Southwest Notes: Gentile, Conley, Ajinca

Swingman Alessandro Gentile didn’t join the Rockets after they drafted him 53rd overall this past June, but he’s growing increasingly fascinated with the idea of playing in the NBA, as he tells the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The Rockets have traveled to scout him and been in frequent contact, and they’ve made him feel like a family member, Gentile added. All of it seems like a departure from Gentile’s comments in September, when he said that he had no interest in playing in the NBA and questioned whether he ever would. Here’s more from around the Southwest Division:

  • The Grizzlies have benefited from Mike Conley‘s discount deal since the 2010/11 season, but they’ll face a challenge when it comes off the books just when teams are set to have plenty of cash to throw around in 2016, as Amin Elhassan of examines in an Insider-only piece.
  • Jim Eichenhofer of examines the changes to Alexis Ajinca that have allowed him to become a contributor for New Orleans since rejoining the NBA last season after an absense of more than two years. Ajinca’s minimum-salary deal with the Pelicans is up at season’s end.
  • The final pick of the 2014 first-round is headed on D-League assignment for the fourth time this season, as the Spurs have sent Kyle Anderson to their affiliate, the team announced. Still, Anderson has averaged 12.6 minutes per game and made eight starts for the big club this season.
  • The Mavericks have recalled Dwight Powell from the D-League just one day after sending him down, tweets Earl K. Sneed of The rookie power forward scored 33 points in 37 minutes Wednesday for the D-League Texas Legends.

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