Western Notes: Mavs, Cole, Tskitishvili

The competition for who will be the starting center for the Mavericks is one of the most important preseason battles to watch, writes Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com. The winner of the training camp battle may not be the player who is the most talented, according to coach Rick Carlisle, Sneed adds. “You know, ultimately, who’s better may not be the one that starts,” Carlisle has said in the past. “I mean, we’ve done things a little different way than some teams the last several years. … The thing that’s exciting is the possibility of having another roster full of capable players and guys that are good and guys that are experienced. And at this point in their careers, they’re aiming more towards winning and getting back into the conversation of getting a ring than just trying to get some stats and get their next deal.

Dallas currently has Zaza Pachulia as the projected starter at the pivot, with JaVale McGee, Samuel Dalembert, and Salah Mejri also competing for a shot to make the team and the rotation. McGee would appear to be Pachulia’s stiffest competitor for the starting slot, though there are some concerns regarding McGee’s health.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry acknowledged that the team hopes to have restricted free agent Norris Cole back, but he referred any questions regarding the status of the contract negotiations between the player and team to GM Dell Demps, John Reid of The Times Picayune writes. ”I don’t know, I’ll leave that one to Dell to answer,” Gentry said when asked about Cole’s potential return. ”Obviously we would like to have him back on our team. He’s an important part of our team, but that’s something that will have to get answered on the [front office] side of it. But you know as a coach, I would like to have him back and I’m sure Dell wants him back also.” The Lakers also expressed interest in Cole this Summer, according to Reid.
  • Nikoloz Tskitishvili‘s one-year deal with the Clippers is a non-guaranteed Summer pact that includes limited injury protection, meaning it is an Exhibit 9 contract, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (on Twitter).
  • Despite the bizarre and unnecessary trade that the team made with the Sixers, the Kings enter the 2015/16 season with a solid collection of talent, though Sacramento will likely fall just short of securing a playoff berth, Tim Bontemps of The New York Post (Facebook link) opines in his season preview for the franchise.
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