Western Notes: Felton, Gee, Mavs, Blazers

Raymond Felton is emerging as the Clippers’ primary backup to point guard Chris Paul, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports. Even though the club re-signed Austin Rivers on a three-year, $35.5MM deal, the Clippers like the way Felton controls the offense. Felton was signed to the veteran’s minimum in late July. “I just liked his toughness,” coach Doc Rivers said. “Every coach you talked to loved him. They said he was great in the locker room.”

In other news around the Western Conference:
  • Alonzo Gee‘s guaranteed contract doesn’t mean he has a guaranteed spot on the Pelicans’ roster, according to John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Gee, 29, could be the odd man out if Lance Stephenson secures a spot on the opening day roster, Reid continues. Gee signed for the veteran’s minimum this season, while Stephenson has a partially-guaranteed $1.2MM contract. Gee barely played during the first two preseason games, Reid notes, and Stephenson’s ability to play both guard positions, plus small forward, works in his favor. Gee, 29, appeared in 73 games with New Orleans last season, including 38 starts.
  • Argentinian small forward Nicolas Brussino has improved his prospects of making the Mavs’ 15-man roster, Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com writes. Brussino, who signed a partially-guaranteed three-year contract this summer, scored 13 points in 23 minutes against the Pelicans in the preseason opener. The fact that Brussino has enrolled in English-speaking classes is another sign that the team is serious about keeping him, Sneed adds.
  • Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee spent most of his summer working on his jump shot form, Cody Sharrett of Blazers.com reports. Plumlee finished third on the team in assists last season but rarely looked for his shot. He averaged 6.3 shot attempts despite starting every game. “He was important to us last year,” coach Terry Stotts told Sharrett. “His ability to be a playmaker will not be diminished. You can’t have too many playmakers on the court. The more guys that can dribble, pass and shoot, it just makes you a better team offensively.”
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