Western Notes: Lakers, Bonner, Taylor

Projecting the playoff teams in the Western Conference would be difficult enough if it weren’t for the unresolved saga involving Eric Bledsoe and the Suns, but Phoenix is the true X-factor in the equation as it stands. The Suns were 28-15 when Bledsoe played last season, a winning percentage of .651 that would have made them the West’s sixth seed. They were just 20-19 without him, which dragged the team down far enough to miss the playoffs. Of course, there are plenty of other unknowns still at play in the West, and we’ll round up the latest here:

  • The inclusion of Toney Douglas and Bobby Brown among those in Tuesday’s Lakers workout was somewhat curious, since they both have deals to play in China, but both contracts contain NBA escape clauses, as USA Today’s Sam Amick explains. Douglas intends to head to China regardless and views the audition as an early tryout for when he returns stateside after the Chinese season ends, agent David Falk tells Amick. Brown is interested in joining the Lakers right away if given the opportunity, Amick adds, and presumably so are the rest of the hopefuls who took part in the workout.
  • Matt Bonner only re-signed with the Spurs for one year, but the 34-year-old would like to play until he’s 40, as he tells Jonathan Demay of the French-language website Basket USA (translation via Jeff Garcia of Project Spurs).
  • Two Western Conference teams invited former University of Wisconsin point guard Jordan Taylor to camp, but he turned them down to take a deal with Israel’s Hapoel Holon instead, tweets David Pick of Eurobasket.com. A trip to camp with an NBA team would have been a first for the 24-year-old, who spent summer league with the Bucks.
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