Western Notes: Smith, Lakers, Kings

The Rockets have informed TNT analyst Kenny Smith that he will not be the next coach of the team, citing a need for a head coach with experience, a source tells Calvin Walkins of ESPN.com. Houston was impressed with Smith and the team believes he will become a head coach in the future, Walkins adds. “The Rockets have a philosophy of what they think their coach should be,” Smith said on TNT’s pregame show. “But right now I’m here, and it looks like I’m going to be here.”

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak indicated that “nobody’s off limits” in a trade, writes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News“You have to take phone calls. If that does happen, that’s a good thing,” Kupchak said. “That means you have players that other teams want.” 
  • The Lakers are expected to make their first round pick available should they end up with the No. 3 overall pick, multiple sources tell Chad Ford of ESPN.com. If they land the No. 3 selection and they do not trade it away, Dragan Bender is the optimal pick for Los Angeles, Ford opines.
  • Kings president of basketball operations Vlade Divac is high on Buddy Hield and he could be the selection should the Kings move up in the draft lottery, Ford writes in the same piece. If they don’t move up in the lottery, Ford expects the team to seek out a trade, as the franchise is looking to win now.
  • The Suns are most likely to pick Bender provided they don’t end up with a top-2 pick, Ford argues in the same piece. Phoenix has a 24.5% chance at landing a top-2 pick and a 82.8% chance at landing a top-5 selection.
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