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Southeast Notes: Mahinmi, Bazemore, Howard

Free agent addition Ian Mahinmi will play his first game of the season for the Wizards tonight, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Washington signed the 30-year-old center to a four-year, $64MM deal in July, but he has been out of action since October 14th when he had surgery to fix a partially torn medial meniscus in his left knee. Coach Scott Brooks said he will monitor Mahinmi’s playing time for a while, and he understands the center will need time to play himself back into shape (Twitter link).

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Brooks will continue to monitor the minutes of John Wall and Bradley Beal, but there will be no restrictions for Otto Porter, who suffered a hip injury on Monday, tweets J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.
  • Kent Bazemore‘s love of Atlanta and his charity work in the city were important factors in keeping him in a Hawks uniform, relays Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Several teams pursued Bazemore in free agency over the summer, but he opted to stay in Atlanta, where he operates a foundation that promotes health for underprivileged and distressed children and young adults. “I’ve always echoed you can be the greatest person you can be if you’re comfortable and I’m super comfortable in Atlanta,” Bazemore said. “My fiancé loves it and we’re starting to plant some roots there, my network is growing there, and it’s just a city of opportunity. It’s up and coming, and it’s a place I can see myself actually growing with, more so than going to other places where they may be too far behind or way ahead of the curve. This is a place where I can see myself being for the next 10 years maybe.”
  • Hawks center Dwight Howard says he didn’t quite fit in during his time with the Lakers and Rockets, Scotto adds in the same story. Howard is an eight-time All-Star, but he was passed over for the game the past two seasons. After signing with Atlanta this summer, he wants to show he can get back to that level. “I know what I can do for a team and I know what kind of problems I can present for opposing teams every night,” Howard said. “It’s always about opportunities and systems. I don’t think I had the right opportunity or right system the last two places I was in and where I could be the most effective. I think with this system right here, I get an opportunity to be effective on both ends of the floor and I still have a lot left in the tank.”

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