Western Notes: Paul, Jazz, Miller, Zion

While Oklahoma City is exceeding expectations this season, GM Sam Presti is still operating with the franchise’s long-term future in mind, Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman writes. Chris Paul is unlikely to be dealt before the deadline, but his play could be increasing his trade value and that helps the team’s long-term position, whether a trade happens this season or down the road. On Monday night, Paul had arguably his best game as a member of the Thunder, scoring 19 points in the fourth quarter as the team beat the Bulls.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Tony Jones of The Athletic wonders if the Jazz can turn their season around on their own or if the team needs to make a trade. While Utah could use additional depth, the franchise doesn’t have many assets that would make a trade worthwhile.
  • Darius Miller, who is recovering from a torn Achilles, spoke with William Guillory of The Athletic about his journey back to the court as well as the differences between the Pelicans this season vs. last. “Of course, we’ve had our ups and downs, but it’s a great group of guys,” Miller said. “Griff (head of basketball operations David Griffin) did a great job putting great teammates here, great people. Not just great basketball players, but great people. It’s been good getting to know all these guys. We’re still young, so we’re really just trying to figure out everything.”
  • Paul Pierce believes that the Pelicans should shut down Zion Williamson for the season, as he explains on ESPN’s The Jump. The 2019 No. 1 overall pick hasn’t played for New Orleans yet this season because of a knee injury.
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