Northwest Notes: Lopez, Kaman, Jazz

The future of Robin Lopez in Portland may depend on LaMarcus Aldridge‘s decision, writes Jabari Young of Both will become free agents in July, and Young notes that Lopez’s defensive skills and Aldridge’s offensive prowess are perfect complements to each other. If Aldridge leaves, the Blazers might turn to the free agent market for a new big man, pursuing either the Pistons’ Greg Monroe or the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Veteran center Chris Kaman hopes the Blazers bring him back for one more season, according to Sean Meagher of The Oregonian. Portland used its mid-level exception last summer to give Kaman a two-year, $9.8MM deal, but the team holds the option on his 2015/16 contract. He is slated to make $5MM next season, but only about $1MM of that is guaranteed. Kaman became a reliable backup center for the Blazers and a mentor to Meyers Leonard. He offered an unusual compliment to Portland coach Terry Stotts. “I told Terry he’s the first coach I haven’t hated when the season was over since Mike Dunleavy,” Kaman said. “It’s been a while that I haven’t hated somebody.” 
  • In a separate story, Meagher talked to several Portland-area media members to get their opinions on Kaman. There was general agreement that the Blazers should keep him on the roster for another season, although probably in a reduced role, given his age and Leonard’s projected improvement.
  • With their franchise cornerstones in place, the Jazz can concentrate on making smaller improvements this summer, contends Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. He cites areas of need as veteran leadership and backcourt stability. Utah will likely have the 12th pick in next month’s draft, along with some cap flexibility to add a veteran or two.

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