Pacific Notes: Burks, Leonard, Howard, Giles

Alec Burks doesn’t regret joining the Warriors despite their injury woes, Anthony Slater of The Athletic reports. He originally committed to the Thunder in free agency, then shifted gears when their two stars were traded. Burks signed a one-year deal with Golden State.

“I committed here for other reasons besides playing with those great players. I like the culture. I like (Warriors head coach) Steve (Kerr),” he said. “I like (GM) Bob (Myers). That’s what sold me at first. And I like the people right here that’s playing, that’s healthy. We’ll eventually get those guys back. … I’m glad where I’m at. I’m proud I made a good decision.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard was blindsided by the league revealing the nature of his knee injury while fining the team $50K for making conflicting statements about his health, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN relays. According to the league statement, Leonard is dealing with a patella tendon issue in his left knee. “I mean it was shocking, but it doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “I’m not a guy that reads the media anyway. We’re going to manage it the best way we can to keep me healthy and that’s the most important thing, me being healthy moving forward.”
  • The way the Clippers handled the Leonard load management controversy may have been sloppy but it showed that the organization has his back, Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic opine. The Clippers are trying to follow the Raptors’ blueprint to success, which includes giving Leonard a number of nights off.
  • Dwight Howard has emerged a legitimate candidate for the Sixth Man award, Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype writes. Not only has Howard been a force with the Lakers’ second unit, he’s also blended surprisingly well with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, according to statistical measures, Kalbrosky adds. Howard, working on a non-guaranteed contract, is averaging 6.7 PPG, 7.9 RPG and 2.1 BPG in 21.7 MPG.
  • Kings center Harry Giles was medically cleared to play just prior to the team’s game against the Hawks on Friday, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reports. Giles had been sidelined by left knee soreness. Giles, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season since the team declined its 2020/21 option on him, scored four points in eight minutes during his season debut.

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