Western Notes: Westbrook, Kuzma, Payne, Hield

Russell Westbrook missed Thursday’s game against the Lakers, but the Rockets don’t anticipate him sitting out for long. Westbrook, who is dealing with a quad contusion, is expected to play Sunday against the Kings, coach Mike D’Antoni told Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link) and other media members. Fellow guard Eric Gordon, who hasn’t played in any games since the restart due to a sprained ankle, is expected to return sometime before the end of the seeding games, MacMahon adds.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Lakers have shot just 24.3% from long range since the resumption of play, but forward Kyle Kuzma has been one of the exceptions, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register notes. Kuzma is averaging 14.4 PPG while making nearly half (12 for 26) of his 3-point attempts. “I’m a little more healthier, but I’ve had time to really just put in work,” he said. Kuzma is eligible for a rookie scale extension after the season.
  • The Suns found a creative way to reduce their commitment to guard Cameron Payne, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. His $1.98MM salary for next season has a team option but only $25K is guaranteed if the Suns exercise it. Thus, Payne is essentially on a non-guaranteed contract next year even if the option is picked up, Marks adds. The Suns signed Payne to a two-year contract in late June.
  • Kings coach Luke Walton insists he still has faith in Buddy Hield, whose lucrative four-year extension kicks in next season. As Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee notes, Hield logged a season-low 11 minutes and matched his season low with three points against New Orleans on Thursday. “Buddy still has my trust and we need him,” Walton said. “We’re going to need him to come off (the bench) and provide that scoring punch that he’s done for us for most of the season. So it was hopefully just a one-game thing there as far as where those minutes were, but he’s a big part of our team.”
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12 thoughts on “Western Notes: Westbrook, Kuzma, Payne, Hield

  1. Sillivan

    According to John Hollingo, Kuzma is worth 4 years 27 million (6.7M per year)

    I’d like to compare him to Rashard Lewis or Kevin Love, these guys get max salary

    Kevin Love first year with LeBron 16.0 points a game
    Kuzma first year with LeBron 18.7 points per game

    I am not saying Kuzma is worth max salary, but he is comparable to Julius Randle 18M per, Bazemore 18M per,

      • harden-westbrook-mvps

        Why? He can’t shoot 3’s and is mediocre at best on defense.

          • harden-westbrook-mvps

            Kuzma shoots 33% from three, not even close. He did shoot close to 37% his promising rookie season, but has shot around 30-31% each year since then. Come one, he’s never going to be an elite 3-point shooting PF like Kevin Love.

    • The Human Rain Delay

      So much is wrong with this post ill just state that Kuz got those 18 per bc LBJ was inj and the team was a dumpster fire-

      Kinda like Morris on the Knicks earlier this year

      If your going to be handing out 18 mill for those players your going to be outta a job real quick

      • harden-westbrook-mvps

        The whole idea that people actually think that Kuzma forms a Big 3 along with LeBron and Anthony Davis is hilarious. Too funny!

    • ThePeople'sElbow

      don’t disparage Rashard or Kevin by comparing Kuzma to them. He’s not even close to being that consistent and may never be.

  2. hiflew

    Since Sterling sold the Clippers, I guess the Kings have taken the mantle of the biggest NBA joke outside of New York. It’s just a shame that De’Aaron Fox is going to have to waste at least the first part of his career in that purgatory.

  3. KnickerbockerAl

    They should trade Buddy. Bogdonovic is better chemistry. They can get value for Buddy. Was always surprised they gave up on W C Stein. Seems like a few teams have. Wonder why. Always thought he could be a great rim protector.

    • wagner13

      You’d be selling incredibly low though. Hield has been awful compared to last season and his contract isn’t doing management any favors. I would stick with him to at least try and improve his value. Stein has very little offensive versatility as demonstrated in Golden State and Dallas. In today’s NBA, you can’t get away with being a stagnant center without scoring upside unless you’re a lockdown defender

      • ntkings45

        WCS doesn’t really care much about basketball. He’s an airhead and never protected the rim at all which was baffling. They shouldn’t trade Hield in my opinion. Joerger was a much better coach for him and he thrived. They’ve jerked him around this year and treated him like a rookie for no reason other than he makes some bonehead plays which usually comes with straight scorers. I like Bogi, but he’s not a starting 2 guard. He breaks down as the long nba season goes on and just imagine if they actually made the playoffs. Buddy’s shooting and ability to create his own shot are tough to replace. I think they’ve just really managed him poorly. If anyone has to go, it’s Vlade then Luke. Unfortunately they are stuck with those 2 that don’t know what they are doing. They are the professionals that were given way too much responsibility way too early. They may never actually have good careers after playing because of this.

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