Western Notes: Powell, Hairston, Payne

Mavs big man Dwight Powell, who inked a four-year, $37MM deal to remain in Dallas this offseason, will be counted on to play center more this season as well as to expand his shooting range to help stretch defenses, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes. “The 3-point shot is a natural progression,” coach Rick Carlisle said regarding his expectations for Powell. “We’ve worked extremely hard with him on it. And exhibition season is a great opportunity to [work on it]. He’s a two-position player who gives us flexibility because he can switch and move his feet and stay in front of little guys, too. He’s a player at four and five that is starting to really define our game, the ability to play big and small, to some degree.” The 25-year-old is a career 18.5% shooter from beyond the arc, connecting on just 5 of his 27 attempts.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Rocketsdeal with P.J. Hairston is non-guaranteed and will pay him $980,431 for 2016/17, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (via Twitter).
  • Thunder coach Billy Donovan is taking a positive approach to Cameron Payne‘s broken foot that will keep him out of action indefinitely, believing that the missed time won’t necessarily impede the second year player’s development, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes. “I think any player, when they get back, it’s just getting into that rhythm of being able to play and that comfort and getting back in shape,” Donovan said. “So, I think once he gets back to that point — then I think that there may be this opportunity for him — sitting out could be the best thing for his growth. Sometimes, you get a chance to grow when you’re not playing.
  • With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin able to opt out of their deals and become unrestricted free agents next summer, the Clippers will have some decisions to make regarding their futures in Los Angeles. Based on owner Steve Ballmer’s track record and the word of team sources, the franchise will pay whatever it takes to retain both players, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com writes. The scribe adds that both players have deep business and personal ties to the area, which increases the likelihood they will re-sign with the Clippers. Shelburne also notes that the only way the team would net a decent return if it decided to trade one of the duo this season, would be if Paul/Griffin would agree to waive their player option for 2017/18. With the cap set to jump to over $100MM next summer, there is no logical reason for either player to agree to that stipulation, Shelburne opines.
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