De'Aaron Fox

Pacific Notes: Fox, Huerter, Warren, Poole, Warriors

Kings guard De’Aaron Fox exited Friday’s win over Phoenix in the third quarter and didn’t return, even though he wanted to keep playing, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. It’s unclear whether Fox, who was dealing with right hamstring soreness, will be forced to miss any additional contests, including Saturday’s against Utah.

“Until I get a quote-unquote official report, there’s always concern in situations like that,” head coach Mike Brown said after the game. “But we’ll wait and see what they say and then kind of go from there.”

While they lost Fox halfway through the game, the Kings got a boost on Friday when Kevin Huerter made his return following a three-game absence due to a leg injury. Huerter didn’t miss a beat upon rejoining the starting lineup, racking up 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting and chipping in nine rebounds and five assists in one of his best performances of the season.

“It’s great to get Kevin back on the floor,” Brown said. “His ability to create separation without the basketball is really — it’s up there with the elite guys in the league. I’ve been around some pretty good ones. He’s up there with that. Any time you have a player who is capable of that, who shoots it the way he does and draws as much attention as he does, it’s huge.”

Whether or not Fox is available on Saturday night, it has a chance to be a memorable evening in Sacramento. According to the NBA (Twitter link), the Kings would officially clinch their first playoff berth since 2006 if they win and both Phoenix and the Clippers lose.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Suns forward T.J. Warren said this week that he’s “slowly but surely” finding his footing in his second go-round with Phoenix, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Warren, who was something of an afterthought in the Kevin Durant blockbuster, didn’t play more than 13 minutes in any of his first 15 games as a Sun and was a frequent DNP-CD, but has scored 21 points in 48 minutes across his last two outings. “It’s tough coming to a team that’s pretty established and trying to find a good rhythm along the way, but it’s been solid,” Warren said. “Just looking to bring some value on both ends of the floor.”
  • Jordan Poole‘s production for the Warriors this season has been up and down, but Friday’s performance was a reminder of how he played in the 2022 postseason and what the team hopes to get from him this spring, per Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. The 23-year-old had 33 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter. More importantly, he has turned it over just once in the last two games. “Just better decision making and more mindful play,” Kerr said of Poole’s play. “Understanding that the ball is everything for us.” Poole’s four-year, $123MM rookie scale extension will go into effect in 2023/24.
  • While the defending champion Warriors aren’t concerned about their exact playoff seed, they’re certainly making it a priority to end up in the top six in the West so they don’t have to worry about competing in the play-in tournament, where one bad night could end their season, according to Kendra Andrews of ESPN. “That is dangerous,” Draymond Green said. “We’d much rather avoid that.” Golden State currently holds the No. 6 seed, with a 1.5-game lead on the top two play-in teams.

Pacific Notes: KD, Klay, Brooks, Fox, Sabonis, AD

Suns forward Kevin Durant has been able to do more on-court work lately, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium said on FanDuel TV’s Run It Back show, adding that he believes there could be an update on the star’s status later this week (Twitter video link).

According to Charania, the Suns are “hopeful” that Durant will return to action before the end of month, or possibly in early April, though he does say the team will be cautious.

Durant has been out since March 8 after sustaining a left ankle sprain during a pregame workout routine. Charania reported the next day that he’d be reevaluated in two weeks, but the Suns said three. Either way, it’s a positive sign that the 34-year-old has been making progress in his recovery.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks continues to rankle members of the Warriors. He repeatedly shouted “you suck” at the defending champions from the bench in the closing minutes of Saturday’s victory over Golden State, with Klay Thompson responding by counting off four on his fingers, representing his championship rings (Twitter video link via NBC Sports Bay Area). “I don’t care about Dillon Brooks,” Thompson told Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “When he retires, I don’t think anyone will ever talk about Dillon Brooks ever again. I promise you. It’s sweet right now, but wait 10 years.” According to Barnes, Brooks commended the Warriors’ accomplishments, but slipped in a dig as well. “He’s got four rings. That’s all he was saying. It’s motivation to us,” Brooks said. “We want a ring as well. Being able to go through the process of steps that we did last year, we keep going and learning from it all. It’s friendly trash talk, but I just hold a lot of real estate over there in San Francisco.”
  • Charania recently interviewed Kings All-Stars De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis (Twitter video link). They covered a number of topics, including head coach Mike Brown, last year’s trade that brought Sabonis to Sacramento, Sabonis’ thumb injury, and their respective All-NBA cases, among others.
  • Lakers star Anthony Davis is expected to play in both games of the team’s final back-to-back set in early April, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report said on his #thisleague UNCUT podcast with Marc Stein (Twitter link via Fox Sports Radio). According to Haynes, Davis was given the option of either playing last week’s back-to-back at New Orleans (a win with Davis) and at Houston (a loss without him), or the back-to-back set on April 4th and 5th at Utah and at the Clippers. He obviously chose the latter.

Kings Notes: Fox, Sabonis, Brown, Playoffs

The Kings won for the seventh time in their last eight games on Thursday vs. New York, picking up a five-point home victory in a nationally televised game and maintaining control of the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. However, head coach Mike Brown wasn’t thrilled that his team let the Knicks grab 23 offensive rebounds and nearly blew a 21-point third quarter lead, as Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee relays.

“You can tell I’m a little frustrated,” Brown said during his post-game press conference. “It’s a great win. You take wins at this time of the year. But that’s not how we should be playing basketball, what you guys saw tonight. I’m not happy with our performance at all except for the fact that we got the win. Somehow, some way, we have to be better throughout the course of the ball game.

“I’m going to put pressure on Domas (Domantas Sabonis) and Foxy (De’Aaron Fox). They have to hold themselves to an elite level on every possession. But just as importantly, they’ve got to open their mouths and hold their teammates to a high standard. Because that ain’t going to fly.”

Brown has been highly supportive of his star players all season, campaigning for them to receive All-Star and All-NBA consideration. His critical tone after a victory perhaps indicates that the expectations are starting to rise in Sacramento, with Brown taking steps to ensure that his team won’t be happy to simply break its 16-year playoff drought and lose to a lower seed in the first round.

Later in his presser, Brown said he believes Fox can be even better than he has been so far this season, suggesting that his point guard has a “switch” that he sometimes doesn’t flip on until the fourth quarter.

“Somehow, some way, I got to get him to turn it on for a little closer to the 33 or 34 minutes he’s playing, instead of just waiting for the fourth quarter,” Brown said. “Because he’s more than capable. I’ve been around a lot of great slash elite players — I’m a little hesitant to say this, because I haven’t been with him long enough and I haven’t seen him do it in the playoffs yet — but he may capable of being on that level. But the great ones, the elite ones, they do it all the time.”

Here’s more on the Beam Team:

  • The Kings haven’t clinched a playoff berth yet, but Fox and others have begun talking about the postseason with some certainty, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic details.
  • Fox, who admitted he wasn’t sure if he’d still be in Sacramento through the 2021 and 2022 trade deadlines, told Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report that he had confidence in this year’s roster even after the Kings got off to an 0-4 start in the fall. “I knew this was a different team,” Fox said. “There was a foundation that was built with this group that no one else could see. I know what losing feels like, and even though we got off to a rough start, I felt like we all were on the same page, and that’s the difference.”
  • In the same Bleacher Report story, Haynes writes that one of the changes Mike Brown implemented in his first year in Sacramento was to encourage each player and coach – along with team owner Vivek Ranadive – to sign contracts prior to the season fully committing to their assigned roles. “We had a team dinner at the start of training camp and everyone’s specific role was explained,” Brown said. “Some guys were not happy with their roles, but if you agreed to honor your role, you signed the contract. No one was forced to do so, but if you signed it, your teammates saw that you made a commitment to fulfill your obligation. So if s–t hits the fan, there is no way to run. You will be held accountable if you stray away from your commitment to the team. When you truly value s–t, you protect it and embrace it. That’s what I wanted out of our team. All the players signed it.”
  • Count LeBron James among those who believe Brown should earn Coach of the Year honors this season. Responding to a tweet that called Brown the frontrunner, James said of his former Cavaliers coach, HANDS DOWN!!!!!! Mike Brown got them boys hoopin hoopin!!

Injury Notes: Durant, Doncic, Ingram, Fox, Morris

Kevin Durant missed what was supposed to be his first home game with the Suns after turning his left ankle during warmups Wednesday night, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Durant was taking part in an individual drill with coaches when he slipped on the floor as he started to shoot (video link from Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). He landed on the court, but was able to get up and finish his workout, Windhorst adds.

Shortly afterward, the Suns announced that he would miss the game due to ankle soreness. Durant, who returned seven days ago after missing six weeks with an MCL sprain, reported some swelling in the ankle after the incident. He was in a walking boot after the game, Rankin tweets.

“We’ll get more testing done tomorrow,” coach Monty Williams said, “but right now it’s just an ankle sprain and we don’t have anything official to report.” (Twitter link from Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports)

Durant has played just three games for Phoenix since being acquired from the Nets in a blockbuster trade last month. He’s averaging 26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists while shooting 69% from the field and 53.8% from three-point range.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic plans to get an MRI on Thursday after leaving tonight’s game with a left thigh strain, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Doncic was favoring his left leg as he walked into a post-game media session and replied “not good” when reporters asked how he felt, Lopez adds. Doncic said he has been dealing with pain in the thigh for about a week, according to Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “I think we all can see he’s not moving well, so shooting, defensive, it’s affecting everything,” coach Jason Kidd said. “He’s trying to fight through it and help his teammates, but he had to leave.”
  • In the same game, the Pelicans lost Brandon Ingram to a right ankle sprain late in the first half, tweets Christian Clark of NOLA. Ingram later returned to the team’s bench in street clothes. He missed two months of the season with a toe injury before returning in late January.
  • Kings guard De’Aaron Fox sat out Monday’s game with a sore left hamstring, but he expects to be ready for Thursday, tweets Sean Cunningham of KTXL. Fox is also experiencing wrist pain, but he plans to play through it.
  • Monte Morris played tonight after missing the Wizards‘ last six games with lower back soreness, per Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link).

Pacific Notes: Davis, Lakers, Fox, Clippers

With LeBron James expected to be sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Lakers need the version of Anthony Davis they got in the bubble in 2020, who can “single-handedly change games on the defensive end,” writes Chris Mannix of

Although the Lakers lost in Memphis on Tuesday, they got Davis at his best in that game, according to Mannix, who points to the big man’s stat line (28 points, 19 rebounds, and five blocks) as one he’ll have to replicate a few more times if Los Angeles is going to move up the standings and clinch a play-in or playoff spot.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, Davis won’t be available in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night. As Mannix relays (via Twitter), the team announced today that Davis (right foot stress injury) will join James and D’Angelo Russell (right ankle sprain) on the sidelines, leaving L.A. shorthanded in a crucial game. The Thunder will be without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols this week.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • The Lakers certainly aren’t throwing in the towel following James’ injury diagnosis. Head coach Darvin Ham said on Tuesday that the team remains focused on winning enough games to claim at least a play-in spot and ideally a top-six seed in the West. “The mission hasn’t changed for us, so the goal of securing a playoff spot is still very much alive,” Ham said, per Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. “It’s unfortunate that ‘Bron went down, but injuries are a real part of our sport and it’s next man up. You got to step up and hold down the fort until he returns.”
  • The Kings got good news on Tuesday night, as the MRI on De’Aaron Fox‘s sore left wrist revealed no significant damage, according to Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). Fox, who was out for Tuesday’s game, is day-to-day and Sacramento is optimistic that he won’t miss much – if any – more time.
  • The Clippers have lost three consecutive games since the All-Star break and are still trying to figure out how to best use their recently added veterans, including point guard Russell Westbrook, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. As Greif outlines, Eric Gordon, Norman Powell, and Terance Mann are among the players whose roles still need to be sorted out, and head coach Tyronn Lue will have to determine whether to continue starting Marcus Morris, who has struggled as of late and played just 21 minutes in Tuesday’s loss. “We definitely do feel that we have the deepest team,” Gordon said, “but … the chemistry has to be there.”

Western Notes: Jazz, Snyder, Vassell, Fox, Wiggins

The Jazz won’t seek any compensation from Atlanta if the Hawks move forward with Quin Snyder and hire him as their new head coach, reports Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.

As Walden explains, Snyder technically resigned from his position as the Jazz’s head coach last June rather than being fired. Because Atlanta may hire Snyder before his contract with Utah would have expired, the Jazz would be entitled to seek compensation in the form of draft assets or cash before allowing him to officially join the Hawks.

[RELATED: Hawks, Quin Snyder Making Progress In Talks]

However, according to Walden’s source, the Jazz are comfortable with simply severing ties with Snyder and allowing him to accept whichever job best suits him without holding up the process.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • According to head coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs are hoping swingman Devin Vassell will be able to return to action on March 2, the team’s next home game (Twitter link via Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News). Vassell has been out since January 2 after undergoing a left knee procedure.
  • Losing took a toll on De’Aaron Fox, who endured five consecutive sub-.500 seasons upon entering the NBA and saw the Kings‘ record-setting playoff drought reach 16 seasons. However, the team’s success this season has rejuvenated Fox, who admits that he’s “a lot happier,” per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Now, Fox and his teammates are determined to make sure that the Kings’ strong play this season isn’t a “one-off,” as he explained during the All-Star break. “It’s great that this is the first year that it happens, but we kind of want to make this an annual thing,” Fox said.
  • Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins, who didn’t play in the last game before the All-Star break due to a family issue, remains away from the team for personal reasons. He missed Thursday’s contest and has been ruled out for Friday’s too. According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter links), head coach Steve Kerr was unable to provide additional details or a return timeline for Wiggins.

Anthony Edwards, De’Aaron Fox, Pascal Siakam Named All-Stars

The NBA has officially named Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, and Raptors forward Pascal Siakam as injury replacements for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Salt Lake City (Twitter link).

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links), who first reported that the trio was expected to make the All-Star Game, notes that Edwards and Fox will replace Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Pelicans forward Zion Williamson in the West, while Siakam will replace star forward Kevin Durant in the East.

Durant, of course, was traded from the Nets to the Suns this week, but was initially named an Eastern Conference All-Star, so his replacement comes from the East.

In his third season with the Timberwolves, Edwards is averaging a career-high 24.7 points per game on .464/.367/.767 shooting to go along with 6.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.7 steals per night in 58 games (36.2 MPG). Fox, a sixth-year guard, is putting up similar numbers for Sacramento, with 24.2 PPG, 6.3 APG, and 4.3 RPG on .504/.326/.789 in 49 games (33.7 MPG).

Both Edwards and Fox are first-time All-Stars.

Siakam, meanwhile, will be playing in his second All-Star Game after making the team in 2020. This season, he’s averaging new career highs in points (25.0) and assists (6.2) per game. He has also put up 8.0 rebounds per game with a .475/.326/.767 shooting line in 46 games and is leading the league in minutes per contest (37.5) for the second straight year.

In a full press release announcing the All-Star changes, the NBA announced that Sixers center Joel Embiid, Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen, and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant have all been promoted from All-Star reserves to starters, since Durant, Williamson, and Curry were all on track to start.

Pacific Notes: Hachimura, Irving, Durant, Fox

Lakers combo forward Rui Hachimura is comfortably slotting in to his new role with the club, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. The athletic 6’8″ forward has become a solid fast-breaking force for Los Angeles so far.

His length, size and speed are massive attributes for a team desperately bereft of those components.

“[Russell Westbrook and LeBron James] get all the defensive attention so I have a lot of easy looks, in either transition of the half court,” Hachimura said. “So, yeah, I love playing with those guys.” 

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Prior to his eventual move to the Mavericks, the Lakers had conversations with the Nets about a framework for a Kyrie Irving trade, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Woj reveals that Brooklyn prioritized the Dallas trade offer because it gave them better role-player depth than Los Angeles could offer, in addition to similar future draft equity.
  • Now that Irving is off the Brooklyn roster, the Suns are hoping to make a legitimate trade offer for the Nets’ lone remaining All-Star, power forward Kevin Durant, sources inform Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). There’s no indication that Brooklyn is willing to listen on Durant at this point — if that changes, plenty of other suitors figure to join the Suns.
  • With Warriors All-Star guard Stephen Curry likely to be sidelined for multiple weeks due to a leg injury, commissioner Adam Silver may have to select an injury replacement for the All-Star Game. Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee tweets that Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox deserves to receive serious consideration for that spot.

Pacific Notes: Walker, Reaves, Fox, Paul, Crowder, Warriors

Lakers guard Lonnie Walker could return to the lineup for Saturday’s matchup in Boston, tweets ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. Walker plans to test his knee before the game to see if he’s ready to go. If he does play, he says he’ll likely be restricted to around 20-25 minutes.

Walker, who last played a month ago, has been dealing with left knee tendinitis. He has missed 14 consecutive games with the injury.

Austin Reaves is not ready to return yet, however. The second-year guard will be reevaluated next Thursday, as Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group relays (via Twitter). Reaves has missed the last 11 games with a left hamstring strain.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Nekias Duncan of details why he believes Kings guard De’Aaron Fox should be the early frontrunner for the inaugural Clutch Player of the Year award.
  • Jae Crowder signed with Phoenix in the 2020 offseason, which is also when the Suns traded for Chris Paul. The 11-time All-NBA point guard says he misses the veteran forward, who has yet to play this season as the team tries to trade him. “Jae, 9-9, I miss him,” Paul said, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I miss him. Ain’t no secret about it. That’s one of our brothers.”
  • The Warriors have been using some small-ball lineups featuring four guards and Draymond Green at center in recent games, and that is having an impact on the rest of the team’s big men, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. For example, James Wiseman has been active the past two games after recovering from a left ankle sprain, but he’s fourth on the current center depth chart behind Green, Kevon Looney and JaMychal Green, so he hasn’t played in either contest. “Do the math,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s hard to get four centers into a game, especially in 2023.”

Pacific Notes: Wall, Trade Deadline, Williams, Brown

Clippers guard John Wall gave himself a “low C” when asked to rate his comeback season after 34 games, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Wall’s shooting percentages are close to what they were when he last played regularly — although his turnover rate is a concern — and he’s confident that things will improve.

“The season will get better for me,” Wall said. “It’s tough being on a minute restriction. It’s tough like, trying to figure out guys, figure out what roles you’re going to be. Still frustrated by not getting a lot of, no calls, it ain’t going to never change, I feel like. I think it’s always an excuse. I think we just trying to figure out as a team and as a group and try to get better game by game.”

The Clippers had Wall adjust his workout routine, which featured frequent weightlifting while he was idle with the Rockets last season. Coach Tyronn Lue also made a change to Wall’s playing style that has him taking more catch-and-shoot jumpers, rather than the pull-up variety he preferred when he was an All-Star in Washington.

“Just getting him used to playing that style of basketball when he’s been playing a different way his whole career,” Lue said. “It’s kind of tough, but he’s been doing a good job.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register has suggestions for both L.A. teams ahead of the trade deadline. She believes the Lakers should be aggressive in finding another shooter — either Bojan Bogdanovic from the Pistons or Doug McDermott or Josh Richardson from the Spurs, while the Clippers should target a big man with energy, such as the Pacers center Myles Turner, Hawks forward John Collins or Jazz center Kelly Olynyk.
  • Suns coach Monty Williams refused to get into a war of words with Jae Crowder, who said the coaching staff didn’t appreciate what he brought to the team, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Crowder has sat out the entire season so far while Phoenix searches for a trade. “The thing that I’ve been consistent with is the stuff that goes on here, stays here,” Williams said. “I’m not one to use the media to get a point across. It’s just not my way. It’s not how we do business.
  • Kings coach Mike Brown is campaigning for De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis to be named All-Stars, saying “shame on the whole process” if they aren’t included, per Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee. “Hopefully sooner than later, these guys will start getting the appropriate love from around the league that they deserve,” Brown said. “Starting with the media, because the media has a lot of influence.”