Western Notes: Donovan, Capela, Nuggets

Thunder coach Billy Donovan isn’t focusing on the impending free agency of star small forward Kevin Durant, who is eligible to hit the open market next summer, because he doesn’t want it to take away from his other duties as a coach, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman tweets. “I’ve said this before that I feel that my job and responsibility each day on the court is to our staff and myself to try and help Kevin grow and get better as a player, to try to help the team grow and get better as a team, and put our focus on those things,” Donovan said. “I think for me to focus on something that’s going to be all the way down the road in June or July or during that timeframe, I think I’m taking away my focus on what we need to do. We have enough to do I think right now as a staff to try to improve and get better.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Rockets intend to utilize second year big man Clint Capela in a larger role in an effort to reduce starting center Dwight Howard‘s minutes this season, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. “For me, it’s hard to focus on that right now because I’m really focused on the training camp, getting better every day,” Capela said. “But I think it is good for me. It is a good change. Right now, I have to focus on the right now. I’m going to get there, but I’m not there yet. I will be ready.
  • The battle for the Nuggets‘ final roster spot is likely to be between second-year players Erick Green and Nick Johnson, both of whom are competing to be the team’s third point guard, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes. Both players are signed to the league minimum, but Johnson’s deal is fully guaranteed, while Green’s includes a partial guarantee of $100K, though that won’t likely be the determining factor, Dempsey adds.
  • The Thunder‘s new offense is opening up scoring opportunities for all the players, and not just the outside shooters, Horne writes in a separate piece. “Definitely. Definitely more space,” point guard Russell Westbrook said. “Guys are in positions where they can score the basketball. The space is especially good for myself and it’s also good for guys that shoot the basketball really well, roll to the basket, whatever it is, can use their strengths really well.”
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