Ryan Atkinson

Western Notes: Miller, Howard, Warriors, Wiggins

The Pelicans will have a tough time replacing Darius Miller‘s skill set from the current list of replacements on the roster, as William Guillory of The Athletic details. Miller suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon and is expected to miss the season.

Miller provides defensive length and the ability to guard either forward spot while spacing the floor offensively, Guillory notes. The Pelicans might give Josh Hart and E’Twaun Moore more minutes at the wing spot but their options at backup power forward are newcomer Nicolo Melli and Kenrich Williams, who is limited as a shooter and defender against quicker forwards.

The contract that Miller signed this offseason — two years and $14.25MM with the second year non-guaranteed — becomes a less attractive trade piece for the Pelicans, Guillory adds.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Dwight Howard will be a role player with the Lakers for the first time in his career if everything goes as planned. New coach Frank Vogel spoke of his plans for the veteran player, who signed with Los Angeles after passing through waivers, to Spectrum SportNet (hat tip to the Sporting News). “He’s going to serve a different role,” Vogel said. “It’s going to be more of a role-player type of role, as opposed to being the lead. He understands that. He’s excited about playing that type of role on this team and what we can accomplish as a group.”
  • Ryan Atkinson has been named GM of the Warriors’ G League affiliate in Santa Cruz, according to a team press release. Atkinson, 34, had been the G League team’s assistant GM for the last three seasons. Previous GM Kent Lacob has been named the Warriors’ director of team development.
  • The Timberwolves haven’t come close to trading Andrew Wiggins, mainly because they never received an offer that was worth serious consideration, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reports. The Timberwolves are hoping he can come closer to realizing his potential, which would also boost his trade value. Getting Wiggins to make a bigger impact at both ends of the floor is also the best way for the team to become more of a factor in the Western Conference.

Pacific Notes: Castleberry, James, Evans, Warriors

Kawhi Leonard will have an ally on the Clippers’ coaching staff. His close friend Jeremy Castleberry will serve as an assistant under Doc Rivers, according to Jabari Young of The Athletic (Twitter link). Castleberry followed Leonard to Toronto after the Spurs traded him to the Raptors last summer. Castleberry played with the star forward in high school and at San Diego State. He was a player development coach in Toronto.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers will do some team bonding ahead of training camp. LeBron James is organizing a team minicamp in September, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link).
  • Jacob Evans, the Warriors’ first-round pick in 2018, is honing his skills as a point guard. The former Cincinnati guard talked about his development in a team website post. “It’s been a great transition, honestly,” he said. “Just learning the offense, trying to learn different reads out of it, some different sets, different looks and just trying to put myself in an aggressive attack mentality.” Evans appeared in 30 regular-season games and seven postseason games last season.
  • Kris Weems will be promoted to head coach of the Warriors’ G League affiliate in Santa Cruz, Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days reports. Weems has been an assistant with Santa Cruz the past two years under Aaron Miles, who will be promoted to Golden State’s staff, Johnson continues. Ryan Atkinson, Santa Cruz’s assistant GM since 2016, will be named the team’s GM. He previously served as president of basketball operations for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.