Pacific Notes: Villanueva, Kings, Kobe, Suns

The Clippers have won 11 of their last 13 games and sit at 18-7, but they’d still be without home-court advantage in the first round if the playoffs started today. That helps explain why they reportedly remain interested in Corey Brewer, among others, given how high the bar is set in the Western Conference. Here’s more on the Clippers and their Pacific Division rivals:

  • Rick Carlisle‘s willingness to personally conduct workouts for Charlie Villanueva helped sell the veteran on signing with the Mavs this summer when the Clippers were also in hot pursuit, Villanueva said recently on Google Plus, as the Dallas Morning News transcribes. “Not to take nothing away from what the Clippers and Doc Rivers [are] doing, but it just felt right with Rick,” Villanueva said. “It was just a feeling. I went with a feeling in my gut and I feel like I made the right move.”
  • TNT’s Kenny Smith is among the names “floating around” for the Kings head coaching job, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, though it’s unclear whether he’s truly a candidate. Smith had conversations with the Kings about a front office position in 2013, as he told Sam Amick of USA Today at that time.
  • Mitch Kupchak offered a little more wiggle room for the idea that Kobe Bryant would play past the expiration of his contract in 2016 when the Lakers GM spoke this week with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio (audio link), observes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Kupchak earlier this month appeared to dismiss the notion of a prolonged career for Bryant.
  • Commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged that he and Suns owner Robert Sarver have had conversations about a new arena in Phoenix, observes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Sarver raised the issue publicly earlier this year, though Silver on Wednesday cautioned that he doesn’t believe there’s an “imminent” need for a new building, Coro notes.
  • The Warriors have recalled Ognjen Kuzmic from the D-League, the team announced. It was just a one-day stint for the center, who juxtaposed an impressive five blocks against a paltry three points in 28 minutes of action Wednesday for Santa Cruz.

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