Chris Paul

Pacific Notes: Crowder, Paul, Ham, Green

Suns president of basketball operations James Jones said he hasn’t found the “right fit” to make a deal involving veteran forward Jae Crowder, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports relays (Twitter video link). Crowder is sitting out while waiting to be moved.

“Just haven’t been able to get a deal done,” Jones said. “We have natural deadlines, like the trade deadline, where you usually have a flurry of deals but other than that, it’s just finding the right fit and we just haven’t been able to find that yet.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns guard Chris Paul is “close” to returning, Jones said in another video link posted by Bourguet. “He’s been looking good and we’re still taking the long view,” Jones said. A heel injury has sidelined Paul since Nov. 7. Paul is still listed as out for Wednesday’s game against Chicago, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets.
  • Lakers first-year coach Darvin Ham dealt with trade rumors during his playing career and hopes his current players take the same approach as rumors swirl around the franchise, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register writes. “I’ve dealt with that myself personally,” he said. “But you just have to have an approach that whatever jersey you put on, it’s a blessing to be in this league and handle it like a professional.”
  • Draymond Green‘s status with the Warriors franchise seemed tenuous after he punched Jordan Poole during a practice in training camp. However, Green has reestablished himself as an indispensable cog as they shoot for a second consecutive title, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. “I’ve said for years that Draymond is the heartbeat of our team,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s the guy who kind of makes everything go. He’s the motivator. He’s the bully who protects his teammates on the floor and talks trash. This guy is just so good at basketball.” Green holds a $27,586,225 option for the 2023/24 season.

Suns Notes: Ayton, Paul, Payne, Landale

Deandre Ayton was named the Western Conference Player of the Week. The Suns have seen stretches of dominance from Ayton during his career but he hasn’t been able to sustain it.

The former No. 1 overall pick believes that putting up big numbers should be the “norm” at this stage of his career. Phoenix is certainly paying for that kind of production after matching Indiana’s four-year, $133MM offer sheet this summer.

“I want to be a great player, and you’ve got to be willing to put up numbers and win games night in, night out,” he told Gerald Bourguet of GoPhnx.com. “So I think I’m to that point where this should be a norm. This is how I’m supposed to play.”

We have more on the Suns:

  • Chris Paul missed his 10th straight game on Monday due to right heel soreness, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. The Suns have gone 6-3 entering the game with Sacramento since Paul has been sidelined. Cameron Payne is averaging 17.7 points and 6.8 assists since he became a starter in place of Paul.
  • Backup big man Jock Landale has played sparingly but he provided a spark in a one-point win over Utah on Sunday, Rankin notes. Landale had four points, an offensive rebound and an assist in a five-minute cameo. “I think that’s the benefit of being on this team is we have three guys pretty much at every position that can hold it down,” Landale said. “They call on me to come in and help out and I just went in there and played hard and that’s the stuff I can control is going in and playing hard and helping the team out.”
  • In case you missed it, general manager James Jones was promoted to president of basketball operations. Get the details here.

Pacific Notes: Clippers, C. Johnson, Paul, Davis

Through 20 games, the Clippers have already used eight different starting lineups and countless second-unit combinations as injuries continue to disrupt their rotation, writes Janis Carr of The Orange County Register.

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Luke Kennard have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Pacers as they all remain sidelined with no set timetable to return. Leonard continues to deal with a sprained right ankle that has limited him to five games so far, George is out of action with a strained hamstring and Kennard is nursing a strained calf muscle.

John Wall said it’s up to the rest of the roster to find ways to win until those players can return.

“You know, sometimes it’s not good to lose your best two players, but there is always the next man up,” Wall said. “We all put the work in. We all are veterans. We all know how to play the right way. You just go out there and execute. That’s the simplest thing you can do.”

If there’s a bright side for coach Tyronn Lue, it’s that none of the injuries are expected to be long-term. It’s a different situation than last year when Leonard missed the entire season and George also had a lengthy absence. Lue said he feels “pretty good about the situation right now and how guys are progressing.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns forward Cameron Johnson is celebrating his progress as he works to return from a meniscus tear in his right knee, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I jumped on it and I was shooting (on Wednesday),” said Johnson, who is projected to miss one to two months. “And I did more cardio and I was able to kind of let rip on the bike and get my heart rate up. When we go from playing every day, we’re sweating and running, that’s cardio. After surgery, it’s a little limited with those options. To be able to get back, work up a sweat and get my heart rate up and explore some new movements post-surgery, it’s my win for (Wednesday).”
  • Even coach Monty Williams can’t fully explain why Chris Paul remains unavailable, Rankin states in a separate story. Paul missed his ninth straight game tonight for the West-leading Suns. “My YouTube degree doesn’t go into medical,” Williams told reporters. “I just wait for them to tell me he can play. We’re just not there yet. I don’t have anything to add to that. If he was able to play, they’d be like, he’s ready to go. He’s just not there yet.”
  • After missing tonight’s game with a left calf contusion, Lakers big man Anthony Davis is expected to return Monday, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Suns’ Landry Shamet Expected To Return After Seven-Game Absence

Suns guard Landry Shamet has missed seven consecutive games while in the NBA’s concussion protocols, but he has officially been upgraded from questionable to probable for Saturday’s game against Utah (Twitter link via Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports).

Shamet told Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic that he expects to play on Saturday. He also detailed his recovery process and symptoms, among other topics.

I feel a lot better,” he said. “You know, trusting our medical staff, they’ve been great. Concussions are weird. I don’t know, they just are. Sometimes you don’t really know what your feeling or what you’re supposed to feel, so really just communicating with them, trusting them. They’ve been great taking the lead and I feel really, really good, progressing back and I’m excited to get back going here (Saturday) hopefully.”

The 25-year-old said that he had another concussion in college, but this one was very different because the symptoms were delayed after initially just experiencing neck tightness. He said the worst came when the team traveled to Orlando earlier this month.

We landed in Orlando − my siblings, Jacksonville’s home to them, so they came to visit me, one of my sisters, and that was when I felt like really bad,” Shamet said. “It was also the hurricane, so we flew into a hurricane, and with a concussion that’s just awesome (smiles). When we got to dinner, I couldn’t focus, the light, sounds, whatever, every time I stood up, I felt like Bambi, felt like I was gonna fall out. So that’s when it got like, ‘OK, this is kinda scary.’ I don’t throw up. I got really nauseous and threw up a couple times. A lot of that stuff I don’t take lightly. That’s what got me to be like, ‘This isn’t just a little headache I had.’”

The former 26th overall pick is in the first year of a four-year, $42.5MM rookie scale extension that he signed prior to last season. Only the first two years are guaranteed (at $19.75MM), so he could realistically become a free agent as early as 2024.

Unfortunately, although Shamet is on the verge of a return, 12-time All-Star Chris Paul continues to be hampered by right heel soreness and has been ruled out for tonight’s game, according to Bourguet. Saturday marks his ninth straight absence for the 12-6 Suns, the No. 1 seed in the West.

Pacific Notes: Wiseman, Leonard, George, Paul, Shamet, Christie

Warriors center James Wiseman is being professional about his G League assignment and is trying to use it to improve his game, writes Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. Wiseman, who missed all of last season with a knee injury and was seeing limited playing time this year, was sent to Golden State’s affiliate in Santa Cruz last week for “an extended period.”

“His attitude has been unbelievable from the regard of asking me if there’s things he can do better, asking about the defense, being willing to accept playing here,” Santa Cruz coach Seth Cooper said after Wiseman posted 19 points and 11 rebounds in his first G League game on Saturday. “There are a lot of guys not just picked where he was, but picked anywhere in the draft, who would want to come here and just have the ball all the time. … That’s not him.”

Wiseman, the No. 2 selection in the 2020 draft, is at a critical point in his career, Letourneau states. The Warriors picked up his $12.1MM option for the 2023/24 season, but they’ll have to do something to reduce costs next summer to keep their payroll from rising above $500MM. If the front office decides to hold onto Draymond Green, trading Wiseman is an obvious way to save money.

“There’s urgency,” admitted Wiseman, who has played just 50 total NBA games so far. “I just came back from a rehab. Really, I’m just trying to get back on the court and just get my rhythm again.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both underwent treatment in Los Angeles today for their injuries, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN (video link). Leonard suffered a sprained right ankle in Monday’s game when he stepped on Amir Coffey‘s foot, and he may not be ready to return on Friday. George missed his second straight game tonight with a strained right hamstring. Neither injury is considered long-term, Andrews adds.
  • Chris Paul and Landry Shamet were full participants in a non-contact practice today, Suns coach Monty Williams tells Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Paul is trying to return from a heel injury, while Shamet has been in concussion protocols.
  • Lakers guard Max Christie has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols and will join the team for Friday’s game in San Antonio, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Pacific Notes: Barnes, George, Paul, Johnson

The Kings are not involved in any trade talks regarding Harrison Barnes, James Ham of The Kings Beat tweets.

Barnes is averaging 11.6 points, his lowest output since the 2014/15 season, when he produced 10.1 points per game for Golden State. Barnes has started all 14 games this season, averaging 30.9 minutes, 5.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

A report this week stated the Suns, who are looking to deal Jae Crowder, were interested in Barnes. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers forward Paul George exited the team’s game against San Antonio early due to knee soreness but it shouldn’t cause him to miss any games, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times reports. George told owner Steve Ballmer he was “OK” on his way to the locker room after Saturday’s win. George is listed as questionable to play Monday against Utah.
  • Chris Paul sat out again on Sunday and the Suns point guard will be reevaluated during the coming week, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports tweets. Paul hasn’t played since November 7 due to a heel injury.
  • The Suns’ final offer to Cameron Johnson in preseason rookie scale extension negotiations was for four years in the range of $66MM, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.  Phoenix refused to go higher to sign Johnson, who is currently sidelined for one or two months after undergoing surgery to remove part of his right meniscus. A previous report stated the Suns’ offer was in the range of $66-72MM. He’ll be a restricted free agent after the season.

Western Notes: Jokic, Hyland, Porter Jr., Paul, Fox, Lakers

Reigning Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Mike Singer of the Denver Post reports. The Nuggets center will miss at least Wednesday’s home tilt against the Knicks. Backup point guard Bones Hyland is also in the protocols.

The Nuggets a two-game set at Dallas after the Knicks game. Forward Aaron Gordon is listed as questionable to play on Wednesday due to a non-COVID illness.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone is pleased with the growth Michael Porter Jr. has displayed this season, Singer writes in a separate story. He has shown more discipline on the defensive end and his shot selection has improved offensively. “More important to me, deeper than the numbers, are the fact that offensively, like, I can count on one hand how many shots that he’s taken where you can say, ‘Probably not a great shot,’” Malone said.
  • Chris Paul hasn’t played since an abbreviated stint on Nov. 7 due to a sore right heel. The Suns point guard could be back in action on Wednesday. He’s listed as questionable to play against Golden State, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets.
  • Kings star guard De’Aaron Fox is switching agents and will be represented by Klutch Sports, Damien Barling and James Ham report (Twitter link). Fox was previously with Chris Gaston and Family First Sports Firm.
  • A trio of Lakers rehabbing from injuries — Thomas Bryant, Kendrick Nunn and Dennis Schröder — joined the G League’s South Bay Lakers for a practice and scrimmage Tuesday morning, Mark Medina of NBA.com tweets. The Lakers recalled them after the practice.

Injury Updates: Beal, Bucks, Suns, Banchero, Lakers, More

Wizards guard Bradley Beal has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced. However, Beal will still miss Saturday’s game against Utah due to “return to competition reconditioning,” with further updates to be provided as he continues to inch closer to a return.

Beal has missed three games while in the protocols, with the Wizards going 2-1 without their star shooting guard. Through nine games, he’s averaging 21.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists on .517/.325/.917 shooting in 35.1 minutes per night.

Here are several more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Bucks stars Giannis Antetokounmpo (left knee soreness) and Jrue Holiday (right ankle sprain) were both ruled out for Friday’s loss to the Spurs, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Both players missed their second consecutive game for the league-leading Bucks, holders of a 10-2 record in the early going.
  • Similarly, Suns guard Chris Paul was ruled out for the second straight game Friday, in what turned out to be a loss to the Magic, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Fellow guard Landry Shamet (concussion symptoms) was also sidelined after scoring a season-high 16 points in Wednesday’s win over Minnesota. “We didn’t see anything. Just kind of jumped up on him last night. It just speaks to how complicated those things are. Can go for a while and not even know something is going on and then it just jumps up on you,” head coach Monty Williams said of Shamet (Twitter link via Rankin). For Orlando, No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero missed his second straight contest with a left ankle sprain.
  • The Lakers provided an update today on center Thomas Bryant and guard Dennis Schröder, both of whom are recovering from thumb surgery. They were evaluated this week and are said to be progressing well, and both players will be reevaluated next Thursday, as Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times relays (via Twitter).
  • Shaedon Sharpe, the No. 7 overall pick, has suffered a volar avulsion fracture to his right fifth finger, the Trail Blazers announced in a press release. He’s considered day-to-day going forward and is officially listed as questionable for Saturday’s contest at Dallas.
  • Nuggets guard Bones Hyland has entered the league’s health and safety protocols and was ruled out for Friday’s loss at Boston, Denver announced (via Twitter). Hyland is a key reserve for Denver, with averages of 14.0 points and 3.7 assists through nine games (20.7 minutes). He’ll need to pass some testing requirements before returning to action. The Nuggets play Sunday, Wednesday and Friday next week.
  • Last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Pistons guard Cade Cunningham, was downgraded from questionable to out on Friday with left shin soreness, tweets Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. On a positive note, wing Alec Burks made his 2022/23 season debut following foot surgery, scoring 17 points in 25 minutes during Detroit’s loss at New York.

Injury Updates: Giannis, Holiday, LeBron, CP3, Drummond

The Bucks will take an NBA-best 9-1 record into Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, but they’ll be missing the two stars who have been largely responsible for leading them to that hot start.

As Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets, Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (right ankle sprain), who was originally listed as doubtful for Wednesday’s game, has been downgraded to out. Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (left knee soreness) has also been ruled out after initially being considered probable to play.

There’s no indication at this point that either injury is a serious one, but they’ll be worth monitoring in the coming days. The Bucks’ next game after tonight is on Friday in San Antonio.

Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the league:

  • Lakers star LeBron James, who had been listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game vs. the Clippers due to left foot soreness, will play, he told reporters today (Twitter link via Jovan Buha of The Athletic). James said that rest is the only thing that can help the injury, but he doesn’t plan to sit out for an extended period, and his status for back-to-back sets will be determined based on how he’s feeling.
  • The Suns are now listing Chris Paul as out for Wednesday’s game vs. Minnesota with right heel soreness, tweets Timberwolves broadcaster Alan Horton. After Paul left Monday’s contest due to the heel injury, head coach Monty Williams said on Tuesday that it’s “a lot better than what we thought,” so it doesn’t sound as if the veteran point guard will miss much time (Twitter link via Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic).
  • After missing six games with a sprained left shoulder, Bulls center Andre Drummond has been upgraded to probable for Wednesday’s contest vs. New Orleans and expects to play, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Clippers, Conley, CP3, Suns

Even though they lost their first five games of the season, the Lakers were playing fairly solid defense during that slump, but their defensive numbers have dropped off substantially during their recent three-game losing streak. Head coach Darvin Ham is convinced that those struggles won’t last, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I would say this, man. And write it, quote it, however,” Ham told reporters on Monday. “This may be happening now at the outset of what we’re trying to force to be a culture change in terms of getting us back to being highly competitive on a highly consistent basis, but it’s not going to always be like this.

“We’re going to turn the corner. I didn’t come here to lose. They didn’t bring me here to lose.”

As McMenamin writes, Ham believes that significant roster turnover from last season to this season is a factor in the Lakers’ 2-8 start, as are injury issues — three starters, LeBron James, Patrick Beverley, and Lonnie Walker, sat out Monday’s loss to Utah.

“There is a process involved where we have to go through tough times,” Ham said. “Like, I want to bottle this up. I want to embrace it. I want to have it and store it so when things are turned around and we get too comfortable and we start complaining about some problems that are not even necessarily problems — problems that winning teams go through — I want to be able to reflect on these times.”

Anthony Davis told reporters on Monday that a 2-8 start is “a hard pill to swallow,” but noted that there’s still plenty of time to turn things around.

“I think New Orleans was 1-12 or something last year, come back and go on a run,” Davis said. “We’ve got to put it together. Offense has found its rhythm. It seems like we’ve lost all our defensive intensity. And that’s what’s killing us.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Jazz point guard Mike Conley believed at one point during the offseason that he was headed to Los Angeles, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic. As Jones reports, Conley received a message from someone he trusted saying that he could be traded to the Clippers, but the team ultimately signed John Wall instead to fortify the point guard spot.
  • Already missing one starter, the Suns lost another in Monday’s game, as point guard Chris Paul exited in the second quarter due to right heel soreness and didn’t return. However, Paul doesn’t believe the injury will be a long-term concern, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Asked if not returning to Monday’s game was mostly about he and the team taking a cautious approach to the injury, Paul replied, “Yeah.”
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams said on Monday that the team may take a committee approach to replacing Cameron Johnson‘s minutes at power forward, Bontemps writes. Torrey Craig has gotten the first chance to take Johnson’s spot in the starting five, but Damion Lee, Dario Saric, and Jock Landale are also candidates for an eventual promotion, according to Williams.