Pacific Notes: Suns, Ayton, Fox, Haliburton, Lakers

Suns players met with head coach Monty Williams and general manager James Jones when the allegations against team owner Robert Sarver broke early in November, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Although the players haven’t said much publicly about those allegations, they got information about the situation and discussed it internally during those meetings.

“We have a communicative group,” Suns star Devin Booker said. “We talk to each other a lot. We keep everything in house. It’s a tight-knit group. We speak on everything, and we share with each other how we feel about it, and nobody else finds out how we feel about things.”

The Sarver allegations could’ve become a distraction for a franchise that exceeded expectations in 2020/21 and got off to a 1-3 start this season, but the Suns have avoided letting that happen. They’ve won 12 consecutive games since the story broke, extending their overall winning streak to 14 games. They’ll be looking to push that number to 15 on Friday in New York.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • After not signing a contract extension in the offseason, Suns center Deandre Ayton is focused on continuing to improve and expand his game as he nears restricted free agency. “I saw the flaws and the mistakes and stuff that I should’ve done in the playoffs and Finals, especially the Finals,” Ayton said this week, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I didn’t like the way I performed in the Finals. … Like I said from the beginning of the season, I’m trying to be more of a threat. … I’m trying to make a mark and trying to get used to certain things I wasn’t used to doing.”
  • The Kings made a head coaching change on Sunday, but there’s no indication that a major roster shakeup is around the corner, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who hears that guards De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton remain off-limits in trade talks.
  • Lakers head coach Frank Vogel figures to face scrutiny if the team continues to struggle this season, but Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times preaches patience and thinks general manager Rob Pelinka should be careful about how he handles the situation. If Vogel were to be let go, there would be “no one left standing between Pelinka and the firing squad,” Hernandez writes, adding that Vogel is a defensive-minded coach who lost many of his best defenders in the offseason.
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