Western Notes: Lakers, Jianlian, Singler

The Lakers have hired Jud Buechler, Brian Keefe and Theo Robertson as player development coaches, BA Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Casey Owens has also been hired as an assistant coach/advance professional scout, while Will Scott has been named a video coordinator to round out Luke Walton’s staff. Brian Shaw, Jesse Mermuys and Mark Madsen had previously been named as assistants by Walton.

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Veteran coach Del Harris believes Yi Jianlian’s second foray into the NBA will go much more smoothly than his first one, Kevin Wang of ESPN.com reports. Jianlian signed a one-year deal with the Lakers this week that could be worth as much as $8MM. Yi bounced around the league for five seasons before returning to China in 2012. Harris, who is familiar with Yi after coaching the Chinese national team, said Yi’s style of play fits Walton’s offensive scheme. “I think that is the right team for him,” Harris told Wang. “He should be able to play for them and will really fit the style Luke employed so well last year [with the Warriors].”
  • Mavs guard Deron Williams believes LeBron James solidified his legacy by winning a championship with the Cavaliers, he said in an NBC Radio interview that was excerpted by the Dallas Morning News. James formed a “super team” with the Heat but proved he could win it all with an arguable lesser cast, according to Williams. “He went back to a team that won – what? – 20 games before he got there, and took them to the Finals, and now they won a championship,” Williams said. “And if you take him off that team, I don’t know where they’d be, they’d still be a good team, but they wouldn’t be competing for a championship.”
  • Thunder small forward Kyle Singler is preparing himself for a much larger role in the wake of Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Warriors, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes. Singler got in the gym right after the season and worked out with the summer league team, Horne continues. “When I was trying to think about how I want to maximize my summer, my first thing I wanted to do was play as much basketball as possible,” Singler told Horne. Oklahoma City doesn’t have another small forward with Singler’s combination of size, length and shooting ability, making him a prime candidate to receive the bulk of Durant’s minutes, Horne adds.

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