenated,'' he said. "I felt great, so I'm going to continue to do that for sure.'' . . . The Knicks are expected to pick up the third-year options on Tim Hardaway Jr. and Shane Larkin by the Oct. 31 deadline . . . Andrea Bargnani, out the last three preseason games with a strained right hamstring, was limited in practice.

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