Northwest Notes: Aldridge, Timberwolves, Billups

The Thunder have won the Northwest Division each of the past four seasons, but it’s conceivable that the team will receive a stiff challenge from the Blazers this year if Kevin Durant is slow to recover from the fracture in his foot. While we wait to see if there’s a competitive race in the Northwest, here’s the latest from the division:

  • Portland’s improvement last year was crucial to LaMarcus Aldridge‘s desire to continue playing for the Blazers, as he admitted in appearance with Justin Termine and Mike Dunleavy Sr. of Sirius XM NBA Radio, as Casey Holdahl of NBA.com’s Forward/Center blog transcribes. Aldridge added that was hoping to cash in on the NBA’s windfall of TV money when he passed on an extension to set up free agency next summer, but he suggests that he won’t try to sign a one-year deal this summer to become a free agent again in 2016, when the new TV deal starts. That jibes with a report from The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman, who heard earlier this month that the TV deal won’t affect Aldridge’s plan to sign a new long-term deal with the Blazers in 2015.
  • Timberwolves backup guard Mo Williams isn’t a fan of the NBA’s experiment with shorter games, as he tells Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, who hears similar disdain for the idea from Corey Brewer and J.J. Barea“I come off the bench, man,” Williams said. “They need to put 50 minutes on that so my minutes would be up. I need more minutes, not less.”
  • Despite fielding interest from the several different teams, including the Nuggets, about taking on a coaching or front office role, Chauncey Billups has decided to join the ESPN crew as an analyst, reveals Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated. Billups cited a long-term commitment to broadcasting and said he’s not thinking of becoming a coach or executive.

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