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Western Notes: Howard, Martin, Morris

Fans knew that Dwight Howard was battling a knee injury during last season’s Western Conference finals, but the injury was worse than it seemed at the time, Calvin Walkins of writes.

“I was basically playing with a torn MCL and meniscus,” Howard said. “I never said anything about it. I tried to cover it up saying it was a sore knee. But I was in pain the rest of the series. I just looked at it like, man, you just never know if you will ever make it back to this moment. So just sacrifice your mind, your body and your spirit for your teammates and the city and hope for the best.”

The Rockets intend to utilize second year big man Clint Capela in a larger role in an effort to reduce Howard’s workload this season. In the summer of 2013, Howard signed a four-year, max contract that includes a player option after this season. The health of his knee, along with the level of his play this season, could determine whether he decides to turn down his option, worth slightly more than $23.28MM, and enter free agency in 2016.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders opines that Kevin Martin is a prime candidate to be traded after the Wolves announced that sophomore Zach LaVine will be the team’s starting shooting guard. Martin has two years and slightly over $14.46MM remaining on his current deal and Greene believes if Minnesota wanted to move him, there would be teams willing to bring the veteran aboard at that price.
  • Although Markieff Morris declared that he wants to remain in Phoenix, the Suns could ultimately end up dealing the forward anyway, Greene opines in the same piece. Morris is on a team-friendly deal that will pay him $32MM over the next four seasons and if he has a good start to the season, more than a few teams should be interested in acquiring him.
  • After losing LaMarcus Aldridge to the Spurs in free agency, many are not optimistic about the Blazers‘ chances of making playoffs, but statistician Kevin Pelton of argues that competing for a playoff spot is not out of the question, Cody Sharett of writes. Pelton cited the additions of Ed Davis, Mason Plumlee and Al-Farouq Aminu, who have all shined in terms of advanced statistics, as reason for optimism.
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7 thoughts on “Western Notes: Howard, Martin, Morris

  1. smittybanton

    Aminu, Plumlee and Davis demonstrate why efficiency does not equal talent.

    If the question is, do Aminu, Plumlee and Davis use their talent efficiently? Yes, they have, in the limited roles they’ve carved out on teams with better players. Absolutely.

    Are they talented enough to make significant impacts as the focal point of offenses? Doubt it.

    I like Aminu. He’s developed a standing three pointer, for when McColllum and Lilliard kick it out. But without Anthony Davis next to him, he’s going to get smothered when he tries to do something on his own.

    • aarongill

      Aminu Davis and plumlee and if Henderson starts, are a very good defensive team but offense has to come somehow besides lilard and it wouldn’t surprise me if they do sneak into the playoffs

      • smittybanton

        Lose Aldridge, Lopez, Batum and Matthews, replace them with very limited one way players, and still make the playoffs, in the West? Over who?

  2. Any team who wants Keef will have to deliver plenty of high end beef.

  3. formerlyz

    I don’t think they make the playoffs, but I liked what Portland did this offseason, getting ahead of their rebuild. Internal improvement from CJ McCollum, Myers Leonard, and Allen Crabbe could make them more interesting than some people may think, and Moe Harkless could start showing his talent, now that he’ll have playing time. I’m also interested to see how Pat Cannaughton’s athleticism and shooting can contribute to this roster. They also have rim protectors in Plumlee and Ed Davis. They’re a versatile team with some nice depth, and if things go well with these young guys, they’re all on the same career trajectory as Damian Lillard

    • Jennifer Bellini

      Kevin Martin is an option to help out Lillard whenever he misses some games due to injury. The Timberwolves are interested of shipping him to another team as Trailblazers is a prime candidate for him to fit in the team including Markieff Morris, another trade candidate from the Phoenix Suns. With the Mariners & Seahawks having rough season of each, things will be very busy for Neil Olshey and the Blazers front office to bring in some reinforcements that can help the team get to 45 wins and a playoff spot.

  4. Jennifer Bellini

    Kevin Martin would benefit helping Damian Lillard out w/ the Portland Trailblazers w/ Andre Miller joining him in the trade. In return, Frazier/Pressey is a viable option to back up option to LaVine (whichever of the two has trade value), plus Connaughton or Montero and a draft pick in 2017 if both front offices can make the move.

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