Western Notes: Jazz, Howard, Hickson, Beasley

The Clippers saw their 17-game winning streak finally come to an end last night in Denver, and now sit percentage points behind the Thunder in the Western Conference standings. Still, ESPN.com's Chad Ford gives the Clips the slight edge over OKC as the best team in the West at the moment. Here are a few more Western Conference notes from Ford's chat and from a variety of other writers:

  • Responding to questions about trade candidates like DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Love, Ford suggests the Timberwolves should trade Love sooner rather than later (though there's no indication they will), and says the Jazz wouldn't be a logical suitor for Cousins, since Utah isn't the sort of team that would take that risk.
  • Elsewhere in his chat, Ford questions whether it's a lock that Dwight Howard will sign a long-term deal with the Lakers, noting that D12 "still pines for Brooklyn." Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld also wrote last night (via Sulia) that it's hard to see a long-term marriage between Howard and the Lakers working. I still think L.A. is the overwhelming favorite to sign Howard, but it's not necessarily the sure thing it seemed to be at one point.
  • J.J. Hickson is an early candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, according to Alex Raskin of HoopsWorld. Hickson, who is playing on a one-year deal and could be a coveted free agent next summer, tells Raskin that he's not sure exactly what his future holds: "I don’t know. All I can do is control what I can control and that’s play the game of basketball and the rest will work itself out."
  • When Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors examined some of long-term deals signed last offseason that haven't worked out so far, he didn't mention Michael Beasley's three-year, $18MM contract with the Suns. But as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic writes, Beasley has "bottomed out" in Phoenix.
  • Newly-signed James Anderson talks to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle about what he hopes to bring to the Rockets.
  • Having been recalled by the Mavericks from the D-League earlier this week, Jared Cunningham tells Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News that his time with the Texas Legends was "good for me."

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