With the countdown until the NBA’s opening night down to five days, let’s round up a few Thursday items out of the Western Conference….
- The Jazz and Gordon Hayward are working toward a lucrative extension, but if no deal gets done, he figures to have no shortage of suitors. Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who’s also in charge of player personnel, says he has a “man-crush” on the 6’8″ swingman, notes Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune.
- Kevin Durant laughed off Jalen Rose’s prediction that the star forward would join the Rockets when his deal with the Thunder expires, as Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman writes. Durant told Mayberry that he’s not thinking “that far down the line” and that he loves playing in OKC.
- At one point it looked like back issues might force Mike Miller into early retirement, but now he says he feels as good as he has in five years, according to Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld. After having been amnestied by the Heat in July, Miller acknowledges that his old team remains the frontrunner heading into the season, but adds that he and the Grizzlies have championship aspirations as well.
- Doc Rivers has yet to coach a regular season game for the Clippers, but he already has the respect and trust of his players, as Arash Markazi details in a piece for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.