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Southeast Notes: Beal, Batum, Spoelstra, Hezonja

The Wizards and Bradley Beal have kept up a dialogue throughout the offseason, but they haven’t made much progress toward an extension, sources tell Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. That’s not surprising, since the deadline is still weeks away, though both sides have reason not to do an extension at all and wait to strike a deal until next summer, since Beal can get a longer contract then and the Wizards can keep his cap hold low and retain flexibility, Castillo writes. I examined Beal’s extension candidacy further last week. See more from the Southeast Division:
  • Shaun Powell of speculates that it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Hornets offer Nicolas Batum an extension. The small forward, whose contract expires after this season, is eligible for a veteran extension, though he could receive better terms if he signs one on or after the six-month anniversary of the June 24th trade that brought him to the Hornets, as I noted here. In any case, Powell likes most of the moves Charlotte has made this summer after the disastrous Lance Stephenson signing of last year.
  • Erik Spoelstra is the second-longest tenured coach in the NBA, but he’s never won a playoff series without LeBron James, so he faces pressure this season with a Heat team expected to advance beyond the first round, opines Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.
  • Mario Hezonja‘s potent, versatile offensive game prevailed upon the Magic to ignore a more pressing need at power forward with the fifth overall pick, writes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. The Magic are well-stocked at the wing, but Hezonja may well emerge as the ideal sixth man, playing both the two and the three, Schmitz argues.

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