“The reality of this move is that Harden was brought in to ultimately replace Westbrook in the case that a partnership between the two players on the floor did not work,” Murray wrote. “While (coach Tyronn Lue) advocated for Westbrook, the Clippers front office has always preferred a point guard who is a theoretical fit with (Kawhi Leonard) and (Paul George) in terms of size and shooting ability.”
- Murray confirmed an earlier report that Westbrook will come off the bench, with Terance Mann to start. Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report/TNT wrote that Westbrook actually requested a reserve role to try to help the team’s “continuity.” (Full post)
- The Clippers considered signing center Kai Jones after backup Miles Plumlee went down with a knee injury, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Jones was waived by the Hornets early in the season after some odd social media posts, including a trade demand. LA reportedly is opting to sign Daniel Theis instead. (Full post)
Forward Keegan Murray indicated he is just fine with being asked by coach Mike Brown to defend some of the opposing team’s best players. For instance, Murray defended Donovan Mitchell in the Kings’ win over the Cavaliers.
“I love it,” Murray said, per Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “When I was in college and even last year, I really wasn’t known as a defender and I just tried to figure it out on my own, and obviously ask the coaches and the coaches helped me, too. But it’s just a lot of figuring out what guys do and their tendencies, just trying to be the aggressor on defense because, I mean, I feel like over the offseason, I kind of got more athletic and stronger, and that’s helped a lot.”
Coach Will Hardy said the Jazz’s occasional lack of cohesiveness isn’t due to a lack of effort.
“I don’t doubt the intent of anybody on our team,” Hardy said, via Sarah Todd of the Deseret News. “I don’t think we have a selfish player on the roster. I don’t think that there are people that are trying to do it by themselves in a bad way. So, I always just think of it as like, it is my responsibility to maintain a level head and continue to teach the best I can.”
- Hardy offered similar sentiments about Utah’s issues in the turnover department. “The players are just as mad about the turnovers as I am,” he said, via Todd. “Yelling and screaming works in certain environments. There’s certain moments that you have to kind of lose your mind a little bit. But I think day-to-day, it’s far more effective and impactful for me to just continue to try to teach and to always revisit my own process.”