Western Notes: Russell, Gasol, Freeland

Spanish national team coach Sergio Scariolo believes there is still a chance that Grizzlies center Marc Gasol will play in this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio, as he told the Spanish media outlet ACB.com (translation via Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype). “Marc is hoping to be there, but health comes first and the main thing is he recovers 100%,” Scariolo said. “When the time comes, he will tell us what’s his situation and his club’s opinion because with Marc there’s a lot of factors at play. I wish it was only up to him to make the decision.” While Scariolo’s comments were likely tinged with a dose of optimism, the mere possibility of Gasol being able to suit up and play this summer bodes well for the big man being able to be on the court for Memphis come opening night next season. Gasol is out for the remainder of the 2015/16 after undergoing surgery in February to repair damage to his broken right foot.

Here’s more from out West:

  • D’Angelo Russell tries not to think about the implications his performance could have for the future of the Lakers, but he believes that as he, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle play better, it helps the team’s case for free agents this summer, notes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News“If we keep playing at a high level, the sky is the limit,” Russell said. “That could dictate who wants to come here and who feels like we don’t need to bring this guy here because we have such and such. We can play a certain part.”
  • Joel Freeland, who signed a two-year deal with the Russian club CSKA Moscow this past summer, said he had a number of NBA offers, including one from the Mavericks, but chose to head overseas because of the playing time that doing so would provide, Mark Woods of MVP247.com relays. “I wanted to play. I probably had four or five offers from the NBA, but at the end of the day, nobody would guarantee me minutes,” Freeland told Woods. “And I never knew what my situation was going to be, going to those teams. So I felt like this was my best option, especially coming to a team with a great heritage, a great organization and a team that’s hopefully going to be fighting for championships.” Freeland became a free agent last offseason after his rookie deal expired and the Trail Blazers declined to submit a qualifying offer to him.
  • The Thunder have assigned Josh Huestis and Mitch McGary to their D-League affiliate, the team announced. Huestis has appeared in 18 games with the Blue this season, averaging 11.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in 32.9 minutes per night, while McGary has made 19 appearances and is averaging 15.0 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 25.6 minutes per contest.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

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