Northwest Notes: Ingles, Plumlee, OKC, Roberson

The Jazz have several crucial roster decisions to make this offseason, including a couple that could be very expensive decisions. George Hill‘s contract will expire, Gordon Hayward can opt out and become an unrestricted free agent, and Rodney Hood and Dante Exum will be extension-eligible for the first time.

As Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune details in a mailbag, Utah will also have another key under-the-radar decision to make on Joe Ingles. In Jones’ view, Ingles has “outplayed the Jazz’s hopes for his ceiling as an NBA player.” While that’s good news, it will also make it tricky to keep him beyond this season, since he could be a hot commodity as a restricted free agent. Jones expects the Jazz to do everything they can to keep the veteran forward, even if it means moving someone else’s salary.

Here’s more from around the NBA’s Northwest division:

  • Much has been made of Jusuf Nurkic‘s impact in Portland over the last few weeks, but the Nuggets have liked their end of that February trade with the Blazers too. Nick Kosmider of The Denver Post takes a closer look at Mason Plumlee‘s play for his new team, including the big man’s defensive impact (mailbag link), and his fit alongside Nikola Jokic (column link).
  • Taj Gibson has fit nicely into the Thunder‘s starting lineup, and the team’s bench has been more productive since the trade deadline, but questions still remain about OKC’s rotation, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman.
  • Michael Pina of Vice Sports makes a case for why Thunder forward Andre Roberson deserves Defensive Player of the Year consideration.
  • The $125MM renovation project for the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Utah will begin on Monday after the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, according to a Deseret News report. The brunt of the construction will take place during the NBA offseason and is expected to be complete in time for the Jazz‘s 2017/18 season.

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