Northwest Notes: Barton, Gallinari, OKC, Bell

After being limited to 43 games in 2018/19 due to injuries, Nuggets swingman Will Barton has been slowed in camp due to a nagging hamstring ailment, which he admits has been frustrating, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

“Definitely a little deflating, coming off an injury-plagued season last year,” said Barton, who is entering the second season of his four-year, $53MM contract with the Nuggets. “The good thing is I feel good when I’m out there, I’m real confident, I’m not really holding back very much. Doing the things I like to do. Got a good rhythm, so not too depressed, but it is a little deflating because I don’t want to hold back, I want to be able to practice fully and play fully and do everything.”

The Nuggets have indicated that the starting small forward position is up for grabs, with Torrey Craig, Juan Hernangomez, and Michael Porter among the players vying for the role. Barton would seemingly be the favorite if and when he’s healthy, but his hamstring may put him behind the eight-ball in that competition to start the season.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Danilo Gallinari, acquired by the Thunder for salary-matching purposes in the Paul George blockbuster, is on an expiring contract and may not have a long-term stay in Oklahoma City, but a productive season could benefit both him and the team, writes Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. As Horne points out, if Gallinari is healthy and effective, the Thunder could flip him at the deadline, and he’d be in position to cash in as a free agent in 2020.
  • Royce Young of explores how the Thunder are adjusting to life in the post-Russell Westbrook era.
  • The Timberwolves are encouraging newly-acquired big man Jordan Bell to reclaim his basketball identity after playing a limited role in Golden State, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. “Jordan is not used to shooting. We want him to shoot,” Karl-Anthony Towns said of his new frontcourt mate. “Be a scorer. Be who you are. … Don’t feel you can’t use the talents that you’ve been practicing for so long but you don’t get to show.”
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