Western Notes: Beal, Graham, Blazers, Clarkson

New Suns guard Bradley Beal spoke with gathered journalists for an extended introductory press conference, flanked by head coach Frank Vogel and general manager James Jones, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“I don’t look at the NBA like, ‘Oh, it’s my team,’ ‘Oh, it’s your team,'” Beal said when asked about how the Suns will determinine a hierarchy on offense. “It’s everybody. We all got to compete. We all got to do this thing together and make it happen.”

“But understand that this is ‘Book Nation,'” Beal continued, a reference to All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker. “I understand that this is his stomping grounds, this is his arena, and I’m excited for that. I’m excited to be able to play with two Hall of Famers. I’ve never done that. They’ll push me in ways I’ve never been pushed. Hopefully, I can do the same.”

There’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • After cutting a deal with prosecutors, Spurs guard Devonte’ Graham has pleaded guilty to his 2022 misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired, reports TMZ Sports. Graham, whose sentencing is scheduled for July, may face a suspension from the NBA following the resolution of his legal case.
  • The Trail Blazers, still hoping to thread the needle between their present and future, are hoping incumbent All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard will be satisfied with a solid roster-building summer and will not ask for a trade out of town, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Fischer likens Portland’s plan to the approach Brooklyn took with Kevin Durant last summer, though Durant had requested a trade at that time, while Lillard hasn’t done so. The Blazers added rookie point guard Scoot Henderson with the third overall pick in this year’s draft, and are hoping that some tactical personnel moves will convince Lillard to stick around.
  • With Jazz  guard Jordan Clarkson having now picked up his $14MM player option, there are still a variety of routes forward for Utah and the 2021 Sixth Man of the Year, per Tony Jones of The Athletic. As Jones notes, Clarkson could now either sign a longer-term extension, play out the final year of his deal as the Jazz’s probable starting shooting guard, or the team could coordinate a trade to offload him and free up more minutes and touches for his potential long-term successor, Collin Sexton.
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