Western Notes: Gentry, Nowitzki, Huestis

The Pelicans have been hit hard by injuries this season and currently have seven players who are out for the season. As a result, the team has been forced to cycle through players inked to 10-day deals, a difficult coaching task that Alvin Gentry has handled well, writes Justin Verrier of ESPN.com. “I know what they’re going through,” point guard Toney Douglas said. “Always night in, night out, you’ve got to prove yourself. But Coach Gentry, man, he did a great job of bringing these guys in and making them feel comfortable. Because sometimes you come in on a 10-day and you’re all, ‘Oh, I’ve got to put pressure on myself and do something.’ But here it’s not the case. Be who you are within the system, play freely.”

The decision to hire Gentry, as well as his job future, were reportedly called into question earlier this week, though GM Dell Demps later denied that the front office had lost its confidence in the coach. Here’s more from out West:

  • Both Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell are under contract for the Lakers next season and coach Byron Scott noted that the pair coexisting for another year shouldn’t be an issue despite the current tension, Jovan Buha of ESPN.com relays. “At the end of the day, we’re all grown men in here,” Scott said. “People make mistakes and you have to understand that and you have to just kind of move on. Now, will they ever be buddy-buddy again? I don’t know. But they do have to coexist as long as they’re both here, and I think they can.
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has failed Dirk Nowitzki and has not rewarded the power forward’s willingness to accept a below-market deal by surrounding him with championship-caliber players, Tim Cowlishaw of The Dallas Morning News writes. The scribe also opines that Nowitzki couldn’t be faulted if he declined his player option worth $8,692,184 for 2016/17 in order to latch on with a contending team this summer.
  • The Thunder recalled small forward Josh Huestis from their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This concludes Huestis’ 15th assignment this season to the Blue. He has appeared in 25 games and is averaging 12.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.44 blocks in 32.1 minutes.
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