The Wizards are hoping that their $55MM Entertainment and Sports Arena which, when construction is completed, will serve as their practice facility, among other uses, will be a powerful lure for free agents, especially Kevin Durant, who is set to hit the open market next summer, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com writes. Team owner Ted Leonsis also plans to add a D-League affiliate in the near future that will play in the new facility, Youngmisuk adds. Washington is currently operating without its own D-League affiliate.
“The Wizards would have a world-class practice facility and our fans would be able to watch practice,” Leonsis said. “And then we would attach to that facility a mini arena that would be really state of the art, maybe seat 3,000 to 5,000 people and we can do charity events there and have some preseason games there and maybe the Washington Mystics would play some games there. And we’d then also want to bring a D-League team there to the community and we would program it to put it in a part of the city that can really use hundreds of jobs,” he added. “Verizon Center is credited with helping turn around downtown D.C. and we think we can do it again in another community that needs a bear hug and some transformation.”
Here’s more from the Southeast Division:
- The Hawks have officially named Michael Blackstone as assistant GM, John Treloar as Director of Player Personnel, Malik Rose as Manager of Basketball Operations, Dotun Akinwale as Manager of Scouting, Matt Elijah as Manager of Basketball Administration, Daniel Starkman as Coordinator of Basketball Operations and David Painter as Director of Basketball Facilities, the team announced (h/t to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who first reported the moves).
- The Magic have an intriguing collection of talent on paper, though it remains to be seen how well the players will mesh together on the court, Tim Bontemps of The New York Post (Facebook link) writes in his season preview. Orlando has enough firepower to make the postseason, but it may take another season before the team gets there, Bontemps concludes.
- Justin Holiday is itching to assume a larger role with the Hawks than he had on a stacked Warriors squad in 2014/15, KL Chouinard of NBA.com writes in a profile of the guard. The 26-year-old appeared in 59 contests for Golden State last season, but only averaged 11.1 minutes of action per night. Holiday inked a two year pact with Atlanta this offseason.