Western Notes: Harden, McMillan, Jackson, Wolves

Less than two weeks into the NBA season, the Association's two biggest stories so far have come from two teams expected to compete for the Western Conference crown — the Thunder's trade of James Harden, and the Lakers' coaching change. We have updates on both Harden and the new Lakers coach, along with a few other notes out of the West, so let's check them out:

  • The final year of Harden's max-salary deal with the Rockets is only 50% guaranteed, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports (via Twitter). However, Deeks adds in a second tweet that there are a number of conditions Harden could meet to ensure it becomes fully guaranteed.
  • Mike D'Antoni is expected to reach out to Nate McMillan to offer him a spot as defensive assistant on his Lakers staff, reports Ken Berger of CBS Sports (via Twitter).
  • According to Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio (Twitter link), people around the NBA expect Phil Jackson to take a job within the next year, since he's interested in returning if a team can meet his demands.
  • Wesley Johnson spoke to Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld about adjusting to a new situation in Phoenix, and the Suns' prospects for the 2012/13 season.
  • With Chase Budinger set for knee surgery, the Timberwolves could ask the league for an injury exception to add a player without cutting anyone, but it doesn't appear they will, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

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