Sam Garvin

Pacific Notes: Suns, Collins, Saric, Warriors, Barnes

The Suns‘ initial offers for Kevin Durant on Monday and Tuesday fell well short of the Nets‘ asking price as Phoenix sought to keep Mikal Bridges out of its package, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

With the two sides at an apparent impasse, the Suns were in talks with the Hawks and Pistons about a possible three-team trade that would’ve sent John Collins to Phoenix, while the Nets discussed various deals involving Collins, Raptors forward OG Anunoby, and Cavaliers wing Caris LeVert, says Wojnarowski.

However, recognizing that Durant’s mood was “unsettled” and knowing that his preference was to end up in Phoenix, the Nets decided to push the Suns to improve their offer.

The two teams reengaged late on Thursday night, with new Suns owner Mat Ishbia and Nets owner Joe Tsai both getting involved to help put the finishing touches on an agreement, per Wojnarowski. Removing Dario Saric‘s contract from the framework of the deal helped push it across the finish line, Woj adds.

Here are a few more notes from around the Pacific:

  • Sam Garvin, who was the Suns‘ interim governor during Robert Sarver‘s suspension, will remain in his role as the team’s vice chairman and minority shareholder now that Ishbia has assumed control of the franchise, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.
  • The Warriors have insisted that Stephen Curry‘s leg injury and ongoing absence won’t affect how they approach the trade deadline, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. According to Slater, there have been rumblings this week suggesting that Golden State has become more willing to discuss its younger players if a strong enough upgrade is offered. Slater adds that there’s a “greater whiff of aggressiveness” around the team.
  • There have been no reports suggesting Harrison Barnes is on the trade block this week, but there also haven’t been any indications that he and the Kings have discussed a contract extension that would keep him in Sacramento beyond this season. Speaking to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, neither Barnes nor his agent offered much clarity on the possibility of an extension. Barnes said it was “more of a Jeff Schwartz question,” while Schwartz said he had “nothing to report on my side other than Harrison enjoys playing for Sac.”

Certain Suns Roster Moves Require Robert Sarver’s Approval

Suns owner Robert Sarver isn’t involved in the franchise’s day-to-day operations as he serves the one-year suspension handed down by the NBA in September. He’s also in the process of selling the team to billionaire Mat Ishbia, so it’s just a matter of time until he’s not part of the organization at all.

However, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (Insider link), Sarver will still likely have the final say on certain Suns roster moves before he surrenders control of the club.

As Windhorst explains, Ishbia’s purchase of the franchise is unlikely to receive official approval prior to this season’s February 9 trade deadline. Until Ishbia formally takes over, the guidelines regarding Sarver’s involvement with the team call for the longtime Suns owner to sign off on any deals involving a player whose salary is worth more than the NBA’s average player salary, sources tell ESPN.

The estimated average salary for the 2022/23 season is $10,792,000, while top Suns trade candidate Jae Crowder is earning just $10,183,800. But the provision calling for Sarver’s approval on a roster move involving a player earning more than the league average includes the associated luxury tax costs, according to Windhorst. Phoenix’s team salary is currently well into the tax.

While the specifics aren’t entirely clear, Windhorst says that just about any trade involving Crowder will require Sarver’s sign-off. Acting governor Sam Garvin still has the ability to approve smaller deals without Sarver’s involvement, but Crowder has long been considered the Sun most likely to be moved. The veteran forward has been away from the club all season as president of basketball operations James Jones attempts to find a suitable trade.

As Windhorst acknowledges, if the sale of the Suns is approaching the finish line by the time a trade is sent to ownership for approval, Ishbia could end up having a significant voice in the process, despite not technically being the controlling owner yet. After all, there would be little incentive for Sarver to veto a deal that the incoming owner is fine with, since Ishbia will be the one on the hook for the end-of-season luxury tax payments.

Still, Windhorst suggests that the Suns’ “ownership morass” has been a factor in the slow-moving Crowder process, since the front office has had to attempt to negotiate possible deals while not having any contact with the person who could ultimately make the final decision.

Pacific Notes: DiVincenzo, Garvin, Crowder, Booker, Monk

Warriors guard Donte DiVincenzo says that the Bucks and Milwaukee will always hold a special place in his heart, Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. DiVincenzo won a championship with the Bucks two seasons ago before being traded to Sacramento in a deadline deal last season.

DiVincenzo, who signed a two-year contract with the Warriors as a free agent over the summer, is looking forward to tonight’s game at Milwaukee: “They opened the door to the NBA for me. I can play for every team in the NBA. No matter what, I’m still always going to have that special love for the organization, for that front office for giving me my first shot in the NBA. That goes with the fans as well.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns interim governor Sam Garvin is confident the front office will get a solid offer for Jae Crowder, who is sitting out while he awaits a trade.  “(GM James Jones and his staff have) had a lot of discussions with a lot of teams that are interested in Jae. As James said, there’s no magic wand of a timeline,” Garvin told Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic (subscription required). “It’s going to happen when it’s going to happen, but I think Jae is going to go somewhere and do well and I think we’re going to get value for Jae.” Garvin addresses other topics in the Q&A, including Jones’ extension and the team’s inability to sign Cameron Johnson to an extension.
  • Suns star guard Devin Booker will sit out for the second straight game on Tuesday due to left hamstring tightness, Rankin writes in a separate story. Booker also missed Phoenix’s overtime loss to New Orleans on Sunday. Booker has a history of hamstring issues, Rankin notes.
  • Malik Monk has a reputation of being a scorer but the Kings are also using him more as a play-maker, according to Spencer Davies of Basketball News. Monk is not only averaging a career-best 14.4 points per game but also 3.8 assists. His 2.9 APG with the Lakers last season represented a career high. “We’re just try to move it, move the defense as much as possible,” Monk said. “But they can’t help off me as much ’cause I can shoot. They can’t help off of (Domantas Sabonis) that much because he’s a big threat rolling. So whatever they do is going to be wrong, and I’ve just been making the right reads this year.” Monk signed a two-year, $19.4MM contract with Sacramento as a free agent.

Pacific Notes: Green, Warriors, Sarver, Reaves

Warriors forward Draymond Green said on ESPN’s NBA Countdown (video link) that he’s not concerned about other Western Conference contenders. He believes Golden State still has the best team when it’s firing on all cylinders.

“I’m not concerned about anybody in the West,” Green said. “There are good teams in the West, have the appropriate fear as (Warriors) coach (Steve) Kerr always talks about — Phoenix is one of those teams. I’ve been telling everybody for two years now, I’m not counting the Lakers out  … but I don’t worry about anybody in the West. … I know if we’re playing our A game, nobody’s beating us.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Speaking of the Warriors, Kerr didn’t downplay the team’s victory over the Celtics on Saturday, Kendra Andrews of ESPN writes. Golden State has been floundering around the .500 mark. “Especially the way they’ve played this year, they’ve just been so good, so dominant. I thought we needed a game like that,” Kerr said. “We’ve been a bit stuck in the mud. It feels like we’ve gotten better, but not a whole lot to show for it. This was an important win for us.”
  • Suspended Suns owner Robert Sarver wants to find a buyer who will keep the team in Arizona, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. Team vice chairman Sam Garvin is confident Sarver will find a buyer who won’t look to move the franchise. “I think he really wants to find someone who loves Arizona, wants to keep (the Suns) in Arizona and is committed to the fans and is committed to the community,” Garvin said. “I think he’ll do a good job on the sale.”
  • Lakers first-year coach Darvin Ham has gained a lot of trust in guard Austin Reaves‘ decision making and defensive acumen, according to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. “He has all of my faith and the faith of the coaching staff in the sense whenever he’s in the game and has the ball in his hands, he’s going to make the right play on both sides of the ball,” Ham said. Reaves will be a restricted free agent after the season.

Suns’ Garvin Appointed Interim Governor After Sarver Suspension

Vice chairman and minority owner Sam Garvin will serve as the interim governor of the Suns in the wake of Robert Sarver‘s one-year suspension, according to Baxter Holmes and Zach Lowe of ESPN.

Sources tell Holmes and Lowe that commissioner Adam Silver approved Garvin, who has been the team’s alternate governor since 2007, to be the interim governor on Wednesday evening. The move is effective immediately.

After Holmes published a story for ESPN last year detailing workplace misconduct allegations made against Sarver, including racist and misogynistic comments, Garvin was among the members of Phoenix’s ownership group that signed a statement defending Sarver, ESPN’s duo notes.

The law firm that conducted the investigation following Holmes’ report corroborated many of the allegations. The firm found that Sarver had used racially insensitive language in the workplace, including using the N-word when recounting – or purporting to recount – other people’s statements on at least five occasions.

The investigation also confirmed that the Suns’ owner engaged in inequitable treatment of female employees, made “many” sex-related comments in the workplace – including inappropriate comments about female employees’ physical appearances – and treated team employees in a “demeaning and harsh” manner.

However, the NBA stated that investigators “made no finding that Sarver’s workplace misconduct was motivated by racial or gender-based animus.” Obviously, that seems to run contrary to the details from the report, which has led to many around the league being critical of Sarver’s punishment, saying the sanctions fell short.