Pacific Notes: Durant, Barnes, Scott, Jefferson

The Warriors are “the leaders in the clubhouse” for Kevin Durant, an NBA GM recently said to Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago (Twitter link), a comment that echoes the Tuesday report from Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports that Golden State would be Durant’s preferred choice if he leaves the Thunder. Wojnarowski heard that Durant isn’t leaning one way or another toward leaving Oklahoma City, but Goodwill’s report doesn’t indicate that Durant’s preference for the Warriors is contingent on a decision about the Thunder first. See more from Golden State amid news from the Pacific Division:

  • An “undercurrent of disenchantment” existed within the Warriors organization about the length of time it took for Harrison Barnes to return from a sprained ankle earlier this season, according to Monte Poole of Barnes, who missed 16 games with the injury, hasn’t shown enough to prove he’s worthy of a massive contract in restricted free agency this summer, Poole contends. The uncertainty over his future makes it easier to see why the Warriors drafted combo forward Kevon Looney last year, as Poole explains.
  • The second half of the season is essentially a referendum whether the Lakers retain Byron Scott for next year, sources close to the organization tell Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, who adds that Scott would help his cause if the team becomes more competitive and if the young players on the Lakers show signs of development. A lot of people around the league expect the Lakers will move on from Scott this summer, but the team says he’s definitely sticking around to the end of the season and will undergo an evaluation after that, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News said on NBA TV this week, as Harrison Faigen of SB Nation’s Silver Screen & Roll transcribes.
  • Power forward Cory Jefferson has returned to the Suns D-League affiliate following the expiration of his 10-day contract with Phoenix this past weekend, notes Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor (Twitter links).
  • The Suns have formally hired NBA coaching veteran Bob Hill as an assistant coach, the team announced. Wojnarowski reported Monday that the move would take place.
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