Western Notes: Barton, Merrill, Kings, Thunder

New Wizards swingman Will Barton was somewhat shocked when he got traded out of Denver this offseason, he told Mike Singer of the Denver Post. The Nuggets dealt Barton and Monte Morris to Washington in exchange for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith last month.

“It was just like a shock, but not too much of a shock,” Barton said when asked about the trade. “It was a shock in that, obviously, I had been there eight years, did so much there together, so it’s always shocking when you’ve been somewhere for so long and you’re moving on. But, at the same time, I embraced it, I’m welcoming a new chapter.”

Barton is expected to compete for a starting role with the Wizards, who finished just 35-47 last season. As Singer details, the veteran wing, who spent seven-and-a-half seasons with the Nuggets, is hoping to help his new team go from the lottery to the playoffs, like he did in Denver. When Barton joined the Nuggets, they were in the midst of a 30-52 season, but he left a team that looks like a legitimate contender.

“Just turning that whole thing around, that’s the biggest thing,” Barton said. “I came (to Denver), we were not good. We did not have a good culture. To see where it is now, and know that I played a heavy role in that, can’t be more rewarding. That’s the greatest achievement for me when I look back at it.”

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

  • Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee examines whether Sam Merrill will fit into the Kings’ plans once training camp begins on September 27. Merrill reportedly agreed to a two-year, partially guaranteed deal with the team. He’ll compete for a roster spot in camp.
  • Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman examines multiple Thunder-related topics in his mailbag, including notes related to Chet Holmgren and which players he’d protect in a hypothetical expansion draft. Oklahoma City is continuing a full-scale rebuild, having finished just 24-58 last season.
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