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Western Notes: Payne, Suns, Barnes, Wolves Coaches

Second-year Thunder guard Cameron Payne has shown encouraging signs in his recovery from the Jones fracture surgery he had in July, writes Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Payne has gone through full contact during Oklahoma City’s first two days of practice and is expected to participate in a scrimmage on Tuesday. Coach Billy Donovan said Payne has been working to recapture his timing, but the medical staff hasn’t recommended any limitations on his playing time. “He probably feels like the more he can play, the more comfortable he’ll get back into a routine,” Donovan said. “He’s obviously been in practice. He’s been active. Cam’s got a really, really instinctive game. He’s got a good feel for the game. I think getting his timing back playing, because he hasn’t done a lot of 5-on-5 will take him a little bit of time. But he looks good; he’s moving well.”

There’s more news from the Western Conference:

  • The four players the Suns added to their training camp roster today will probably end up in the D-League, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Phoenix reached agreements with undrafted rookies Gracin Bakumanya, Shaquille Harrison and Derrick Jones, along with returning D-League player Derek Cooke. Teams can assign up to four waived players to the D-League as long as they aren’t claimed by other organizations.
  • As he gets ready for his first training camp with the Kings, one of Matt Barnes‘ objectives will be to improve team chemistry, relays Andy Furillo of The Sacramento Bee. The 36-year-old Barnes agreed to a two-year, $12MM contract this summer to come to Sacramento. He joins an organization that was beset by internal problems last season, especially between star big man DeMarcus Cousins and former coach George Karl. “I’ve never been a star player, so to speak,” Barnes said, “but I’ve been one of the leaders, one of the voices of reason, and I have, I think, an uncanny ability to be able to get through to everybody, and not so much by talking. I lead by example, so that when I do talk, people listen, and I’m respected.”
  • The Timberwolves finalized their coaching staff today, the team announced on its website. Minnesota named Andy Greer and Rick Brunson as assistant coaches, Peter Patton as shooting coach and Daisuke Yoshimoto as special assistant to the president of basketball operations. In addition, Vince Legarza was promoted to player development coach.

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