Cory Joseph, cognizant that he was an afterthought as a deep reserve on the Spurs, didn’t even ask his agent about a rookie scale extension before the October deadline because he assumed the team wouldn’t give him one, as he tells Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. Now, amid a breakthrough year for the point guard, it seems like the Spurs will be hard-pressed to afford the raise he’ll likely merit, McDonald writes. “He always impressed me with the way he plays,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He is not blessed with the most talent in the world, but I don’t think there is anybody on the planet who gets more out of what he’s got.”
Here’s more out of the Western Conference:
- The Thunder have once again assigned Grant Jerrett to the Oklahoma City Blue, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced. This will be Jerrett’s seventh sojourn of the season with the Blue. The 21-year-old has only appeared in four games with the Thunder this season, and has averaged 1.8 points and 1.0 rebound in 5.9 minutes per contest.
- When the Thunder inked Ish Smith to a deal using a hardship exception back in November, he was looked at as little more than a short-term insurance policy, but Smith turned that audition into a guaranteed contract for the remainder of the season, Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman writes. Smith’s work ethic impressed the coaching staff, and with Reggie Jackson‘s future with the team cloudy, Smith remains an important part of Oklahoma City’s roster, Slater adds.
- The Pelicans created a traded player exception worth $507K for Russ Smith, and the Grizzlies created one valued at $3.15MM for Quincy Pondexter, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). Both players were part of the three-team deal with the Celtics for Jeff Green.
- Pondexter is overjoyed with the trade that brought him back to the Pelicans, Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com writes. “It’s unbelievable,” Pondexter said. “This game takes you full circle sometimes. To be back with [coach] Monty [Williams] and [GM] Dell [Demps] and the guys, there’s no place I’d rather be right now. [New Orleans] was always a second home in the league. I’m glad to be back.” Pondexter spent his rookie season in New Orleans and then was dealt to the Grizzlies for Greivis Vasquez.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.