Pacific Notes: Crowder, Ayton, McNair, Murray, Wall

Suns forward Jae Crowder was informed over the summer that he might lose his starting job in 2022/23, which prompted him to ask for a trade, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Crowder has been a key member of a Suns team that made the NBA Finals in 2021 and won 64 regular season games last season, but Phoenix appears prepared to grant his trade request, having agreed to have him remain away from the team for training camp.

“Jae brought a number of intangibles to the team, I think all of our guys would speak in that way about him,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said on Monday, per Windhorst. “At the same time, these things happen and you have to transition and move forward. I totally am behind (GM) James (Jones) and how we are handling this.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • According to Windhorst, there seems to be some scarring following the Suns‘ offseason standoff with Deandre Ayton, which ended when the team matched the four-year, maximum-salary offer sheet he signed with Indiana. Windhorst writes that there was a “complete lack of enthusiasm emanating” from the “usually jovial” Ayton during Monday’s Media Day when he discussed his experience in free agency.
  • Speaking to reporters on Monday, Kings general manager Monte McNair expressed confidence in the team’s new-look roster and brushed off questions about his contract situation as he enters the final season of a three-year deal. “Is my deal, like, on the internet or something?” McNair joked, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “Look, for me and my group, we’re excited about what we’ve done. We’re excited that coach (Mike) Brown is in here. I’m the GM right now and I’ve got a bunch of work to do, so I’m going to do that until they kick me out, and I hope I’m here for a long time.”
  • Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee takes a look at how No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray is dealing with high expectations as he joins a Kings team attempting to snap a 16-year playoff drought.
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is looking forward to taking advantage of the element of speed that newly added point guard John Wall will bring to the team this season, writes Helene Elliott of The Los Angeles Times. “I think with John, adding John, his pace is tremendous. That’s going to allow us to get easy baskets,” Lue said. “Guys get open threes, easy shots, him getting downhill, getting to the basket changes our team dramatically. His pace, the way he plays, brings a different dimension to our team.”
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