Western Notes: Bennett, Jazz, Bost, Kobe

No one is ever going to mistake the Twin Cities for Los Angeles or Miami, but Wolves executive/coach Flip Saunders believes geography is overrated when it comes to attracting free agents, as Michael Rand of the Star Tribune notes.

“Our NBA has become, instead of destination city, it’s become destination players,” Saunders said. “Around our league it seems players gravitate toward other players to play with. We feel with some of the players that we have that we’re going to have the ability to get players to gravitate towards our organization because of that.”

It remains to be seen whether Andrew Wiggins and fellow No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett will develop into the sorts of players that others will want to team with, but whether one or both of them does could tell the tale of the Kevin Love trade for the Wolves, Rand argues. There’s more on the Wolves amid the latest from the Western Conference:

  • Minnesota’s 2015/16 team option on Bennett’s contract is a “lock” to be exercised, as Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities writes (Twitter links), though the Wolves have yet to make their final decision, one that’s due at the end of October.
  • Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey says he plans to keep one or two roster spots open for competition among the players the team invites to camp, as Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune observes. That suggests the team won’t add to its total of 13 players on fully guaranteed deals and is a positive development for Dee Bost, Jack Cooley and Kevin Murphy, the trio of players with whom the team has pacts that aren’t fully guaranteed. Still, a source tells Falk that Bost, who reportedly has a partial guarantee of $65K, still faces long odds to stick with the team.
  • The Lakers aren’t about to trade franchise icon Kobe Bryant, but even if they wanted to, one NBA GM tells Chris Ballard of SI.com that they’d meet a dead end, deeming Bryant’s trade value as “zero,” based on his bloated two-year, $48.5MM extension.
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