The Bobcats were the only Southeast team in action tonight, getting torched by the Central-leading Pacers in Charlotte. Let's take a look at what else is going on in the division on Tuesday:
- According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst (via Twitter), Wizards big man Kevin Seraphin has changed agents, hiring Rich Paul. Seraphin, a former first round pick, is under contract in Washington at least this year and next before the team must decide whether to extend him a qualifying offer. He was formerly represented by Bouna Ndiaye.
- Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today offers his perspective on the job new general manager Danny Ferry has done with the Hawks. After clearing cap space by moving Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams, much of the Hawks roster is currently playing on expiring deals. While that can be a tough spot for a coach to be in, Larry Drew has gotten his team off to a solid start despite a recent lull. The Hawks now have the financial flexibility to re-sign Josh Smith this summer as well as go after someone like Dwight Howard, Zillgitt writes.
- In a separate story for USA Today, Zillgitt concurs with much of what we heard yesterday with regard to Bradley Beal; essentially that the Wizards have no plans whatsoever of trading their rookie phenom for Rudy Gay or anyone else. On the contrary, Zillgitt writes that Beal is settling nicely into his role as the team's closer.
The Wizards completed a major chunk of bookkeeping today, exercising 2013/14 options for six players, according to a press release from the team. John Wall, Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, and Jordan Crawford had their fourth-year options picked up, while Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton had their third-year options exercised.
"We have been able to bring in and develop this core group of talented,
mature young players over the last several years, and we’re pleased to
have them all signed through next season," said Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld in a statement. "Combining
them with the veterans we’ve added gives us a solid foundation that can
be competitive now while allowing us to continue to build towards future
Wall will earn a salary of about $7.46MM in 2013/14, while the other five players range from about $1.62MM (Singleton) to $3.34MM (Vesely). Wall, Seraphin, Booker, and Crawford will now be eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of 2014, unless they're extended next summer. The Wizards will have an additional year of control (2014/15) for Vesely and Singleton.
Check out Hoops Rumors' option tracker to keep tabs on which rookie-scale players have had their 2013/14 options picked up so far this offseason.
The Wizards have made a slew of changes to their roster since last season began, adding Nene at the March trading deadline, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza in an offseason swap, Bradley Beal with the third pick in the draft, and Martell Webster, A.J. Price and others via free agency. GM Ernie Grunfeld believes the attitude and environment are now different in Washington, as Michael Lee of the Washington Post writes. For a separate piece, Lee also spoke with coach Randy Wittman, who had the interim tag removed from his position in June. We'll round up some of their noteworthy comments here:
- Wittman was impressed with what he saw from Beal over the summer, but believes the rookie will face some ups-and-downs and says Jordan Crawford has "a little bit of an advantage" in the competition for the starting shooting guard job.
- John Wall is a shoo-in to have his 2013/14 option exercised before the October 31st deadline, but Wittman said the stakes for him are high this season, the final year before he's eligible for an extension. The team must also make a call on Kevin Seraphin's 2013/14 option, and Wittman had praise for the strides the big man took as a part-time starter last season.
- Grunfeld, who signed a two-year extension in April, responded to owner Ted Leonsis' comment from earlier in the offseason that another lottery appearance is "unacceptable." "I think that’s great," Grunfeld said. "Everybody wants to be better and everybody wants to grow and everybody wants to compete for the playoffs. I think he also said if we don’t make the playoffs it won’t be the end of the world, but we want to see improvement. There’s no questions about that."
Here are a few interesting bits from around the NBA's Southeast Division:
The Hawks head into Boston tonight on a three-game winning streak and a half-game ahead of the Magic in the Southeast Division. As Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes, it may not be a bad thing for the Magic if the standings hold their current position. Currently the East's sixth seed, the Magic would face the third-place Pacers if the season ended today, and Robbins figures the Pacers are the best matchup for Orlando among the East's present playoff squads.
While we wait to see how the playoff seeding shakes out, let's check in on the latest from the Southeast....
- Bobcats coach Paul Silas hasn't heard indications from Charlotte management whether he'll be back on the team's bench next season. Silas tells Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer that he's okay with the uncertainty, but would like to continue coaching the club because he "wouldn't want to leave things as they are" (Twitter links).
- Echoing comments made by Ray Allen, Heat star Dwyane Wade told Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida that he also believes players should be compensated for playing in the Olympics.
- Discussing the recent contributions from Cartier Martin and James Singleton, Wizards coach Randy Wittman joked that next year all his players will be on 10-day contracts, writes Michael Lee of the Washington Post. Earlier this afternoon, I named Martin and Singleton as two of the best 10-day signings of 2012.
- Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis wrote the following on his blog, Ted's Take: "A lot of general managers around the league are now asking; 'How did we not draft Kevin Seraphin and how did he fall so far in the draft?' Kudos to our scouts. And congratulations to Kevin Seraphin for taking advantage of his minutes and playing with hustle and showing off his gifts. Both Kevin Seraphin and Jordan Crawford were a part of our series of transactions around the Kirk Hinrich trades."