Northwest Notes: Donovan, Thunder, Batum

Recently fired Pelicans coach Monty Williams is among Billy Donovan’s targets for assistants with the Thunder, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Other rumored candidates are Bulls assistant Andy Greer, Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts and Knicks assistant Brian Keefe, who left Oklahoma City for Derek Fisher’s staff in New York last season. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook reportedly have a close relationship with Keefe and would be happy to see him return. Mike Brown, former head coach of the Cavaliers and Lakers, allegedly turned down an offer to join Donovan’s staff. Wojnarowski reports that Donovan will retain Thurnder assistants Mark Bryant and Darko Rajakovic and will make ex-Alabama coach Anthony Grant his third assistant coach. Billy Schmidt, who was part of Donovan’s staff at Florida, may come to OKC in a player development role.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • More than half of the Thunder’s interviews at this week’s NBA Draft Combine were with point guards and shooters, notes Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. With Oklahoma City slotted at 14th headed into Tuesday’s draft lottery, that’s probably too low to get any of this year’s talented big men. However, Mayberry points out that the Thunder are in need of shooting help. “They said they know they need outside shooting,” said Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison, one of the players interviewed. “And I’m a shooter. I just got to hopefully get a workout with them and just dominate the workout.”
  • The BlazersNicolas Batum won’t be resting this summer after a disappointing season, writes Casey Holdahl of Batum plans to represent France at EuroBasket [the European Championships], which his nation is hosting. Batum, who is entering the final season of a four-year contract and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, admits the recently ended season didn’t go as he had hoped. “I can say this was my toughest [season],” Batum said. “I didn’t play the way I used to play. I was thinking too much.”
  • Tim Frazier presents an intriguing decision for the Blazers, Holdahl contends in a separate story. The D-League’s Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player signed with Portland late in the season and has a non-guaranteed contract for next year worth $845K. Holdahl also focuses on Blazers veteran guard Steve Blake, who will probably be entering his final NBA season, Holdahl contends.

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