Pacific Links: Nash, Malone, Rivers

The 2013/14 NBA season is less than two weeks old, but the early leaders in the Northwest and Southwest look about right, with the Thunder and Spurs sitting atop their respective divisions. The same can’t be said about the Pacific though, where the 5-2 Suns are the surprise leader out of the gate. Phoenix will get to enjoy its spot in first place until at least Wednesday, when the club will face a tough challenge in Portland. As we look forward to seeing how long the Suns can keep up their solid play, let’s round up a few more notes from out of the Pacific….

  • Steve Nash was forced to exit Sunday’s game early due to back pain and is scheduled to meet with a specialist on Monday for an evaluation, as Dave McMenamin of details. Nash recently expressed his intent to play out the remaining two years on his current contract, but Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni is “concerned” with the health of his 39-year-old point guard, who is also still dealing with nerve issues related to last year’s broken leg.
  • In the past, the Kings may have replaced a coach who wasn’t on the same page as his players, but new coach Michael Malone has the support of the front office and ownership, writes Victor Contreras of the Sacramento Bee. If someone on the current roster is unable to coexist with Malone, it will likely be the player, rather than the coach, who is shipped out, says Contreras.
  • Ken Berger of takes a look at how the Clippers are adjusting to their first season under head coach Doc Rivers.

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