The Wizards haven’t won a division since the 1978/79 season, but there’s a strong chance they’ll finish first in the Southeast this coming season. The Heat and Hornets are contenders, too, and the Hawks aren’t out of the question, either. It’s indicative of the parity in the Eastern Conference outside of the two Central Division heavies in Chicago and Cleveland. While we wait to see if Washington can finally break through, here are a few items of note from around the Southeast:
- Michael Beasley definitely won’t return to the Heat for this coming season, agent Jared Karnes tells Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The team’s coaches didn’t fully trust Beasley, Jackson writes, who hears that concern about Beasley’s defense and maturity dissuaded Miami from re-signing him, even though the 25-year-old showed more maturity last season than in the past.
- The origin of the racially charged comments that Hawks GM Danny Ferry repeated about Luol Deng and the identity of the person who wrote the report that Ferry read are still unknown, writes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, casting them as the next major revelations in the story.
- The Magic hired Jay Hernandez as an assistant coach for player development, the team announced. It’s the first NBA gig for Hernandez, who had been running a basketball training service in New York after playing professionally overseas. He replaces assistant Luke Stuckey, who’s taking an assistant coaching job at Cameron University in Oklahoma, according to Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel (Twitter links).