Devin Booker made Phoenix Suns history with 44 points in the Phoenix Suns' 132-101 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, where Kevin Durant's anticipated home debut was delayed due to an ankle injury.

Durant had been named in the Suns' starting line-up but suffered an ankle sprain during the warm-ups and was ruled out of the game on Wednesday at the Footprint Center.

In Durant's absence, Booker put on a show, becoming the first player in franchise history with four straight 35-point games.

Booker finished with 44 points on 17-of-23 shooting from the field, making six-of-10 from beyond the arc in a masterful display from only 28 minutes on court, checking out in the fourth quarter.

The Suns guard had 30 points by half-time in the blowout win which gave fourth-placed Phoenix a cushion on the chasing pack for the Western Conference playoffs spots.

Veteran guard Chris Paul added 18 points with nine assists and four steals, while Terrence Ross scored 24 points in 23 minutes off the bench.

For the Thunder, Lindy Waters III top scored off the bench with 23 points including six three-pointers, while Josh Giddey had 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Doncic injured as Mavs lose to Pels

The Dallas Mavericks lost Luka Doncic to injury as their defensive struggles continued with a 113-106 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, who are still without star center Zion Williamson.

The Mavs slipped to eighth in the west with the defeat and will be sweating on Doncic's fitness, exiting in the third quarter with a strained left thigh after 15 points and eight assists.

C.J. McCollum landed six-of-eight three-point attempts in his 32 points for the Pels, who made 13-of-27 from beyond the arc, compared to Dallas' 16-of-46.

Hawks triumph despite Porzingis career-high

Kristaps Porzingis scored a career-high 43 points, but it was not enough as the Washington Wizards lost 122-120 to the Atlanta Hawks.

De'Andre Hunter's go-ahead three-point play with 1:07 left in the fourth quarter settled the tight win, as new Hawks head coach Quin Snyder saw his side improve to 33-33.

Atlanta guard Trae Young scored 28 points with 10 assists and three steals, while Porzingis was outstanding, shooting 17-of-22 from the field including seven-of-10 from three-point range.

Kevin Durant will undergo an MRI after injuring his ankle prior to his anticipated home debut for the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

Durant was ruled out of the game after slipping awkwardly and spraining his left ankle during warmups.

The Suns won 132-101 over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Durant's absence, with Devin Booker scoring 44 points.

Suns head coach Monty Williams was hopeful that Durant had avoided a serious sprain but the All-Star is scheduled for an MRI on Thursday.

"We'll get more testing done tomorrow,” Williams told reporters. "Right now, it's just an ankle sprain and we don't have anything official to report."

Durant was traded to the Suns last month from the Brooklyn Nets and was due to play for the first time as a Phoenix player at the Footprint Center, having played three road games since overcoming a knee injury.

"I feel bad for him because he feels bad," Williams added. "I saw his face and - I've been around him so many times - I know what he's feeling and I don't want him feeling that way at all."

Booker, who continued his hot streak with his fourth straight 35-point game, said the Suns would re-schedule Durant's welcome.

"We'll re-schedule the party," Booker said. "I'm sure they'll be back, people that missed out on tonight. I tried to give them a little something to make it better."

Kevin Durant is glad he got the opportunity to get his "feet wet" on the road with the Phoenix Suns ahead of his home debut Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Suns went 3-0 with Durant in the line-up during their recent road trip, defeating the Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks by a combined margin of 37 points.

Their newly acquired two-time NBA Finals MVP averaged 26.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists during those games, shooting 69 per cent from the field, 53 per cent from deep and 88 per cent from the free throw line.

Speaking to the media after Tuesday's practice, Durant spoke about how comfortable he is fitting into new situations, highlighting the fact that "everyone runs the same stuff".

"I'm at this point in my career where I've played with some of the best players to ever play," he said. "I've been in Olympic teams, I've been on some of the best All-Star teams, and I've figured out the best way to kind of fit in with a group of guys.

"Once you start to understand the terminology it makes it a bit easier, and you realise everyone runs the same stuff, it's just different players you put in those spots.

"Having communication with your team-mates every day is the most important piece of it all."

Durant, who is coming off his 10th All-NBA selection, touched on what has impressed him with Devin Booker, who emerged as an All-NBA First Team member last season after never previously making the second or third teams.

"'Book' understands exactly what he needs to do every time out on the floor, and once you prepare the right way and know your role, the game can be easy," he said. "The game is easy for Book, and he makes the game easy for all his team-mates as well.

"We've got such an unselfish team, and we want to move the ball a lot and get everybody involved, but he's such a gifted, talented offensive scorer that he can make plays for others, but he can also make plays for himself.

"I felt like a couple of times last game he had a one-on-one opportunity with not a lot of help and he was going downhill, getting whatever he wanted. So we want to exploit that as much as possible, but he's going to play the right way regardless.

"There's going to be more times in the future where I'm probably going to have to tell him to shoot, but that's always a good thing when your best players are willing to give up the ball."

Having only played three games since being traded from the Nets a month ago, Durant said he is looking forward to getting "back to normal".

"I'm glad I was able to get a couple on the road to get my feet wet because I know it's going to be loud in [Footprint Center]," he said. "I'm looking forward to our fans. I know they can't wait to see us out on the floor.

"I'm just trying to get back to normal as soon as possible. I'm glad I'm playing again, and things will get back to normal."

Kevin Durant felt "no emotions at all" when facing former team-mate Kyrie Irving in the Phoenix Suns' 130-126 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

Durant and Irving both joined the Brooklyn Nets prior to the 2019-20 season and endured a mixed spell with the team before the pair were traded away prior to the trade deadline in early February.

Irving was dealt to the Mavericks before Durant was traded to the Suns two days later, setting the pair up to play against each other on Sunday in a repeat of last season's Western Conference semi-finals.

Dallas may have advanced from that series with a 123-90 Game 7 blowout in Phoenix, but it was the Suns who took victory this time as Durant hit the game-winner with 12 seconds left before grabbing the crucial rebound as Luka Doncic could not get an uncontested layup to drop.

Durant scored 37 points while Irving also reached 30, with the Suns forward saying he put emotions to one side when taking on his former colleague.

"[There were] no emotions at all," Durant told reporters at his post-game press conference. "It's another game.

"Like I told somebody earlier. I played most of my career against Kyrie. He was on my team for the last couple of years, but for the majority of my career I played against him, so I know how that feels.

"I just think that we were both locked in on the floor and want to go out there and be the best that we can be. And sometimes you get distracted trying to hang out talking, catching up on old times with a friend.

"So we were both locked in, and I'm glad we got the win."

Durant played 40 minutes for the first time since December 4 as he made it three straight road wins since joining the Suns, hitting 12 of 17 from the field while adding seven rebounds and three assists to help Phoenix move to 36-29 on the season.

It was the type of star-studded game Durant relishes.

He said: "It felt great, being able to play 40 minutes, being in a fourth-quarter game where we had to be locked in all the way to the last possession, that's always fun.

"Playing against two hall-of-fame players on the other side just makes the game even more fun. I'm glad we could come out here and get a win."

Durant is set to make his home debut on Wednesday when the Suns host the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he cannot wait to play in front of his new fans for the first time.

"I'm glad we had a couple on the road to get my feet wet because I know it's going to be loud in there," Durant added. "I'm looking forward to our fans, I know they can't wait to see us out on the floor."

The New York Knicks secured their ninth straight victory with an epic 131-129 double over-time win over the Boston Celtics as Immanuel Quickley scored a career-high 38 points.

Quickley stepped into the Knicks starting line-up in the absence of Jalen Brunson (left foot injury), playing a career-high 55 minutes, and scoring their first seven of 10 points overall in the second over-time period.

The Knicks shooting guard scored 27 of his 38 points in the second half including OT. He made 15-of-28 attempts from the field, including five-of-12 from beyond the arc, with eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals.

But the Celtics almost snatched victory, with Al Horford's three-point attempt on the buzzer rimming out after a pass from Jayson Tatum.

Tatum also spurned a chance to win it in the first over-time period, missing a two-point attempt after Jaylen Brown kept the ball for too long with the clock ticking down, putting his team-mate under pressure for a tough look.

Brown had sent the game to OT with a three-point play after a foul from Quentin Grimes at the end of regulation squared it up.

Tatum finished with 40 points on 12-of-30 shooting with six-of-17 from three-point range, 11 rebounds and six assists. Brown added 29 points, while Horford had 20 points, making six-of-10 three-point attempts, but not the crucial last one.

Randle offered excellent support to Quickley with 31 points, nine rebounds and four assists, draining five triples. The win improved the Knicks' record to 39-27, sitting fifth in the east.

AD leads Lakers past GSW in Curry's return

Stephen Curry scored 27 points on his return from injury, but it was not enough as Anthony Davis led the Los Angeles Lakers past the Golden State Warriors 113-105 in a big Western Conference clash.

Davis scored 39 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter to lead the Lakers home, improving their record to 31-34 as he continues to shine in LeBron James' absence with a foot injury.

The result snapped the Warriors' five-game winning streak even with Curry back in action after a left leg injury. The Golden State guard added 19 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, shooting five-of-13 from three-point range.

Booker and Doncic square off as Suns win

Kevin Durant landed a fadeaway jumper with 11 seconds left to earn the Phoenix Suns a 130-126 victory over Kyrie Irving's Dallas Mavericks in another huge clash in the West.

Devin Booker and Luka Doncic squared off face to face after the Mavs guard missed a two-point shot at 128-126 with 3.5 seconds remaining, earning them both technical fouls. That square-off was a flashback to the tense Mavs-Suns Conference Semi-Finals last season, when Dallas eliminated Phoenix in a Game 7 blowout.

Durant finished with 37 points and seven rebounds in his first match-up against his former Nets team-mate Irving, since both left Brooklyn. Booker added 36 points with 10 assists for Phoenix, while Doncic finished with 34 points and nine rebounds and Irving had 30 points.

Devin Booker admitted there is some extra feeling in the rivalry between his side and Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks after Kevin Durant hit the game-winner in the Phoenix Suns' 130-126 victory on Sunday.

In a star-studded showdown, Durant (37 points), Booker (36), Doncic (34) and Kyrie Irving (30) all eclipsed 30 points each, and the contest took on a playoff atmosphere in the second half.

The Suns were unceremoniously dumped out of last season's playoffs on their home floor by the Mavericks in a 123-90 Game 7 blowout, and the rivalry only grew stronger after Booker and Doncic went nose-to-nose in the final seconds on Sunday.

After Durant hit a mid-range pull-up to give the Suns a 128-126 lead with 12 seconds left, Doncic tried to answer and send it to overtime, but his uncontested layup somehow did not drop after discarding his defender.

Durant snatched down the rebound to seal the game, and Booker appeared to have words for Doncic about the miss, with the pair having to be separated.

When asked after the game about what was said, Booker claimed he was initially talking to the referee before Doncic directed a comment his way.

"I was talking to the ref – [Doncic] said something first so I responded," he said. "You guys say you don't want everyone to be friendly-friendly – there you go, we got some smoke.

"It's just two competitors going at it, like I just said, everyone speaks on how friendly the NBA is now, and don't like that. I've got no problem with Luka – on or off the court – but when we're competing, we're competing."

Doncic laughed at the notion Booker did not instigate the scuffle, and subtly referenced his own "everybody acting tough when they're up" comments from the playoffs by telling the Suns star to keep the same energy throughout the contest.

"Oh no, he was talking to me." he said. "It's not for TV, I would get fined, the NBA would fine me. Based on the words, I don't think [Booker was talking to the referee]. 

"It's fine, it's just a competitive game, it's all good – just next time don't wait until there's three seconds left to talk."

But Doncic also had plenty of nice things to say about his Western Conference rivals.

"They're incredible," he said. "After everything, those two guys are probably one of the best in the league – Book and KD – but I love it, it's competitive.

"I think today was a great game to watch, and they have an amazing team."

Kevin Durant felt he "fit in pretty well" during an impressive Phoenix Suns debut against the Charlotte Hornets but still feels under pressure to prove himself.

Durant scored 23 points in his first appearance for the Suns in a 105-91 win over the Hornets on Wednesday following his blockbuster trade from the Brooklyn Nets last month.

Returning to the court after recovering from a knee injury that had kept him out since January 8, the 13-time NBA All-Star was 10-of-15 shooting and racked up his points haul in just 27 minutes.

Devin Booker scored 37 points, claimed six rebounds and provided seven assists as Phoenix – fourth in the Western Conference – snapped the Hornets' five-game winning streak to go 34-29 for the season.

Durant said: "I feel like I fit in pretty well, everybody out there was trying to make me as comfortable as possible.

"I just got to keep grinding, man, and this jersey on me will look normal as games go on."

Despite all he has achieved over the years, Durant was nervous prior to his Suns bow.

He added: "New environment, new situation, new team-mates, I mean I always feel I got to prove myself to my team-mates and my coaches every single day no matter what I've done in the league. So I feel like there's pressure to be who I am every day."

Booker was pinching himself over being on the same side as Durant.

He said: "This is one of those moments that doesn't really feel real. I mean, it's just every time he shoots the ball, it's just so effortless.

"You can see defenders trying their hardest to contest or fight over a screen and he just looks unbothered, unfazed."

Suns head coach Monty Williams wants Durant to focus on playing to the best of his ability rather than feel he must be a leader.

"I think there's too many players in the NBA that get too much pressure to lead," Williams said. "I just don’t think it's necessary. It’s my job to lead.

"The players do it in spots, but that's the one thing I told him, I said, 'I'm not looking for you to lead. We just want you to be yourself and hoop,' and I think that's where he's the most free to be himself."

Kevin Durant scored 23 points in his Phoenix Suns debut as Devin Booker stole the show with 37 points in a 105-91 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.

Durant stepped out for the Suns for the first time since his trade last month, having been sidelined with a sprained right knee, shooting 10-of-15 from the field and two-of-four from beyond the arc with six rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

Booker shot 15-of-26 from the field in his 37-point haul with six rebounds and seven assists, while Deandre Ayton scored 16 points with 16 rebounds.

Veteran guard Chris Paul took a back seat, with only two points whilst providing 11 assists as the new-look Suns showed off their multi-dimensional line-up.

The victory snapped the Hornets' five-game winning streak, with the Suns going wire to wire in a strong display, improving their record to 34-29.

Charlotte got within six points at three-quarter time but Durant played his part at the start of the fourth with nine points, registering only 19 minutes for the opening three periods, as Phoenix pulled away.

Tatum and Mitchell record 40-point games

Jayson Tatum recorded his ninth 40-point game of the season as the Boston Celtics overcame Donovan Mitchell's Cleveland Cavaliers 117-113.

Tatum finished with 41 points with improved 13-of-21 shooting including four-of-six three-pointers with 11 rebounds and eight assists, while Al Horford added 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Mitchell shrugged off an apparent quad concern in the third quarter with 44 points, piling only 29 in the second half. That was Mitchell's seventh 40-point game of his season.

Knicks down Nets to continue win streak

The New York Knicks extended their winning streak to seven games as Jalen Brunson scored 39 points in a 142-118 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

Brunson hit 30 of his 39 points in the first half, with the Knicks piling on 47 points in the first quarter as they opened up 81-57 half-time lead. The Knicks improved their record to 37-27, sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Cam Johnson scored a season-high 33 points for the Nets, who fall to their fourth straight loss and a 34-28 record as they continue to slide in the east.

Kevin Durant is expected to make his long-awaited Phoenix Suns debut when they face the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP has not played since suffering a knee injury on January 8, and while he was recovering, he was traded to Phoenix in exchange for Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and four first-round draft picks.

Durant did not feature during Sunday's narrow 104-101 defeat by the Milwaukee Bucks, but the Suns revealed they expect the small forward to debut against the Hornets.

The franchise tweeted: "Kevin Durant is expected to make his Phoenix Suns debut tomorrow in Charlotte."

The Suns sit fourth in the Western Conference with a 33-29 record.

Kevin Durant was a full participant in the Phoenix Suns' intense workout on Thursday, signalling his debut in his new colours is just around the corner.

Head coach Monty Williams called Thursday's session the longest and most intense workout the Suns have had since training camp, as they shook off some cobwebs coming out of the All-Star break.

Durant has not played since suffering a knee injury on January 8, and while he was recovering, he was traded to Phoenix in exchange for Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and four first-round draft picks.

He has already been ruled out of Friday's home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the two-time NBA Finals MVP is expected to return during the following four-game road trip, and ESPN is indicating it will likely be Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets.

Speaking to the media after seeing Durant in live action, Williams was inspired by the future Hall-of-Famer's work ethic.

"When guys watch him work, I think it's something that inspires people to get after it in their own workouts," he said. "Because they're not going to find anybody that goes as hard as Kevin. When he's doing his individual stuff it's amazing to watch."

Starting center Deandre Ayton agreed, highlighting that the level in practice has taken a leap.

"I think everybody's competitive level has risen a little bit," he said. "The atmosphere around the facility has, I won't say gotten intense, but it's definitely a little denser when it comes to business. 

"Ain't no more playing games or, you know, less smiles, more seriousness and getting a job done."

Franchise player Devin Booker stayed back and played some one-on-one with Durant after their main session, and while he would not indicate who get the better of the duel, he said he is excited to see how other teams try to deal with the duo.

"It was hard to put into words, I can't wait until we do it against other teams," he said. "A lot of teams have one good defender or two good defenders, now you have to find who you're going to put them on."

The Suns came out of the All-Star break sitting fifth in the Western Conference at 32-28.

Kevin Durant says his and Kyrie Irving's high-profile NBA trades are "great for the league" after the Brooklyn Nets pair went their separate ways.

The Phoenix Suns prised Durant away from Brooklyn, who also lost fellow star Irving to the Dallas Mavericks after the 30-year-old requested a trade in February.

That saw the Nets lose their only two players to average above 20 points per game this season, although Durant and Irving only shared the court 71 times in the regular season despite joining together in 2019.

Durant has repeatedly lauded the project with the Suns, who sit fifth in the Western Conference, and believes the roster changes are positive for the NBA.

"I don't think it's bad for the league," Durant said Saturday during his All-Star news conference. "It's bringing more eyes to the league, more people are more excited.

"The tweets that I get; the news hits that we got from me being traded, Kyrie being traded; it just brings more attention to the league and that's really what rakes the money in when you get more attention.

"So, I think it's great for the league, to be honest."

Durant expressed his desire to leave shortly after Irving had voiced similar plans, leading to some criticism over the pair's actions with the Nets.

But Irving refused to accept the backlash as he insisted it should be commonplace for such trades to happen, given he was unable to agree a long-term contract extension in Brooklyn.

"It's a bad situation," Irving said Saturday. "Why doesn't anyone have the ability to ask for trades? That's my question.

"When did it become terrible to make great business decisions for yourself and your happiness and peace of mind?

"Not every employer you're going to get along with, so if you have the chance to go somewhere else and you're doing it legally, I don't think there's a problem with it."

"Teams have been trading players and making acquisitions for a long time," Durant said, echoing Irving's sentiment.

"Now when a player can kind of dictate where he wants to go and leave in free agency and demand a trade, it's just part of the game now.

"So I don't think it's a bad thing. It's bringing more and more excitement to the game."

Irving added: "Speculation and narratives are what make this entertainment kind of seem a little bit more important or more of a priority than it actually is.

"Like, it's my life. It's not just a dream that everybody can gossip about. When you work as hard as I do or anyone else in a specific profession, I feel like you should have the liberty and the freedom to go where you're wanted, where you're celebrated and where you feel comfortable."

Kevin Durant felt the Brooklyn Nets lost their "identity" without Kyrie Irving and believes the Phoenix Suns have "all the pieces to be successful" following his blockbuster trade.

Durant last week swapped Brooklyn for Phoenix in a sensational switch that saw the Nets receive a package including Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and four unprotected first-round draft picks.

Two-time NBA Finals MVP Durant's departure came after Irving requested a trade and duly joined the Dallas Mavericks.

Durant found Irving's exit hard to take, and the 34-year-old is relishing his new challenge with the Suns.

He said in his first press conference as a Suns player on Thursday: "I was upset that we couldn't finish. I thought we had some good momentum.

"We were finally building a culture that we always wanted. I felt like every game we were building our chemistry, but I didn't know what was going on with Kyrie and his situation with the organisation, so I didn't really focus on that.

"I only focused on what we were doing on the court, and it was a blow to our team. It just took away our identity. He was a huge, huge part to what we do. His game, he's a Hall of Fame player, a great, great player that can do everything on the floor, and we relied on that.

"So without him, we didn't have a clear identity. That was tough for me to stomach. I love playing with those guys throughout the year. I felt like we had dudes that were stepping up and doing stuff that they didn't do on their previous teams.

"I enjoyed everything about it – it was tough not finishing the season, but I just tried to move forward as quickly as I can and try to figure something out for myself, but also still focus on trying to rehab and get back. So it all happened so fast, but I'm glad it worked out this way."

Durant thinks he can add to his list of honours during his time with Phoenix, who are fifth in the Western Conference at 32-28.

"I think we've got all the pieces to be successful," Durant said. "We've got guys that have experienced what it's like to play in that final round.

"We've got a champion [Suns GM James Jones] already that's overseeing us. Monty's [head coach Williams] a champion as a coach. So we've got guys that have been there, and that's half the battle, just knowing what it takes."

Durant rued not having a regular opportunity to be on court with Irving and James Harden with the Nets.

"We just didn't get on the court enough," Durant said. "I think when you have seen James, Kyrie and myself, it was amazing basketball for [16] games, but in order for you to win a championship and be a great team, you just need more time on the floor.

"It's another story about why we didn't get on the floor together, but we just didn't get enough time on the floor. And those are Hall of Fame players that I learned a lot from every day. I'm wishing them the best as well. It just didn't work out."

He added: "It was a lot of ups and downs, but I loved the grind. And everybody in Brooklyn loved the grind, too, so I built a family over there. They're going to always be part of my journey. So we didn't accomplish what we wanted to accomplish as far as winning a championship, but I enjoyed the grind.

"And everybody there, we tried our hardest every day, regardless of what was going on in the media or what was going on with our team-mates."

Durant continued: "I get emotional talking about them because that was a special four years in my career, coming off an Achilles [injury]. They helped me through a lot, so I don't have anything [bad to say]."

Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker expects "exciting times" after Kevin Durant's trade made the rest of the NBA stand up and take notice.

Durant's move to Phoenix represents a big acquisition for new Suns owner Mat Ishbia, who completed his takeover last week and acted swiftly to bring in the 13-time All-Star and two-time NBA Finals MVP.

The 34-year-old, joining from the Brooklyn Nets with T.J. Warren, has averaged 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists this season.

After hitting the courts with Durant – who has been out of action over a month due to a knee injury – Booker hailed the small forward's quality as he lauded the Suns for attracting such talent.

"You can't put it into words, man," Booker said on Tuesday. "It's just all feeling. Looking forward to the post-All-Star break when we actually get the chance to compete with each other.

"I've never got to do that besides the Olympics with Kev, so it's exciting times around here.

"We built something that the league has picked up on. We were probably the laughingstock of the NBA about four or five years ago, and just turning that around to something serious to championship contenders is a quick turnaround for us, so we take a lot of pride in what we've built here.

"People reach out and they're like 'Oh, that's what y'all are on?' Just trying to get it done, man. Just trying to get it done.

"For us to be a destination that Kev wanted to come to is a big sign of that, to show respect for what we've done so far. We still have more to do, but we're moving in the right direction."

Phoenix fell narrowly short in the 2021 Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, losing 4-2, and Booker believes the Suns will soon achieve glory as they assemble their squad.

"One-hundred per cent. We kind of had the same approach with the team before the trade. Once you get a taste of Finals experience and having that under your belt, that's all that you want," he said.

"We have one goal; we know it's not going to be easy to get there, but we feel we have the talent, we have the mindset and everything it takes right here in this gym."

While Durant arrives with a major reputation and experience at the top of the game, Booker does not expect the Suns to have to adjust much to another star player.

"We don't have a hierarchy," he continued. "That's the thing about it. You have Chris Paul, one of the greatest leaders of all time. You have coach Monty [Williams], you have [general manager] James Jones, we have guys that are all on the same plan.

"I think we all have different types of leading styles, which is the great thing about leadership it comes in many different forms. And I think all of our games, and our mindsets, complement each other very well."

Booker sees Durant as "one of the best to ever do it", as he added: "It's just something that you got to be around. To feel when you're around greatness.

"It's just a different look, a different feel – but I'm excited to be a part of it."

The 31-27 Suns sit fourth in the Western Conference and host the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said he will need to figure out how to get the best out of Ben Simmons in the wake of losing star duo Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

Irving and Durant left the Nets for the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns respectively before the trade deadline, leaving Brooklyn shorn of two players who often took opposition attention away from Simmons.

The Australian played less than 13 minutes of Monday's 124-106 loss at the New York Knicks, having only once played for a shorter period in a game this season.

"It's going to be some work that we have to do," Vaughn said after the defeat at Madison Square Garden. "Because you just take a look at what the lineups could potentially look like.

"You put another big next to Ben, then you got to figure out what the spacing is around him. Then if you put another playmaker next to him, then you got to figure out what Ben looks like without the basketball. Then if you go small with Ben, then you have to figure out can you rebound enough with him?

"So, the challenges are ahead of us. We'll look them head-on. We'll figure it out. We have the personnel to figure it out. Whether it is me mixing and matching throughout different pieces of the game, and allowing him to have a group and run with a group, that part we'll figure out, but you see the challenges that lie ahead."

 

Spencer Dinwiddie, who was acquired as part of the trade for Irving, top-scored for the Nets with 28, though he was no match for another former Dallas player in Jalen Brunson, who scored 40, making 15 from 21 field-goal attempts and six from nine three-point shots, and Vaughn said Brunson's performance was a factor in his thinking around Simmons.

"With Brunson being out there, trying to throw different bodies with him," he said. "We're always concerned about [rebounding], so didn't want Ben to be the lone big out there.

"We tried him with another big; I didn't like that rhythm of the game because we weren't scoring enough at that time. A lot of different problems thrown at you in the course of a game; you try to figure them out.

"Trying to figure out what lineup fits around Ben, what position fits for Ben, how we can make him look good at every opportunity. That's the goal. I'm still trying to figure that out. That's on me to figure that out. But I think overall as a team, we're going to try different lineups to try to figure this out."

Terrence Ross plans to sign with the Phoenix Suns after finalising his contract buyout with the Orlando Magic, according to reports.

Ross will be able to sign with a new team upon clearing waivers and becoming a free agent in the coming days, and will be eligible for any suitors' playoff roster if he agrees the buyout by March 1.

The Dallas Mavericks were reported as frontrunners to acquire Ross on Saturday, but the championship-chasing Suns are now in pole position, according to an ESPN report.

The Suns acquired Kevin Durant, as well as T.J. Warren, in a huge trade with the Brooklyn Nets earlier this week, sending Cameron Johnson, Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder the other way alongside four first-round picks and a 2028 pick swap.

Ross' addition would provide cover for Durant in Phoenix after the Suns lost Johnson and Bridges to the Nets.

The 32-year-old is in the final season of his four-year, $54 million contract in Orlando, with his 22.5 minutes and eight points per game his fewest in a single campaign since his rookie year in 2012-13.

The Suns are fifth in the Western Conference following Friday's 117-104 win at the Indiana Pacers, in which Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton had 21 and 22 points respectively.

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