Pacific Notes: Holmes, Payton, Atkinson, Bridges

Kings center Richaun Holmes returned to Sacramento’s lineup on Wednesday night after missing seven games due to a right eye injury that required a surgical procedure. As Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes, Holmes described the injury as “a lot more serious than I originally thought” and suggested it may have a lasting impact on his game-day look going forward.

“I don’t think I’ll ever play a game without goggles, honestly, but the face mask, I’m going to kind of stay in touch with the doctors on that and see how they feel,” said Holmes, who wore protective eyewear and a face mask on Wednesday. “But I don’t think I’ll ever play another game without goggles after this experience.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • The Warriors are expected to guarantee Gary Payton II‘s $1.94MM salary for the 2021/22 season by hanging onto him beyond next month’s league-wide salary guarantee date, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated writes in a profile of the guard. Spears adds that there has “been talk” of Golden State signing Payton to a longer deal, but he’s not extension-eligible, so that would have to wait until he reaches unrestricted free agency during the 2022 offseason.
  • Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, who had been away from the team due to a leg injury, returned to the front of the bench on Thursday night, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.
  • Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at how Suns forward Mikal Bridges has improved on the defensive end and become one of the best perimeter stoppers in the NBA. It looks more and more like the Suns got a bargain when they locked up Bridges to a four-year, $90MM extension prior to the 2021/22 season.
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