Pacific Notes: Paul, Ayton, Bagley III, James, Curry, Payton II

Chris Paul gave Deandre Ayton advice after the Suns center failed to receive a max extension prior to the opening-night deadline, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports writes. Paul told Ayton if he has a strong season, he’ll give himself plenty of leverage as a restricted free agent next season.

“With D.A. and his situation, we talked about it,” Paul said. “He knows what he has to do. The goal for everybody is to see everyone getting paid. His situation is what it is, but it’s going to work out for him.”

Paul is also impressed by the vibe in the locker room as the Suns try to defend their conference title.

“Man, this is probably one of the best locker rooms that I’ve been in my whole career because we have young guys that are leaders and everybody leads in their own different ways,” he said.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kings forward Marvin Bagley III could be an intriguing trade target for the Suns, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic speculates. Bagley, who has fallen out of favor in Sacramento, could man the power forward spot on the second unit and veterans like Paul and Jae Crowder could have a positive influence on him. He’d also have the incentive of delivering a strong season as he heads toward free agency, Rankin adds.
  • Lakers forward LeBron James was relieved to avoid a major injury after a collision during Sunday’s game, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. He felt some soreness in his right leg afterward but still hopes to play against San Antonio on Tuesday. He’s listed as probable, McMenamin adds in another tweet“Guy falls into my leg and there’s nothing you can do about it and I couldn’t get my leg out of there in time,” James said.
  • The Warriors seriously considered carrying 14 players and Stephen Curry is happy they chose to re-add Gary Payton II to the roster, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. The value of having Payton as the 15th man was displayed “one thousand percent,” according to Curry, after Payton contributed 10 points in 17 minutes on Sunday.
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