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Western Notes: Holiday, Scott, Harden

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak wouldn’t elaborate on the job status of coach Byron Scott, but merely said that he was under contract for 2016/17, adding that he intends to meet with Scott informally in the coming days, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. “I know he’s hoping that he coaches here forever, but a lot of times what we do is we’re really preparing for the next GM or the next coach. That’s tough sometimes,” Kupchak said. “It does take time to develop young players. We’ll know in two or three years how effective Byron was as a parent to the young guys on this team.

While the GM indicated it would take time to see if the players benefited from Scott’s tough approach, Kupchak did note that the coach has the full respect of the roster, Medina adds. “Byron runs a tight ship,” Kupchak said. “Byron makes sure players are where they need to be. They’re ready to practice. Practices are organized. You better be rested if you practice for the Lakers. You better be ready to work if you’re going to practice for the Lakers.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said that Jrue Holiday had a “fantastic year” after his minutes restriction was lifted and referred to the point guard and power forward Anthony Davis as the “team’s core,” Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com relays (via Twitter). Holiday appeared in 65 games for New Orleans this season and averaged 16.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists in 28.2 minutes per outing. The coach also noted that the team’s priorities this offseason were to find a 6’7″ player who could act as a facilitator on offense and to improve the team’s defense, Brett Dawson of The Advocate tweets.
  • Nuggets GM Tim Connelly said his team lacks a true star and if the opportunity to land an impact player presents itself, Denver would have to strongly consider making a move, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. “At this point, you can’t say we have anyone on the team that is a star. We have guys who are trending that way,” Connelly said. “I think Danilo Gallinari, with more team success, would have been an All-Star this year. I’m so proud of how he bounced back from a major injury. He’s fully back, back better than ever. You’d be hard-pressed to find 10 tougher offensive matchups in the NBA. So I think internal improvement is always the first and most preferable course of action. Certainly we’re always looking for ways to better our roster. If during the course of conversations we can get a guy we deem a superstar, a top 15-20 player, we’ll be aggressive in doing so.”
  • Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said that shooting guard James Harden would have a voice in the team’s free agent decisions this offseason, Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Wolves‘ quick dismissal of interim coach Sam Mitchell demonstrates that the franchise is serious about landing a big-name coach this offseason, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune opines. The scribe notes that the haste with which the decision regarding Mitchell was made was to give the team a head start in the interview process, considering the expected competition this summer for the top available names. Minnesota reportedly has interviews scheduled with Jeff Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau.

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