Western Notes: Pelicans, Curry, Batum

The Pelicans would prefer to re-sign all of their free agents this offseason which would allow them to stay over the cap and use the full mid-level exception to sign another veteran player, Zach Lowe of Grantland.com writes. New Orleans currently has $40,582,846 in guaranteed salary and another $16,699,815 in non-guaranteed funds committed for the 2015/16 campaign. Pelicans players who will become unrestricted free agents this summer include Omer Asik, Luke Babbitt, Jimmer Fredette, and Dante Cunningham.

Here’s more out of the NBA’s Western Conference:

  • 2014/15 NBA most valuable player Stephen Curry didn’t initially want the Warriors to draft him, and instead was hoping to go to the Knicks who were selecting one pick later than Golden State, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports writes. “The Knicks had [pick] eight and we thought in New York he’d be a great fit. We really wanted him to drop to eight,” Curry’s agent Jeff Austin said. “Once we got to seventh, we were like, ‘C’mon man, don’t pick him with [Golden State].’ At the time, the Warriors were not in our mind as a preferred destination.
  • The Blazers could look to deal Nicolas Batum and his expiring contract worth $12,235,750 this offseason, Jabari Young of CSNNW.com writes. When asked about the possibility of being traded, Batum said, “If that happens, it happens. That’s the business, I understand that. I mean, I can’t control that. All I can control is what I put on the court. I know what I am going to do this summer is try to get better.” If Portland is able to unload Batum the team could target Mavs forward Al-Farouq Aminu, Young speculates. Aminu has a player option worth $1,110,602 that he intends to opt out of this summer.
  • Dwight Howard is happy being a member of the Rockets, but he admitted that the venom fans spewed at him as a result of his free agent decisions still weigh on him, Kristie Reiken of The Associated Press relays. “Sometimes it hurts,” Howard said. “It used to hurt a lot more as I went from this guy that everybody likes to everybody hated me because I wanted to play basketball on another team. And I’m like: ‘Hey listen it’s really not that serious. If I stopped playing today, your life is going to be the same, my life is going to be the same, it’s just I’m not going to be playing basketball. So why should it matter what I decide?’

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