Western Notes: Grizzlies, Arthur, KG, Aldrich

GM Chris Wallace says the Grizzlies have skewed toward youth with the players they’ve signed to compensate for injury this season, given the cushion they’d already built for a playoff spot and the opportunity to “catch lightning in a bottle” with a prospect who pans out, as he tells Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Memphis has had success in this regard in the past with JaMychal Green, and Wallace is optimistic that Xavier Munford, who recently signed a two-year deal, will follow in his footsteps. “I’m very proud of both of those guys,” Wallace said. “They were given a golden opportunity to make the case that they’re NBA players. [Green]’s played more games than anybody has for us this year. JaMychal has proven he’s an NBA rotation player. Xavier came from further off the beaten path than JaMychal. Xavier had never been in an NBA training camp. Xavier had never had a call-up. But he’s got good size and is very long and rangy. He’s got good potential defensively. When he’s out there, it looks like he belongs and he does well. The coaching staff and his teammates are getting more and more confidence in him. You always have to be projective with younger players. He’s a major upward curve that’s very intriguing for us in the future.”

See more from the Western Conference:

  • Darrell Arthur wants to remain with the Nuggets, and he would like to do so with a new three or four-year deal, as he tells Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Still, the 28-year-old power forward is undecided about whether to turn down a player option worth more than $2.94MM for next season, as he also said to Dempsey. He’d have to opt out to get that long-term deal he wants, since he’s ineligible to sign an extension on the two-year deal he signed with the team last summer. In any case, he fielded strong interest from other teams at the trade deadline, according to Dempsey.
  • Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is optimistic that Kevin Garnett will return for next season, the last on his contract, but coach Sam Mitchell, a teammate of Garnett’s from 1995-2002, isn’t so sure the 39-year-old won’t retire this summer, as Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune relays. “There’s one person who knows his future, and that’s him,” Mitchell said of Garnett. “You know how he is. He’s just not going to tip his hand one way or the other. He has earned the right to do that.”
  • Doc Rivers believes the insertion of Cole Aldrich into the rotation in December sparked the Clippers‘ second unit, and he’s thrived in even more playing time of late, as Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times examines. Aldrich has a minimum-salary player option for next season.
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