Pacific Notes: James, Vezenkov, Craig, Okogie

LeBron James has battled knee soreness recently but he vows to stay on the court for the remainder of the season, Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes. James doesn’t want the Lakers to miss the playoffs for a second consecutive year.

“These are 23 of the most important games of my career,” James said on Sunday. “I’m going to figure out ways to make sure I’m available and on the floor for every single one of these 23 (Lakers) games.”

The Lakers, who have the Western Conference’s 13th-best record, are two games behind the Thunder for the final play-in spot.

“I want to make a push to make the playoffs,” the Lakers superstar said. “I see myself not being kept out of the postseason two years straight. That’s not part of my DNA. We’re sitting here talking about the (scoring) record, things of that nature, but I’m more passionate about us trying to make the postseason and give us another chance to hold the Larry O’Brien Trophy. That’s what I am cut from.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • De’Aaron Fox believes Sasha Vezenkov would fit right in with the Kings, Sacramento radio reporter Sean Cunningham tweets. “Obviously, we would love for him to come over and just add to our team. I feel like you can never have a team that’s too deep,” Fox said. Kings assistant coach Jay Triano visited Europe this week to scout the EuroLeague star, whose NBA rights are held by Sacramento. Domantas Sabonis also endorses bringing in Vezenkov, who is having a stellar season in Greece for Olympiacos, according to “He’s a great player, very talented. He’s playing great in Europe with Olympiacos. They’re doing amazing in EuroLeague. I don’t know what he’s thinking, but we obviously would love to have him here,” Sabonis said.
  • Torrey Craig and Josh Okogie are vying for the final spot in the Suns starting lineup following the addition of Kevin Durant, Dana Scott of Arizona Republic notes. They’re not sure what coach Monty Williams will do. “I’m pretty sure the coaches will figure it out. The same with the second unit, don’t know how it’s going to look either. So I guess you’ll have to wait and see,” Craig said.
  • In case you missed it, the Clippers signed shooting guard Nate Darling to a two-way contract. Get the details here.
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