The Magic made some positive strides this season and have a solid young core in place for the future, Kyle Hightower of The Associated Press writes. When discussing what would need to be altered to make the team a contender, GM Rob Hennigan said, “Our focus is on getting better. We want to be a playoff team. We’re not trying to be a lottery team — that’s counter to our goals. This season has been frustrating. It has, I think if you ask our players, our coaches, myself— we expect more. We’re also realistic about how young we are…We think with their development and some pieces added here and there we will start to turn this thing.”
Here’s more from the Southeast Division:
- Restricted free agent Tobias Harris characterized his end of season meeting with Hennigan as being productive, Hightower adds. “Talk went good,” Harris said. “Only God knows what’s next. I can’t control the future. None of us can. I’ll leave it up to management to decide what the overall plan is and go from there. We didn’t really talk too much about [his contract], just about the season…He just told me not to worry about it and he’s proud of the year I had.“
- Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was complimentary of swingman Henry Walker, whose $1,110,602 salary for next season is non-guaranteed, as was relayed by the team’s official Twitter account. “With a full off-season with us I feel like his player development can continue,” Spoelstra said. Walker appeared in 24 games for the Heat this season, averaging 7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 26.2 minutes per outing.
- Spoelstra also relayed that the Heat are enamored with Goran Dragic and Luol Deng, both of whom have player options to decide upon this offseason, and that the organization wants both players to return next season, Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post writes. “We love them; Hopefully they love us,” Spoelstra said. “I love working with them and our staff loved working with them. They’re two pros. From an objective point of view, they’re not difficult guys to work with. They’re absolute pros, the kind of guys you want to build your team around, the guys you want to go to work with, the guys you want to be in a foxhole with.“