Pacific Notes: Warriors, Clippers, Okafor

January 16 at 2:10pm CDT By Chuck Myron

There’s a compelling race going on for the top spot in the Pacific Division, and the playoff seeding priority that comes with it. The Clippers hold a one and a half game lead, but they’re without Chris Paul for about another month, and the Warriors have won 11 of 13 to move to within a game and a half of the lead. The Suns lurk three games back in the loss column, and could be a factor if they can tread water while Eric Bledsoe is out. Here’s the latest:

  • The Warriors are about $2.2MM below the luxury tax threshold after adding salary in yesterday’s trade, and GM Bob Myers says ownership hasn’t given him a mandate to stay below that line, tweets Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. It would nonetheless take a “special deal” to make the team consider it, Howard-Cooper adds.
  • Myers hinted that additional moves may be coming, telling reporters “Nobody is sitting back and saying, ‘Well, we’re done now. We did our jobs. Let’s see what happens,’” according to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • It’s no surprise that the Clippers chose to retain Darius Morris over fellow point guard Maalik Wayns, tweets Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com, who points out that Doc Rivers likes Morris’ defense and Wayns rarely saw the floor (Twitter link).
  • Former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy helped sell Rivers on the idea of acquiring J.J. Redick, as Rivers tells Markazi.
  • Insurance would cover about $5.8MM of Emeka Okafor‘s $14.5MM salary for the Suns if he’s unable to return from injury this season, notes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.
  • The Lakers picked the right time to bottom out since, for once, they hold their own first-round pick for a well-stocked draft class, writes Tom Ziller of SB Nation.
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