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Western Notes: Augustin, Gordon, Barton, Varejao

Nuggets deadline trade acquisition D.J. Augustin has quickly taken to his new surroundings and says he’d love to re-sign with Denver when he hits free agency this summer, as Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relays. Coach Michael Malone is a fan of the point guard, particularly his offense, as Dempsey relays.

“I would love to be here,” Augustin said. “It’s a great city, great fans. I love the coaching staff and organization. Everything is great. So, I would love to find a home here.”

Augustin hoped for a chance to join a team that would give him more playing time as he faded from the Oklahoma City rotation this season, and while he expressed his appreciation to the Thunder for facilitating such a deal, he said he didn’t ask for a trade, Dempsey notes. See more on the Nuggets amid news from the Western Conference:

  • Eric Gordon is having surgery today on his broken right ring finger, a source told Scott Agness of VigilantSports (Twitter link). No timetable exists for the soon-to-be free agent who suffered the injury Saturday, though the Pelicans reportedly fear it’s a season-ender. It’s the same finger Gordon broke in January, an injury that forced him to miss about five weeks. The final day of the regular season is five weeks from Wednesday.
  • Malone knew little about Will Barton when the coach took over the Nuggets in the offseason, but the 25-year-old shooting guard is team’s second leading scorer this year, the first on a new three-year, $10.6MM deal, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee examines. “I’d be lying to you if I said I expected him to play as well as he has this year,” Malone said. “He’s a hard worker. He committed himself to getting better, coming back as an improved player and, like all players, I feel he’s taken full advantage of the opportunity given him. We play him 25, 30 minutes a night, put the ball in his hands and allow him to make plays and he’s done a great job of doing that, especially in the open court.”
  • Warriors assistant GM Travis Schlenk acknowledged that recent signee Anderson Varejao isn’t what he used to be, but Schlenk said in a radio appearance with Matt Steinmetz on 95.7 The Game’s “NBA This Week” show that Varejao and Joakim Noah were the best centers in the NBA three years ago. The 33-year-old Varejao only twice averaged double-figures in either points or rebounds, peaking in 2012/13 at 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds per game, though he played only 25 games that season because of injury.

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