Suns guard Chris Paul entered the league’s health and safety protocols on Wednesday morning, and has been ruled out indefinitely pending his COVID-19 test results. With the Clippers defeating the Jazz on Saturday night to advance to the Western Conference Finals, head coach Monty Williams and the Suns are now preparing to enter their series against the Clippers without their star point guard.
“Cam has played with the starters a lot this year,” Williams said. “So it’s not anything that he hasn’t done or he’s not used to. So that part won’t change.”
Payne is coming off a breakout season following a strong performance in last year’s summer restart, and will soon face his biggest test as a pro.
“I’m just getting ready like any other series,” said Payne, as reported by Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin. “Just being ready to play when my name’s called. If I get an opportunity, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I’m ready.”
We have more from around the Pacific Division:
- Kings rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton is fully healthy and ready to begin his offseason training, he reported on a recent episode of JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast. Haliburton also underwent Lasik eye surgery to avoid needing contacts moving forward, according to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area.
- Former Warriors guard Leandro Barbosa weighs in on number two pick James Wiseman‘s rookie season, his struggles and his promise heading into year two, as covered by NBC Sports Bay Area’s Josh Schrock. “It’s complicated, but at the end of the day he’s a talent, he’s a guy that if he works, he’s going to be a very good player,” said Barbosa. “He’s able to do a bit of everything on the court. He’s just gotta understand the offense and the way we like to play.” Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets that there’s still a chance Wiseman works out with Kevin Garnett this offseason, which was the plan before Wiseman suffered a knee injury. “It should still happen. For sure,” says Wiseman.
- Paul George and the Clippers rallied following news of Kawhi Leonard‘s ACL injury, winning two straight games to advance to the Western Conference Finals. George, who hasn’t reached a Conference Finals since 2014, discussed the relief of getting past the second round, as tweeted by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “It was a special night,” George said. “You felt the monkey off of the Clippers’ back in terms of getting out of the second round.”
- NBC Sports Bay Area’s James Ham discusses the Kings‘ hopes for a little extra luck during Tuesday’s draft lottery. He also suggests that if the Kings fail to move up (they have a 20% chance to jump into the top four), everyone will potentially be available for trades outside of De’Aaron Fox and Haliburton.
- Following a season ravaged by injuries, the Lakers have decided not to renew the contract of their trainer, reports ESPN’s David McMenamin. Nina Hsieh was hired two years ago after being the head trainer for the Lakers’ G League team. McMenamin says to expect more changes as the Lakers continue to try to revamp their staff to focus on player health.