Southeast Notes: Stephenson, Hawks, Wizards

The Heat are slumping, and they’re without Chris Bosh for the time being, but they’re still holding down a would-be playoff spot as they sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. They’ll play host to the division-leading Wizards tonight, and while we wait for that, here’s more from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets believe that a groin injury is behind Lance Stephenson‘s decreased production this season, and that’s has helped motivate the team to back off trade talk regarding him, report Ramona Shelburne and Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. That’s even though Stephenson has had a negative effect on team chemistry, as sources tell the ESPN scribes.
  • The Hawks have sent Mike Muscala on D-League assignment, the team announced. Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution originally reported the news (Twitter link). Muscala spent a two-day stint in the D-League earlier this season, and he’s averaged 4.9 points in 10.0 minutes per game across eight appearances with the big club so far this year.
  • The frequent D-League assignments for Jordan Clarkson help prove the Wizards were wise on draft night when they acquired $1.8MM in cash in a trade that sent out the pick that the Lakers used on him, argues J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. Rasual Butler‘s play since taking the roster spot that otherwise ostensibly would have gone to Clarkson is further evidence, Michael believes.
  • Versatility has been a key asset for Evan Fournier, who’s helping the Magic reap much greater benefit than expected from this summer’s Arron Afflalo trade, which brought Fournier from the Nuggets, as Andrew Perna of RealGM examines.

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