Timberwolves coach and president of basketball ops Flip Saunders continues to praise point guard J.J. Barea‘s play in training camp, reports Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. Barea has been on the block for a trade or release, but sees himself as a team fixture. Whether Saunders is leaning toward keeping Barea around, or merely trying to inflate his trade value, remains to be seen. Here’s a look at the rest of tonight’s Western notes:
- Andrew Bogut‘s primary backup, Festus Ezeli is hurt, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters including Diamond Leung of Bay Area News Group that he is content with bigs Marreese Speights and Ognjen Kuzmic when asked if Golden State is in need of another center (Twitter link). Kerr’s outlook will need to change for camp invite Mitchell Watt to secure one of the two open regular season roster spots in Golden State.
- Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace came out on top of some front-office turmoil in Memphis this summer, and he tells Ronald Tillery of Commercial Appeal [subscription-only] that his commitment to the game has routinely paid off. “My staying power is pretty simplistic. This is as good a job as I can get,” said Wallace. “I do not have a college degree, there’s a limitation on what I can do. I’m not going to Wall Street. I’m not walking across the street for executive training. I’m realistic. For someone who loves basketball, it’s light years better than anything else I can do. And change is a norm in the NBA, especially in the front office and coaching ranks.”
- Wallace also revealed that he has less autonomy than he did in his previous tenure as GM in Memphis. “The reality of NBA front offices in 2014 is they are highly collaborative. You have very few czars in the league,” Wallace said. “Having said all of that, the misconception is that you arrive at a consensus. Most times, somebody in the organization drives a decision. The better organizations probably have more consistent decision making. I’m in contact and they know my opinion on things. The good thing right now and when I was brought back is we’re rolling as a team and how the team is perceived. It’s not a reclamation project.”