Western Notes: Heslip, Marion, Spurs

The NBA season won’t officially start until Tuesday, October 28th, when the Spurs begin their season against the Mavericks. An expert poll over at ESPN.com has picked San Antonio to repeat as NBA champs, with the Cavs coming in second, and the Thunder rounding out the top-three. The Heat were the last franchise to go back-to-back, winning titles in 2012 and 2013, while the Spurs have never accomplished that feat.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Wolves were impressed with undrafted point guard Brady Heslip‘s performance for their summer league team, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). Heslip recently changed agents, hiring Bernie Lee, and is attempting to land an NBA training camp invitation, Wolfson adds.
  • The Thunder have named Mark Daigneault as the new head coach of their D-League team, reports Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders. Daigneault spent the last four seasons as an assistant on Billy Donovan‘s staff at Florida, and replaces Darko Rajakivic who accepted a position on Scott Brooks‘ staff with the Thunder. Speaking about the hire, GM Sam Presti said, “Mark has placed a high value on development throughout his career and we feel that he is well aligned with the goals of our organization. His experience at Florida under Coach Donovan has provided him the platform to apply his intelligence and relationship skills to help strengthen the program. We are excited about Mark joining the organization and continuing his professional growth.
  • When Shawn Marion left the Mavericks as a free agent this summer to sign with the Cavaliers, he did so knowing that he would come off the bench and play fewer minutes than he had in Dallas, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. In regards to Marion leaving, Mavs owner Mark Cuban said, “It’s different when you’re going back to your same team as supposed to going to a new team. I think there’s a different dynamic and different expectation.”  Marion placed the opportunity to contend for a championship above monetary and playing time concerns in making his team selection, notes MacMahon.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

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