Western Notes: Rautins, KJ, Lin, Suns

The three teams doling out the greatest number of $10MM+ salaries this year are all from the Eastern Conference, as I examined this evening, but of the leaguewide total of 60 salaries of $10MM or more this season, Western Conference teams are set to pay 29 of them. That's a remarkably even split considering nearly a quarter of those salaries are concentrated with just the Nets, Knicks and Bulls. It demonstrates a depth of highly compensated talent in the West, which has been widely perceived as the NBA's power conference for years. Here's the latest news from the Western Conference:

  • Author R.E. Graswich contends in his book that Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson played a secondary role to David Stern in the fight to keep the Kings from moving, as Graswich explains to Cambi Brown of CBS13 in Sacramento. Graswich also claims that Johnson harbors a grudge against the Kings, who drafted Kenny Smith one spot before Johnson went off the board in 1987.
  • Andy Rautins spent last October with the Thunder, but it doesn't look like he'll be in an NBA camp this time around. The Fraport Skyliners of Germany have announced on their website that they've signed the former second-round pick (translation via Emiliano Carchia of Sportando).
  • Jeremy Lin tells ESPN.com that he believes Dwight Howard's arrival in Houston will alleviate some of the pressure the Harvard grad felt to perform for the Rockets last season, when he was down on himself for not duplicating "Linsanity."
  • Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic profiles new Suns coach Jeff Hornacek's assistants, two of whom were Suns teammates of Hornacek in their playing days.

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