Brandon Roy returned to Portland for the first time as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. Although he did not play, he did address the media. Here's what else is going on in the Northwest Division:
The last-place team in the Western Conference at 17-35, the Suns are lottery-bound, but with cap space to spare and a handful of movable assets, the club is expected to be active at the trade deadline. In his latest round-up of the trade rumors surrounding the team, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Suns have shown interest in Al Jefferson and Gordon Hayward.
While it's not clear if the Suns and Jazz have engaged in discussions about a possible deal, Coro notes that Jared Dudley, who has been the subject of trade rumblings himself, could be a potential outgoing piece, with Marcin Gortat likely needed to make a deal for Jefferson work. Although Jefferson is set to be an unrestricted free agent at season's end, his Bird Rights would come along with him in any trade, giving his new team a bit of a leg up in re-signing him this summer.
For his part, Dudley is trying to avoid letting trade rumors faze him, pointing out that it's just flattering to be drawing interest.
"When my name came up before, I was a throw-in," Dudley said. "Now, I
think I’ve worked on my game where I could be a good piece or asset for
the Suns or any team."
The Suns also reportedly have interest in acquiring Iman Shumpert, as we heard over the weekend.
Although Kobe Bryant
registered a season low of 10 field goals on Friday night, his 14 assists proved to be instrumental in the Lakers'
rout of the Jazz. Mike D'Antoni
praised his star shooting guard's approach, saying that the dip in field goal attempts shouldn't be looked at as a sacrifice if the team ultimately comes out on top, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles
. McMenamin also takes a closer look at the impending return
of Steve Blake
, who practiced with the team today and could return to game action next week. You'll find the rest of tonight's Western Conference notes here:
- Earlier today, HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler answered some of his followers' questions on Twitter, saying that he doesn't think the Lakers aren't looking to move Dwight Howard before the deadline, Mike D'Antoni's job isn't necessarily safe right now, and that the Grizzlies aren't currently looking to make a deal with the Celtics (All Twitter links).
- Luke Ridnour has been a productive and dependable stop gap for the Timberwolves in spite of all the injuries he's handled this year, notes Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune.
- Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro wants Lamar Odom to be more aggressive on the offensive end, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Another 6'10 forward has been making waves in Los Angeles, albeit for the purple and gold. In another article, Ben Bolch examines Earl Clark's breakout year as a starter for the Lakers.
- Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin tells Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune that he wants to groom Gordon Hayward into a player who can be counted on to close games.
- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says there's no doubt in his mind that Dirk Nowitzki will be an All-Star again, writes Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW.
- Jason Smith has played with
a reckless abandon that has earned the attention and respect from his
teammates and the Hornets coaching staff, observes John
Reid of NOLA.com.
- Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post makes a case for why Warriors guard Stephen Curry was the biggest snub of this year's All-Star game.
The Jazz have picked up all four rookie contract options on their docket this offseason, according to Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune (via Twitter). The team exercised its fourth-year options on Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward, along with its third-year options on Enes Kanter and Alec Burks.
Favors, 2010's third overall pick, represents the priciest decision of the group, as he'll now be in line for a guaranteed $6.01MM salary in 2013/14. He and Hayward, who will earn $3.45MM in '13/14, will be eligible for restricted free agency in 2014 unless they're extended next summer. As for Kanter and Burks, they'll earn $4.51MM and $2.2MM in 2013/14, with the Jazz holding additional options on both players for the following season.
To follow option decisions from around the NBA in advance of next week's deadline, check out our rookie contract option tracker.
Let's check out some odds and ends from around the Association as we prepare for a pair of second-round playoff games in Boston and Oklahoma City....
- Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com reports that the following players have been named to the U.S. select team, which will scrimmage against the Olympic roster this July: Klay Thompson, Jeremy Lin, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Kawhi Leonard, DeJuan Blair, Ryan Anderson, Taj Gibson and Derrick Favors. We'd previously heard that Kyrie Irving, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and DeMar DeRozan would be part of the squad.
- With the Clippers and Spurs preparing to face off in round two, Caron Butler tells reporters, including Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News, that he very nearly signed with the Spurs in December (Twitter link).
- The Heat announced today that Chris Bosh has a strained abdominal muscle and will be out indefinitely (Twitter link). Bosh's comments to the media today indicated that he's not expecting to return during the Pacers series (Twitter link).
- Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler would like to become a bigger offensive threat for the Knicks next season, as Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com writes.