Meyers Leonard hasn’t seen much playing time in his second year with the Trail Blazers, and tells Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com that he believes focusing on his defensive play over the summer will help him earn his way back into the rotation. “This year has been hard for me. I have to learn to play defense. I’ve rebounded the ball a lot better. But my defense has to continue to improve.” says Leonard. Here’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Allen Crabbe has been recalled by the Trail Blazers after his latest D-League assignment, the team announced.
- Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin would like to have Marvin Williams back next year, as Bill Ingram of Basketball Insiders notes. “I think it would be great [to bring Williams back]. Who knows what will happen, but he’s a great guy to have on the squad,” Corbin said. Williams will be an unrestricted free agent, and the Jazz reportedly turned away an offer of a first round draft pick for the forward near the trade deadline.
- Jazz forward Gordon Hayward tells Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune that his summer as a restricted free agent is in the back of his mind. Hayward believes he has what it takes to be paid and perform like the team’s primary option. “You definitely have to have a swag,” Hayward said. “You have to play with confidence. You have to know that you’re one of the best guys on the court and play like it too. … It’s something that I embrace. It’s a challenge, but it’s something that I’m excited about.” Hayward and Utah were unable to agree upon an extension before this season, setting up this summer’s uncertainty.
- Nuggets GM Tim Connelly hasn’t ruled out re-signing either Aaron Brooks or Jan Vesely next year, he tells Terry Frei of The Denver Post. “Aaron’s been fantastic,” Connelly said. “We were really fortunate that he showed some faith in us by waiving that no-trade clause. I think with Jan, that last game (against Washington on Sunday) was the best game he has played for us. Unfortunately, he went down with an injury. Both those guys were brought here to help us get through the season, but also to evaluate them for next season as well.” Denver acquired both at the trade deadline.