Northwest Notes: Love, Mohammed, Huestis, Blazers

If the Cavaliers decide to break up their team this summer, Denver could be a good landing spot for Kevin Love, according to Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. Dealing the 6’10” power forward, who is owed $93MM over the next four seasons, would ease the salary and luxury tax burdens that Cleveland has accepted in search of a title. Dempsey believes the Nuggets have the right combination of draft picks and young players to make a deal possible, citing rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay and rookie center Nikola Jokic as the only untouchable players on the roster. The writer notes that Love would be the star player Denver is searching for, while the Cavs could pick up some young pieces who fit better into coach Tyronn Lue’s up-tempo style.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • It’s no coincidence that the Thunder started to improve right after Nazr Mohammed arrived, writes Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City had dropped six of eight games before signing the veteran center on March 5th. Even though he has only seen 10 minutes of playing time, the Thunder’s record since the move is 11-3. Mohammed, who was with OKC once before and maintained close relationships with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, downplays the effect of his leadership on the team. “They were gonna make strides in that direction no matter what,” he said. “I can’t take any credit for it.”
  • Josh Huestis, who has made 15 trips to the D-League this year, may get some meaningful minutes for the Thunder before the season ends, Horne writes in a separate story. Oklahoma City has four games in the next seven days and is virtually assured of the third spot in the Western Conference. “In all reality, Josh hasn’t been in the rotation the entire year,” said coach Billy Donovan. “He got the opportunity in Detroit [when Huestis played 15 minutes], but there could be some opportunities down the road. He did some nice things against Detroit and showed some signs he can be a good player.”
  • Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum should form the foundation of the Blazers for years to come, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. The 25-year-old Lillard and the 24-year-old McCollum have already become one of the league’s best backcourts. Portland gave Lillard a five-year extension last summer, while McCollum is still on his rookie contract and is signed through next season.
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