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Western Notes: Timberwolves, Grizzlies, Gasol

The Grizzlies are looking to upgrade their small forward spot via trade, according to Sam Amick of USA Today. Tayshaun Prince is starting for them there, having easily the worst shooting season of his career and contributing to Memphis’s lack of spacing issue offensively. Here’s more from around the West:

  • Flip Saunders, Timberwolves president of basketball operations, says that he isn’t hearing anything “imminent” on Minnesota’s trade front, per Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Saunders says the hype surrounding upcoming drafts is a barrier to transactions, “Either everyone wants to keep their picks or if you want to trade players, people are trying to get your pick and people aren’t as apt to do something like that — not only this year, but next year, too.”
  • Saunders also downplayed the importance of trades in general, citing research the Timberwolves have conducted on 189 trades over the last 10 seasons. Only 14 percent of teams trading with a .500 or worse winning percentage go on to make the playoffs, and only 55 percent of teams with winning records have held or improved their record after trading over that period. “When you look, I think a lot of time teams make trades to satisfy fans, to make them look like they are really trying to do something to make their team better. And I think sometimes teams make trades to make it look to their owners like they are working.” Hard to disagree with him there.
  • The Lakers couldn’t convince the Suns to send a first round pick in return for Pau Gasol during recent trade talks, per Mitch Lawrence of The New York Daily News. Although a deal wasn’t reached and Gasol is missing time with a groin injury, Lawrence says the teams are expected to pick trade talks back up.
  • Terry Stotts is having a strong season as coach of the Trail Blazers, but team sources say he could improve his locker room standing by strengthening his relationship with star LaMarcus Aldridge, according to the same Lawrence article. Stotts’ contract is up this year, and he hasn’t had any extension talks with the team.
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