Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez has been surprised at how great a fit the city of Portland has been for him this year, both on and off the court, he told listeners of The Jim Rome Show today. “It’s funny, when I was playing in Phoenix, Channing Frye, who had been in Portland, told me if I visited there, if I went there, I was just going to love it. And I was a little reluctant to believe him just because Channing talks a lot of stuff. But it turns out he’s been 100 percent right. I can’t believe how perfectly the fit has been,” said Lopez (transcription via Sean Meagher of Oregon Live). Here’s more from the Northwest Division:
- After going undrafted in 2011, bouncing around Europe and the D-League, and making short-lived stops with the Suns and Thunder, Jazz backup point guard Diante Garrett tells Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune he’s hoping to prove himself and find some permanency in Utah. “You try and not think about it all the time because it will weigh you down,” said Garrett, who has an unguaranteed contract for next season at less than $1MM. “Just go out there and do what you’ve been doing all year and put even more effort into it, because there are going to be a lot of eyes watching, a lot of people watching, a lot of people talking.”
- Speculation has tied Thunder guard Derek Fisher to the Knicks head coaching position, but he tells Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman that he hasn’t spoken with Phil Jackson about the gig, and reiterates that he’s not looking to coach next season.
- Caron Butler tells Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman he came to the Thunder following his buyout with the Bucks because he wanted a chance to play a significant part in a championship run. “I wanted to play,” Butler said. “I wanted to be effective. I wanted to have my fingerprints even more on the success of the team.” Butler won a championship with the Mavs in 2011, but sat out that postseason with an injury.
- Dante Cunningham is the only Timberwolves rotation fixture set to become an unrestricted free agent next year, and Andy Greder of St. Paul Pioneer Press wonders if Minnesota will value the forward’s intangibles enough to re-sign him despite his poor on-the-court statistics.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.