The Trail Blazers could move Nicolas Batum as he enters the final year of his contract, Jabari Young of CSNNW.com speculates. Batum, who will make approximately $12.2MM next season, may be shopped since GM Neil Olshey expects to actively reshape his roster this summer, Young continues. Wrist, knee and back injuries led to a disappointing 2014/15 season for Batum, as he indicated in his exit interview, the story adds. “I didn’t play the way I used to play,” he said. “I’ve been thinking too much.” If the Blazers trade Batum, they could make a run at Mavericks forward Al-Farouq Aminu, who has declared he will opt out of the final year of his contract and seek long-term security.
In other news around the Western Conference:
- Chandler Parsons will take an active role in recruiting free agents for the Mavericks this summer, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. Parsons, who underwent knee surgery last week, feels obligated to help the team land its free-agent targets and has developed plenty of contacts and relationships around the league to make that happen, Sefko continues. Parsons is sold on the organization and has a sales pitch ready when the time comes, Sefko adds. “We have a great organization,” Parsons said to Sefko. “We have high expectations. We have the best owner in sports. We’re definitely moving in the right direction, and we have a lot of pieces that would fit well with the free agents out there right now. And we have a great coach, so I think we’re moving in the right direction. We’re a championship-caliber team.”
- Clippers coach Doc Rivers believes the Rockets became a better defensive team with the additions of Josh Smith, Corey Brewer and Pablo Prigioni, according to Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle. Smith was signed by the Rockets after the Pistons released him in December during the second year of his four-year contract. Brewer was acquired from the Timberwolves in a three-team trade during the same month, while Prigioni was dealt by the Knicks in February. “They have added great personnel,” Rivers said to the media covering the Clippers-Rockets playoff series. “When you think about the guys they added, Prigioni is a tough defensive guard and Corey Brewer has been amazing for them. Josh Smith has really been big, too.”