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Western Notes: Warriors, Mekel, Leonard

Golden State stood pat at the trade deadline, but Warriors consultant and part-owner Jerry West, who has plenty of say on personnel, thinks the team still needs to make some kind of move, as he told Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group.

“I think for sure we need to have a piece. For sure,” West said. “And I think as we get further into the year, I think if you watch how teams are going to particularly concentrate on our backcourt, we need more shooting and people who can make shots consistently. I think in games that we flounder in is when our guards are not able to go out there and score 45 to 60 points on any given night. … There’s going to be a bull’s-eye on those two guys’ backs.”

West made his remarks the day after the team signed James McAdoo for the season, filling the last open roster spot. Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Former Pelicans and Mavs point guard Gal Mekel is close to a deal with Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod, a source tells David Pick of (Twitter links). The GM of the Russian team is confident that Mekel will sign the deal, which would have an NBA escape clause, Pick adds. Mekel had been holding out hope for an NBA deal since his brief stint with New Orleans in December, but he recently appeared to be losing patience.
  • It’s been a rough year for Kawhi Leonard, Spurs president/coach Gregg Popovich said, with the reigning Finals MVP suffering through injury woes and a shooting slump as restricted free agency looms this summer, as Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News explores. He’s nonetheless averaging career highs virtually across the board and, as McDonald writes, he remains eminently valuable to the Spurs.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire is having an instant effect on the Mavericks, notes Jean-Jacques Taylor of The Mavs signed the ex-Knick last week, and it’s a prorated minimum-salary deal that goes until season’s end, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders shows (Twitter link).
  • The Kings have hired Vance Walberg as an assistant coach, the team announced. Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group first reported that the move would be expected if Sacramento hired George Karl as head coach. Of course, the Kings did indeed hire Karl last week. Walberg is leaving the Sixers staff for his new job.

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