The Hornets‘ Lance Stephenson has made an issue about not getting the ball at the end of games, to which head coach Steve Clifford has responded, “To be truthful, Lance has never been a closer. That would be a new role for him,” Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) writes. Clifford went on to say that Stephenson is “not a star,” something that Charlotte has discovered rather quickly after signing him to a three-year, $27MM contract this past summer, notes Haberstroh. But Stevenson also isn’t being paid like a star player, and can come off of the Hornets’ books in 2016 when Charlotte can decline his team option for $9.4MM, unless he is dealt prior to then, Haberstroh adds.
Here’s the latest out of the Southeast Division:
- Michael Jordan is finding his role as the team owner of the Hornets a humbling experience, especially this season with the team underachieving mightily thus far, Michael Wallace of ESPN.com writes. Jordan does believe that he has grown as an executive since his time with the Wizards, notes Wallace. “I’ve always considered myself a very successful owner that tries to make sound decisions,” Jordan said. “And when you make bad decisions, you learn from that and move forward. I think I’m better in that sense. I’ve experienced all of the different valleys and lows of ownership and successful business. If that constitutes me being a better owner, then I guess I am.”
- The Hawks‘ Al Horford and Paul Millsap are still trying to develop their on-court chemistry despite this being their second season together on Atlanta’s roster, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. This is thanks to Horford only logging 29 games last season before a torn pectoral muscle ended his 2013/14 campaign, Vivlamore adds.
- With LeBron James gone and the added title expectations removed along with him, the Heat‘s season thus far feels far more “normal” to Dwyane Wade, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes. Miami is also waiting for all its injured players to return to see just what kind of team it actually possesses prior to making any new roster moves, notes Zillgitt.