• Reuters


On the eve of the NBA Finals, Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul addressed the effects of a difficult chapter for the NBA: the pandemic-caused schedule alterations that were blamed by some for the spate of big-name injuries over the past few months.

Paul, also the president of the National Basketball Players Association, did not mention Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James’ comments about his disdain for the compacted schedule but made it clear the players always have a voice in discussions.

“Man, one thing about our league and its players is everything is always a conversation…” Paul told reporters during his media session on Monday. “Injuries are always unfortunate. You hate to have them. But just like when we went to the bubble, everything was discussed as far as the players and the full body of players.

“Everything that’s good for this guy and that guy might not be the same for that guy, but everything has always been a conversation, and it’s going to continue to be that way. So, if people don’t like it, then you know everybody has the same opportunity to be a part of all these conversations.”

James, whose defending champion Lakers were eliminated in the first round by the Suns, had called the NBA’s decision to proceed with its All-Star weekend “a slap in the face” to the players and complained about the short offseason.

In addition to James, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving and James Harden, the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard and the Lakers’ Anthony Davis were among the stars who missed time in the playoffs because of injuries.

Paul was sidelined for the first two games of the Western Conference finals due to COVID-19 protocols.

The Suns’ opponent in the NBA Finals, the Milwaukee Bucks, could be without Antetokounmpo for Game 1 on Tuesday in Phoenix.

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