Western Notes: Stotts, Gasol, O’Neal

Terry Stotts is on the last year of his contract, and management hasn’t said whether he’ll be back for a third season on the Blazers’ bench, writes Mitch Lawrence of The New York Daily News. Stotts’ staff is not feeling very good about their chances of returning after sliding down to fifth place in the West and in danger of finishing even lower, reports Lawrence. Since starting the season atop the West by winning 33 of their 44 games, the Blazers have been sub-.500, losing 16 of their last 29 games entering the weekend. In six seasons as a head coach with the Hawks, Bucks, and Blazers, Stotts has a record of 195-244.

More from the west:

  • Robert Sacre is often overlooked when the Lakers future is discussed, even though he’s one of only four players under contract after June, but he might become an integral part of the team going forward, writes Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times.
  • Pau Gasol told Marca.com (translation by Orazio Cauchi of Sportando) that he might stay with the Lakers after this season. His contract is set to expire after the season ends. Gasol said, “My priority is basketball. I want to be on a team with real chances of winning the championship next season. I don’t rule out staying in Los Angeles if the circumstances are appropriate.
  • Warriors veteran big man Jermaine O’Neal called any talk of firing coach Mark Jackson “ridiculous” and “unfair”, and said that if he plays another season it will be because of Jackson, writes Diamond Leung of The San Jose Mercury News. O’Neal said, The No. 1 reason that I will come back and play another year is because of Coach Jackson. I’m absolutely, 100 percent positive about that. He makes it easy to come in this gym every day, and there’s not a lot of coaches that do that.” He also mentioned that he would choose Golden State despite the distance from family because Jackson has shown just how much he cares about his players, writes Leung.
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