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Northwest Notes: Kanter, Burke, Blazers

Enes Kanter‘s displeasure with his playing time and his reported desire to be traded is actually a good thing for the Jazz, Brad Rock of The Deseret News posits. Rock’s rationale behind that stance is that it means Utah is getting better as a team if a player with Kanter’s talents has to fight for minutes. While many teams interested in Kanter may wish to wait for the summer when the big man will become a restricted free agent, the Jazz may attempt to swap him for some backcourt depth with Alec Burks out for the remainder of the season, Rock adds.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Kanter’s trade request caught his teammates on the Jazz off guard, Jody Genessy of The Deseret News writes. “It’s a little surprising as a teammate,” point guard Trey Burke said. “Sometimes guys hold things in, they bottle things [up] and … just got to let what they really feel go. I’m not saying I agree with it. At the same time, I’m not one of those guys to get super angry about it.
  • Utah’s coach Quin Snyder is happy with Kanter’s overall progress as a player, and says that Kanter has worked hard trying to improve his defense, Genessy adds. It’s the big man’s defensive faults that have led to him losing minutes to Rudy Gobert, who is a far superior defender, the Deseret scribe notes. “I think Enes is getting better,” Snyder said. “I think he’s committed to the defensive end in a way that pleased me, particularly the progress he’s made from the beginning of the year. That’s been our primary goal.”
  • The NBPA rejecting the league’s cap smoothing proposal for 2016 could be good news for the Trail Blazers, Mike Tokito of The Oregonian writes. With the contracts of LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews expiring at the end of this season, Portland’s owner Paul Allen may be more willing to re-sign all three and dip into the luxury tax for 2015/16 if he knows that a big bump in the salary cap was due the following season, Tokito opines.

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