Western Notes: Warriors, Lakers, McCollum

Alvin Gentry‘s hiring as the coach of the Pelicans will leave a major void on Steve Kerr‘s coaching staff and Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group offers Luke WaltonBrian Shaw and Mike D’Antoni as possible replacements for the Warriors. Walton is currently the No. 3 assistant, but he has a strong feel for offense, is somebody Kerr has hand-picked for coaching success in the future and is the front-runner for the position, according to Kawakami. Shaw, a former Nuggets coach, visited the Warriors’ practice on Saturday and stayed for a while afterward, Kawakami reports. Kawakami describes D’Antoni as “a long shot” for the position. Kerr will focus on bringing someone in who is offensively-minded, Kawakami writes, because that was primarily Gentry’s role with the team.

Here’s more on the Western Conference:

  • All signs point to C.J. McCollum, who had his $3.2MM option picked up by the Blazers in October, getting more playing time next season because of his strong playoff run, Jabari Young of CSNNW.com writes. McCollum said he wants to get stronger, increase reaction to pick and rolls, and improve his mid-range shooting during the offseason, Young adds. “I’m going to work on everything like I always do,” said McCollum. “… “I got to step it up. It’s going to be a new year, I’m going to be in the league for two years now, so a better understanding of the game and how I can make my impact.”
  • The Lakers should target an overseas prospect to stash with the 27th pick of the draft, Bradford Doolittle of ESPN.com (insider piece) writes, because GM Mitch Kupchak said it’s unlikely the team carries three rookies on next season’s roster and although the option is risky, an overseas project offers long-term payoff. Candidates include Macedonian point guard Cedi Osman and French center Mouhammadou Jaiteh, Doolittle adds. The Lakers also own the second and 34th picks. At No. 34, Kupchak can target a high-risk, high-reward player with little financial consequence, Doolittle writes. Washington’s Robert Upshaw would be an ideal fit for those reasons, Doolittle adds.

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