Northwest Notes: Smith, Conley, Blazers, Hendricks

Journeyman guard Ish Smith nearly remained with the defending champion Nuggets before he signed with the Hornets but not as a player, Bennett Durando of the Denver Post reports. He was offered a front office role that he described as an apprenticeship. He would have been based out of Charlotte while making trips to Denver to learn the ropes of being a front office exec from various people in basketball operations.

“I was gonna do some consulting, and start learning the business a little bit more,” said Smith, who appeared in 43 regular season and four postseason games with the Nuggets last season. “Start transitioning to some front office. Some coaching.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves guard Mike Conley will enter unrestricted free agency following this season. Conley has been a key figure in Minnesota’s blazing start, averaging 11.5 points and 6.2 assists, and there’s early optimism among league figures that he’ll re-sign with Minnesota, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Conley, who entered the league in 2007, will turn 37 prior to next season.
  • The Trail Blazers were late to the party but they finally have their own G League team in the Rip City Remix. Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report details how two-way player Ibou Badji and 2023 draft picks Kris Murray and Rayan Rupert have benefited from the experience they’ve gained with the G League club. “It’s so much easier to have them in the same building and have them around,” Remix coach Jim Moran said.
  • Jazz lottery pick Taylor Hendricks is also getting additional experience in the G League after appearing in 11 NBA games. Coach Will Hardy believes that will beneficial to his development, Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. “He’s gonna get way more minutes than he was when he was with us and continue to improve,” Hardy said. “The road is long for Taylor. I’m not overreacting to anything that goes on with him right now.”
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