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Southeast Notes: Dragic, Heat, Hornets

There were a flurry of trades at the deadline nearly three weeks ago and a deal that was overlooked by many may prove to be the most impactful, Scott Lauer of writes.  There wasn’t a ton of fanfare surrounding the Hornets‘ acquisition of Mo Williams, but in seven games the guard has been playing at a high level, averaging 21.6 PPG and 8.9 APG.  Here’s more from the Southeast Division..

  • Goran Dragic hasn’t been in Miami for long, but he already knows that he wants to stay long-term.  At a shootaround Friday morning, he reiterated his desire to stay with the Heat beyond this season. “That’s my wish,” said Dragic, according to Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post. “Right now I’m focused on doing as much as possible this season and make the playoffs, but of course this first 10-15 days here has been a great feeling for me. Unbelievable.”  Dragic says he’ll decline his $7.5MM player option no matter what, but he’ll have no need to look elsewhere if Miami gives him a suitable offer.
  • The Heat will have to fight to retain Hassan Whiteside when he hits unrestricted free agency in 2016.  In today’s mailbag, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel discussed how the Heat can try and sell him on Miami between now and then.
  • Hornets coach Steve Clifford has said that Lance Stephenson is the victim of unrealistic expectations and Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated agrees to some extent.  Stephenson thrived off of playing in the Pacers’ system, Mannix writes, as he played off of David West and enjoyed the attention paid to Paul George and Roy Hibbert.  Now in Charlotte, Stephenson is having to settle for pull up jump shots.  Stephenson is in year one of a three-year, $27MM deal and the Hornets were unsuccessful in their attempts to move him in mid-season.

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