Southwest Notes: Thornton, Benson, Leonard

Marcus Thornton is growing frustrated with his fluctuating minutes for the Rockets, observes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Thornton was an integral part of the Rockets rotation earlier this season, when he started amid injuries, but his playing time has dwindled and become inconsistent.
“It’s very difficult,” Thornton said. “I have to keep myself in the game, see what’s going on from afar from the bench. When I get in, keep doing what I’ve been doing my whole life, put the ball in the basket. I have no reason at all. That’s the frustrating part. You don’t know. You have to go with whatever is going on and be ready.”
Thornton signed a fully guaranteed one-year deal for the minimum salary with Houston before the season. See more from the Southwest Division:
  • Pelicans owner Tom Benson has no intention of selling the team or the NFL’s Saints, as he made clear in a statement responding to a front-page editorial from Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune that argued Benson, 88, should sell the teams because of the legal fight over whom should inherit them upon his death.
  • Kawhi Leonard won the Defensive Player of the Year award shortly before signing his new five-year max contract this past summer, and he’s further justifying the pact with surprisingly strong offensive contributions this season, as Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News examines. “He’s an amazing defender and now he’s turning into the same kind of player on the offensive end,” Spurs coach/president Gregg Popovich said. “He’s a pretty special young man.”
  • Nick Johnson will play for the D-League affiliate of the Spurs, a source told Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor, as we passed along earlier. Click here to see more.
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