Western Notes: Nuggets, Lakers, Prince, Wolves

June 27 at 2:44pm CST By Chuck Myron

Nuggets GM Tim Connelly shares the belief of former GM Masai Ujiri that, while having a marquee player is ideal, it’s possible to construct a team that goes deep into the playoffs without one, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe details.

“Watching the playoffs, I do think there is an increasing sense of parity,” Connelly said to Lowe this morning. “We lack that superstar, but we also think a couple of our younger players could really step their game up. I like our roster as I wake up today. It’s a roster that should restore a playoff spot. But we also want to maintain flexibility so that we can make moves. All of our assets are movable.”

There’s more on the Nuggets from Lowe’s piece among the latest from the Western Conference:

  • The Nuggets have been planning to discuss an extension with Thad Foucher client Kenneth Faried, and it appears they’ll waste no time in doing so. Connelly tells Lowe that he’ll meet with Faried’s representatives next week, just as Faried’s extension eligibility window opens (Twitter link).
  • Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak downplayed the idea that he’ll allow the team’s free agent signings to influence whom the club hires as coach, as Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com notes amid his piece on the team’s hopes for a splashy acquisition.
  • The Grizzlies were never that keen on rumored talks with the Raptors involving Tayshaun Prince and John Salmons, as Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal writes in a subscription-only piece.
  • Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders isn’t anxious to use the $5.305MM mid-level exception likely to be available to the team this summer, observes Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press“We will wait,” Saunders said. “Right now, there are not a lot of guys that are out there … that I think are better than players we have on the team. We aren’t just going to spend it just because we have it. If someone pops down and we think it’s worth it, we’ll do it.”
  • Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro and coach Michael Malone insisted Thursday night that the team’s decision to draft Nik Stauskas at No. 8 isn’t an indication that they’ve lost faith in fellow shooting guard Ben McLemoretweets Jon Santiago of Cowbell Kingdom.
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