Western Notes: Suns, Aldridge, Thunder, Kings

No team except perhaps the Sixers was viewed as more likely to tank the 2013/14 season than the Suns, who shipped out Luis Scola over the summer and traded Marcin Gortat just days before the regular season began. But team president Lon Babby takes issue with the idea that Phoenix is intentionally trying to lose games, as he tells Sean Deveney of the Sporting News.

“There is a key difference between acknowledging that you’re rebuilding, which we are, and some notion that you’re not trying to succeed,” Babby said. “Anybody in this business, because you’re competitive, and you have a competitive nature, it is not going to do anything but give your heart and soul to try to win every night.”

It may be an question of semantics, but Babby’s comments, along with the strong starts to the season for the Sixers and Suns, are a reminder that while a front office may put a team in position to lose games, the players on the court are certainly trying to win.

Here’s more from around the West:

  • Rival team executives will continue to monitor LaMarcus Aldridge‘s situation in Portland, but the Blazers forward tells Sam Amick of USA Today that he has no desire to be moved. Asked about his current attitude, Aldridge replied: “It’s not ‘If there’s a better deal, then get me out of [Portland] or take that.’ It’s ‘We’re here. Let’s win, and let’s try to have the best season that we can.'” Amick adds that there’s a league-wide belief that GM Neil Olshey wouldn’t even consider an offer for Aldridge unless it included at least an All-Star player, among other things.
  • Responding to comments made by ESPN’s Bill Simmons, Oklahoman contributor Jon Hamm rebuts the idea that the Thunder need to become a taxpaying team to win the title.
  • On the heels of a 19-point outing from Ben McLemore, Kings coach Michael Malone tells Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee that the rookie guard is “a big part of our future.”

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