Western Conference teams gave out the two most lucrative contracts by average annual value this summer, but the next four spots belong to players who signed to play in the East. The Thunder, Spurs and Nuggets, the three Western teams with the best records last season, didn't hand out any of the 25 deals on that list. Whether that signals a shift in the balance of power remains to be seen, but in the meantime, here's the latest from the West:
- The Mavs' two most expensive offseason additions have known plenty of coaching instability throughout their careers, but the firmly entrenched Rick Carlisle figures to change that for Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon, writes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News.
- The Kings announced that they've hired the architectural firm AECOM to design the construction of a new arena in Sacramento, a story that Tony Bizjak of The Sacramento Bee originally reported. Team president Chris Granger said he expects construction to begin about a year from now.
- The anti-arena campaign in Sacramento is still free to use the petition signatures that Seattle investor Chris Hansen bankrolled, but Hansen could also wipe those signatures out, a move that would help him engender some much-needed goodwill, The Bee's Marcos Breton argues.
- Chris Lucia of Blazer's Edge sizes up the effect that new starting center Robin Lopez and an upgraded bench will have on the Blazers rotation.