Veterans Tyson Chandler and Brandon Knight were viewed as trade candidates for the Suns, but after both players stayed put at the deadline, it appears the team no longer feels the need to showcase them. As Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic outlines, Chandler and Knight have fallen out of the rotation since the All-Star break, giving way to younger players, and Earl Watson doesn’t intend to move away from that plan anytime soon.
“I’m not changing it unless management changes it,” the Suns head coach said. “I have a boss and my boss has a boss, so whatever comes from up top is what’s going to happen. And right now, that’s not even part of our equation.”
While Watson’s comments made it sounds as if the directive to focus on developing the young players down the stretch came from the Suns’ front office, he declined to confirm that: “I didn’t say that. I said if things change, it will be from management.” Either way, for now, it seems that players like Alan Williams, Tyler Ulis, and even Derrick Jones will receive more playing time at the expense of vets like Chandler and Knight.
Here’s more from around the Pacific division:
- From the moment they were agreed upon, the Lakers‘ lucrative four-year deals for Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov were viewed as questionable investments. However, Deng and Mozgov have tuned out that criticism, writes Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News. “I know people are on me,” Deng said. “I know everybody is talking about it. I can’t control that. The only thing I can control is coming to the gym everyday and working.”
- It has been an eventful season for Chris Paul, who played an instrumental role in helping the Players’ Association negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NBA. Michael Lee of The Vertical takes a closer look at how Paul has been able to balance his role in the NBPA with his day job as the Clippers‘ star point guard.
- Following last month’s DeMarcus Cousins trade, the Kings were considered likely to slide down the standings, but no one in the locker room wants to hear the “T-word” (tanking), says Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. In fact, Sacramento is still committed to competing for that No. 8 seed in the West, Jones writes in a separate piece for The Bee. Despite those ambitions, the club is 1-5 since moving Cousins, and now ranks seventh in our 2016/17 Reverse Standings.