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Pacific Notes: Russell, Kennedy, Kings

Lakers 2015 lottery pick D’Angelo Russell has heard the trade rumors connected to himself but isn’t concerned, especially after GM Mitch Kupchak reached out to re-assure him the team has faith in his abilities, Mark Medina of The Orange County Register relays. “You hear trade talks,” Russell said. “Then you get a text from your GM saying he trusts your work ethic and don’t worry about it.

The young playmaker has already been picking new coach Luke Walton‘s brain about how Warriors star Stephen Curry was able to develop his game to the level it is now, Medina adds. “Please don’t take this the wrong way,” Russell said. “He didn’t compare me to Steph. But I asked him a lot about Steph. I asked him a lot of Steph questions about how he got to this point.”

Here’s more news and notes from the Pacific Division:

  • Former SMU power forward Markus Kennedy worked out for the Lakers today, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders relays (via Twitter). Kennedy is the No. 77 overall senior in this year’s draft according to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.
  • The Warriors should place a high priority on re-signing restricted free agents Festus Ezeli and Harrison Barnes, Bobby Marks of The Vertical opines in his offseason primer for the franchise. The scribe cites the team’s lack of cap flexibility and the potential for the duo to turn into high-value trade assets down the line as reasons why.
  • The Kings hold the No. 8 overall pick in this year’s draft, yet none of the players projected to be lottery selections worked out for the team, notes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. The highest-regarded prospect who worked out was former Vanderbilt guard Wade Baldwin, who is a projected mid-first round pick, Jones adds. The team downplayed the significance of pre-draft workouts, with assistant GM Ken Catanella saying, “It’s important, but I would always say we’re looking at a guy’s body of work. It is a small piece, but you still want to, if you haven’t had the opportunity to interview a player at the combine perhaps, or you haven’t had the opportunity to see a guy live, it never hurts. But again, you take the available information you have, and you make the most of it.

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