Western Notes: Gobert, Faried, Udoh, Pelicans

The Jazz have a group of promising young big men that includes Derrick Favors and Trevor Booker, as well as Enes Kanter, who’s up for a rookie scale extension. Rudy Gobert didn’t see much playing time last season, but he’s put his offseason improvement on display in the FIBA World Cup this week, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe chronicles.

“We have really high hopes for him,” Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey said. “The tools Rudy has from a height and length standpoint are obvious, and he really likes basketball. A motivated seven-footer is a good place to start.”

Gobert is still a long way off, but it’ll be interesting to see how his development plays into the team’s negotiations with Kanter. Here’s more from the West:

  • Kenneth Faried, who’s also extension-eligible, expressed a desire this week to remain with the Nuggets, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com observes (Twitter links). The Thad Foucher client has only helped his stock with Team USA as he’s emerged as a game-changer in the FIBA World Cup.
  • The Cavs, Bulls and Kings all had interest in signing Ekpe Udoh, but the chance to play for Doc Rivers on a winning team that emphasized defense persuaded him to choose the Clippers instead, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Playing time was also a consideration, agent Michael Silverman tells Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
  • Omer Asik‘s arrival in New Orleans sets the Pelicans up for a drastic improvement defensively and figures to help boost the darkhorse MVP candidacy of Anthony Davis, as Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com examines in an Insider-only piece.

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