Southeast Notes: Hayward, Hornets, Hawks, Heat

Owner Michael Jordan‘s presence in Charlotte’s pitch meeting with Lance Stephenson was key to the team’s ability to strike a deal with the shooting guard, but the mere presence of Jordan via video conference was enough for Gordon Hayward, as Hayward tells USA Today’s Sam Amick. Hayward was “ecstatic” about the idea of playing for the Hornets before the Jazz matched Charlotte’s max offer sheet this summer, Amick writes.

“I didn’t know what to expect … but they blew me away with their presentation,” Hayward said of the Hornets. “They came in and did a whole analytical presentation too, which was really, really impressive. It spoke to the analytical part of me. I was a computer engineer and math major in college, so that was really impressive to see. It just showed that they’re taking steps to try and become a next-level team and push toward trying to win a championship.”

There’s more from Amick’s profile of Charlotte’s legendary player-turned-owner amid the news out of the Southeast Division, as we pass along:

  • Hornets assistant coach Patrick Ewing was also in the team’s meeting with Stephenson, and head coach Steve Clifford credits the presence of the former Knicks star as a linchpin in the recruitment of Stephenson, a Brooklyn native, as Amick details.
  • The Hawks will probably release camp invitee Jarell Eddie, since he has a non-guaranteed deal and the team has at least partially guaranteed money out to 15 others, but the swingman has impressed the team’s brass so far, writes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Justin Hamilton has only a partially guaranteed deal with the Heat and has missed time with a heart condition, but coach Erik Spoelstra on Monday gave a subtle hint that suggests the team intends to keep him around, observes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Spoelstra pointed to Hamilton’s absence as a reason why the team’s frontcourt rotation is in flux, Winderman notes.

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