Western Notes: Leonard, Hamilton, Blazers, Favors

With Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili all carrying a lot of mileage on their legs after multiple years of long playoff runs, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has taken to resting his old stars during back-to-backs while also limiting their game-to-game regular season minutes.

After the excellent play of Kawhi Leonard in last season’s NBA Finals, it might mean an increased role for the “3 & D” wing entering his third year. The San Antonio Express-News’ Jeff MacDonald shares, in a couple different tweets, that Popovich will be increasing Leonard’s responsibility on offense. McDonald thinks his scoring should jump significantly as a result.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference tonight:

  • The Timberwolves have expressed interest in unsigned free agent Richard Hamilton, but Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities tweets that there has been no further movement from GM Flip Saunders.
  • As noted earlier, the Blazers‘ starting five have yet to appear on the court together this preseason due to multiple injury issues.  The lack of time playing together means they haven’t gotten a chance to “gel” as a team, writes the Oregonian’s Mike Tokito.
  • Grantland’s Zach Lowe spoke with Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey about the Derrick Favors extension, and mentions in a tweet that Lindsey repeatedly mentioned the Bulls as a model for the Jazz franchise.
  • After the Jazz officially confirmed the four-year, $49MM+ extension this morning, everyone’s pretty happy writes the Deseret News’ Mike Sorenson.
  • Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune says Favors earned his extension with his defensive prowess for the Jazz.
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