Western Notes: Leonard, Jazz, Bledsoe, Nash

April 18 at 4:03pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Kawhi Leonard is up for a rookie scale extension this summer, but it appears he envisions a long-term future with the Spurs, based in his comments to Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press. Gregg Popovich believes the small forward will become the face of the franchise once Tim Duncan retires.

“I’ve been working hard to be one of the focal points in the NBA, one of the top guys. For him to say that and see that I could be the face, it just brings joy to me,” Leonard said. “I’m just happy that someone else sees it other than myself.”

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin is on shaky ground in Utah, but soon-to-be free agent Gordon Hayward said Corbin did a “tremendous job” considering the circumstances this year, observes Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune.
  • Eric Bledsoe has been non-committal in his public statements about the notion of re-signing with the Suns this summer, though teammate and neighbor Ish Smith is confident Bledsoe will return, observes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. The Suns have said they intend to match any offer for Bledsoe, a restricted free agent.
  • Steve Nash is fine with a reduced role on the Lakers next season, one he expects will be his last in the NBA, notes Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports“They can’t rely on me, frankly,” Nash said. “Hopefully, I come back and play 82 games next year and the sky is the limit. But they can’t rely on me if they don’t know what I’m going to bring, so they got to evaluate those guys for next season.”
  • There’s a “strong possibility” the Jazz will have a one-to-one affiliation with the D-League’s Idaho Stampede next season, reports Gino Pilato of D-League Digest (on Twitter). The Jazz shared the Bakersfield Jam with four other NBA teams this season.
  • The Warriors recalled Ognjen Kuzmic from the D-League today, the team announced. Golden State has been shuttling him back and forth to help the Santa Cruz Warriors in the playoffs, and Kuzmic had 23 points and 18 rebounds in Thursday’s win.
  • Santa Cruz beat the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, who announced Thursday that the Rockets had assigned Isaiah Canaan and Robert Covington to play in the game (Twitter link). Houston brought them back to the big club today, the Rockets announced via Twitter.
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