Western Rumors: Turiaf, Clippers, Gasol, Lopez

Wolves coach/executive Flip Saunders told reporters today that it’s likely he’ll try to find a way to use Ronny Turiaf‘s roster spot to help the team in the short term, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. Turiaf had surgery today on his right hip, and it’s unclear when he’ll be able to return. His contract, which calls for him to make a guaranteed $1.5MM this year, is up at season’s end, as Zgoda notes. Minnesota is already carrying 16 players through a hardship exception granted in part because of Turiaf’s injury, so his extended absence wouldn’t give the team any more ammunition to apply for a 17th roster spot, which it would be unlikely to receive, anyway. There’s more injury-related news amid the latest rumblings from around the Western Conference:

  • Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers acknowledged a report that the team is interested in Jermaine O’Neal, telling gathered media, including Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times, that he’s casting a wide net (Twitter link). “Hey, count me in for everybody,” Rivers said. “… We’re looking at everything.”
  • Jordan Farmar isn’t enamored with his limited role under Rivers, who’s giving him just 15.0 minutes per night, observes Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Farmar’s deal with the Clippers includes a player option worth more than $2.17MM for next season.
  • Marc Gasol isn’t tiring of hearing his name in rumors as he nears free agency in the summer ahead, but he once more made it clear that he’s quite pleased to be in Memphis, notes Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link). The Raptors are the latest team reportedly gearing up for a run at the Grizzlies big man.
  • Robin Lopez is expected to miss the next four weeks after suffering a broken right hand in Monday’s win for the Blazers against the Spurs, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The Blazers have 15 fully guaranteed contracts, so they have little flexibility to find a replacement.

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