Northwest Notes: Paschall, Nnaji, Simons, Little

The long process of waiting for a phone call in free agency caused Eric Paschall to consider a career change, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Paschall didn’t receive a qualifying offer after playing for Utah last season and he spent nearly a month as an unrestricted free agent before signing a two-way contract with the Timberwolves in late July.

“It was just a lot, you know what I’m saying?” Paschall said. “I feel like mentally I wasn’t in the greatest place. Just tired. I was like, ‘I might just stop playing basketball.’ … You see the other players getting picked up, you’re not getting a call. You’re calling your agent every day. So I was at a point where I was like I might walk away.”

Paschall credits former teammate Donovan Mitchell and other players with helping him stay focused on the game. Dell Demps, who joined Minnesota’s front office over the summer, was a strong advocate for signing Paschall.

“It wasn’t really the easiest decision. Had to have a lot of tough conversations about it,” Paschall said of accepting the two-way offer. “But I feel like I’m in a pretty good place now. Pretty happy that I’m here.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • After spending the summer in the weight room, Nuggets power forward Zeke Nnaji has added 10 pounds of muscle and increased his vertical leap by four inches, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Nnaji will be competing with veteran center DeAndre Jordan for backup minutes in the front court. “I’ve really taken a giant leap coming into my third year,” he said. “This is an important year for me.”
  • After running the Trail Blazers’ offense during the second half of last season, Anfernee Simons has to adjust to playing alongside Damian Lillard, notes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. Simons has gotten off to a rough start to the preseason, making just six of 25 shots from the field, as he settles into his new role. “It’s a different kind of dynamic from last year because, obviously, I was like the primary ball-handler at all times,” Simons said.
  • Nassir Little is in a battle for the Trail Blazers’ starting small forward spot after injuries wiped out his summer, Fentress adds in a separate story. Little suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder in January, then had core muscle surgery in May and wasn’t able to play 5-on-5 until last week.
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