Western Rumors: Bennett, Morris, Clippers

Anthony Bennett’s spirited play with the Canadian national team at the FIBA Americas tournament provides hope that he can still live up to his status as the top pick in the 2013 draft, Eric Koreen of the National Post reports. The Timberwolves power forward has endeared himself to Canada coach Jay Triano by running the floor, setting screens and attacking the rim, Koreen continues. “I think Anthony Bennett’s summer has been absolutely fantastic for us,” Triano told reporters at the tournament. “He’s engaged in everything that we do on the floor, off the floor, rebounding. We’ve asked him to rebound, and he’s done it on a continuous basis. He runs the floor on a continuous basis. He provides help on the defensive end. He understands our defensive system.” Canada has not featured Bennett much offensively, but he has been effective when given opportunities, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun points out. Bennett was shooting 68.2% on two-point attempts while averaging 10.3 points and 7.3 rebounds through the team’s first four games. Bennett has been Canada’s de facto center but with Minnesota using its No. 1 overall pick on Karl-Anthony Towns this summer and plenty of competition in a crowded frontcourt, Bennett might not be able to display his improvement immediately, Koreen adds.

In other news around the Western Conference:


  • The Raptors, Magic, Celtics, Rockets and Pistons are the five most logical landing spots for disgruntled Suns power forward Markieff Morris, Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders opines. Morris, who is entering the first year of a four-year, $32MM extension, demanded a trade after Phoenix dealt his brother, Marcus Morris, to the Pistons in July.
  • Clippers owner Steve Ballmer turned down an offer of $60MM annually from Fox Sports to broadcast his team’s games locally, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Ballmer asked for $100MM annually, executives familiar with the talks told Turner, but Fox declined. Ballmer is considering other options, including creating his own network and streaming the games, Turner adds.
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