Western Rumors: Lakers, Claver, Casspi

The majority of Hoops Rumors readers who voted today think at least one New York team will make the playoffs this season, in spite of a combined 7-24 record for the Knicks and Nets. That might not be the case if those clubs were in the much tougher Western Conference. The Hawks are in third place in the East with a 9-8 record, while the Lakers have the same mark and sit in 10th place in the West. The imbalance figures to soften to some degree as the season wears on, but it’s still troubling for Western teams competing for a postseason berth. Here’s more from the West:

  • Wesley Johnson could have signed for more money and years to play with that Atlanta team and its much easier road to the playoffs, and the Bucks also offered a better deal than the Lakers, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Coach Mike D’Antoni‘s system prompted Johnson to instead choose the L.A. and a one-year contract for the minimum salary.
  • César Nanclares of TuBasket.com hears that Victor Claver is strongly considering a return to Europe amid disappointment over a reduced role this season with the Blazers (translation via HoopsHype). Nanclares points out the Spanish native’s contract runs through this season and next and that Portland isn’t likely to let him engineer a buyout this season, though the scribe wonders if the Blazers might be willing to cut ties this summer.
  • Rockets forward Omri Casspi is leaving agent Steven Heumann of the Creative Artists Agency and will sign with Dan Fegan of Relativity Sports, as Fegan tells Sportando contributor David Pick.
  • Former second-round draft pick Chukwudiebere Maduabum has signed with Tin Kalev Tallin of Estonia, Sportando’s Enea Trapani reports. The Nuggets hold the rights to Maduabum, the 56th overall pick in 2011.
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