Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry declined to discuss how much contact he had with the Nuggets over the summer regarding Denver’s then open coaching position, which ultimately went to Michael Malone, but firmly believes the franchise made a good choice in its hire, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes. “They got themselves a really, really good coach, a guy that works his butt off,” Gentry said. “I don’t think there’s anybody out there that works any harder [than Malone] or understands the game. He’s been around it his whole life. So, I think they did great.“
Malone noted that Emmanuel Mudiay‘s recent ankle injury is related to the injury the rookie sustained while playing in China last season, Dempsey adds. When asked when Mudiay might return to game action, Malone said, “We trust our athletic training staff to tell us when he can get back on the floor to start practicing. And then obviously he’ll have to get through a practice before he can play in a game. To be honest, I think he’s probably a little ways away from that. So we’ll be cautious. It’s an injury he sustained while in China, and it’s kind of come back a little bit.“
Here’s more from the Western Conference:
- The reports that Blazers big man Meyers Leonard was offered and turned down a four-year, $60MM extension from the team are “grossly inaccurate,” according to Jason Quick of CSNNW.com (Twitter link). Leonard is eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer provided Portland extends him a qualifying offer worth $4,210,880.
- The Timberwolves have recalled point guard Tyus Jones from the Idaho Stampede, the team announced. The rookie had been with the Jazz’s D-League affiliate since December 5th as part of the league’s flexible assignment program.
- The Grizzlies have assigned James Ennis, Jarell Martin and Russ Smith to their D-League affiliate in Iowa, the team announced. This will be Ennis’ fifth stint with the Energy and the second for both Martin and Smith.