Western Notes: Westbrook, Nash, Lakers

Rejoining Oklahoma City for his first game since getting injured during last season’s playoffs, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook sat down with NewsOK’s Darnell Mayberry to discuss his return. When asked if he feels just as explosive as he was before the injury, Westbrook replied:

“Yeah. I feel great. I feel I’m in a good spot. I’m happy and blessed to be able to be able to play basketball again and go on the floor and fight for my teammates. First, I want to thank all the fans and all my family and friends and maybe some of you guys for your support throughout this period. It’s been a tough one, but I’m happy to be back.”

With that aside, here are some more links to share from around the Western Conference tonight:

  • Though Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld had earlier intimated that Steve Nash has little trade value as of now, Alex Kennedy (also of Hoopsworld) tweets that the former MVP could indeed be traded and hears from multiple sources that the Raptors are a possible landing spot.
  • Responding to his followers on Twitter, Kyler downplayed the likelihood that Pau Gasol and/or Nash get traded this season. Kyler reasons that Gasol and Nash make too much money for other teams to be interested, and that clearing Pau’s salary off their cap next July is much more valuable to the Lakers than shopping his expiring contract at the trade deadline (All Twitter links).
  • Sam Amick of USA Today talks about what Westbrook’s return means for the Thunder.
  • Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times provides a brief parallel between Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and the Rockets’ Dwight Howard as far as struggling to mesh with their respective coaches last season and being in better situations now. On a much lighter note, Howard credited “playing slower songs in his head” for his recent minor streak of improved shooting from the free throw line (Jonathan Feigen of Ultimate Rockets).
  • Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw might consider re-shuffling his starting lineup to include Kenneth Faried at power forward, according to Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post.

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