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Southeast Notes: Heat, Jefferson, Magic, Hawks

Doomsday predictions for the Heat in the wake of losing LeBron James are starting to come true, and Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post reports that players are searching for answers. “I just don’t even know what the point of this season — I don’t know. I have no idea,” Chris Bosh said after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers. After four straight trips to the NBA Finals, Miami is struggling through a season beset by injuries and adjustment to life without its former superstar.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hornets coach Steve Clifford told Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer that the decision to shut down Al Jefferson came midway through Monday’s loss to the Bucks. “At halftime we spoke and agreed that we were going to sit Al down and say, ‘We appreciate you want to play, but…’” Clifford said. “It’s great that he wants to be out there and is team-first and wants to play. But he just can’t move.” Jefferson has been diagnosed with a strained adductor muscle in his left groin and is expected to be out of action for at least four weeks.
  • Former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy likes Orlando’s roster but warns there will be some tough choices ahead, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. “Like everybody, you get to the point in all of these projects where then you have to make decisions on money, and that’s actually in some ways tougher than assembling a lot of guys to begin with,” said Van Gundy, now coach and president of basketball operations for the Pistons. “Who are you going to pay and how much and how are you going to put the whole thing together?” Orlando’s decisions will start in July when Tobias Harris and Kyle O’Quinn are set to become restricted free agents.
  • The Magic have recalled Devyn Marble from the D-League, Robbins tweets.
  • The Hawks are among the best teams in the Eastern Conference, and Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report opines that they have a chance to be in that position for a long time. Atlanta has slightly more than $41MM committed in salary for next season, with Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll, Elton Brand and John Jenkins as expiring contracts. The Hawks also can exchange first-round draft picks with the Nets as one of the lingering benefits of the Joe Johnson trade, and they have an extra second-rounder coming from the Raptors.

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