Western Notes: Gasol, Brooks, Paul

In using LeBron James‘ decision to bolt from the Heat and join the Cavaliers after the Spurs beat Miami in last year’s NBA Finals as an example, Geoff Calkins of the Commercial Appeal opines that how the Grizzlies fare in the playoffs will impact Marc Gasol‘s free agency decision. Gasol was not at all forthcoming when asked if the playoffs could have an impact on his future. The big man has spent his entire seven-year career with the Grizzlies. “I don’t know,” Gasol said. “Honestly, I haven’t put in my mind what’s going to weigh what, and I really don’t know. I honestly can’t tell you because I haven’t had time to even think about it. So, I don’t know.” 

PreviouslyGasol cast doubt on the idea that an early postseason exit for the Grizzlies would dissuade him from re-signing. Earlier this week owner Robert Pera expressed a similar view that the playoffs would not have much bearing on Gasol’s decision.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Blazers are decimated by injury, they are facing the Grizzlies — a team that has beat them in all four contests this season — and have several question marks heading into the summer. All of that presents this time period as the biggest challenge since GM Neil Olshey was hired in June 2012, John Canzano of the Oregonian opines. This summer, the team’s top player, LaMarcus Aldridgewill become an unrestricted free agent. Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez will also become unrestricted free agents.
  • Embattled Thunder coach Scott Brooks, whom the team is reportedly evaluating prior to making a decision on his future, has received three significant votes of confidence, Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman writes. Serge Ibaka has joined Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in supporting Brooks, who has guided the team since the 2008/09 season. “Why are you going to fire him?” Ibaka is quoted in a piece by Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype. “What has he done? Injuries were not his fault. Why would he go? He has not done anything. He’s not responsible for the injuries. He did his best with the team he had. Would [another] coach do better with a team with so many injuries? What could he possibly do about it? The team is with him. You can’t blame him for what has happened.”
  • Chris Paul has never led a team beyond the second round of the playoffs and although the star point guard has never received much backlash for his lack of postseason success, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders opines that if Paul fails to get far this postseason, his name won’t be associated with the transformation of the Clippers.
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