Southeast Notes: Hawks, Beal, Frye, Heat

The Hawks have gone through several key changes since Bruce Levenson self-reported racially charged emails he’d sent and announced a year ago today that he was selling the team, as Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recaps. Tony Ressler took over for Levenson as the principal owner, Mike Budenholzer assumed former GM Danny Ferry‘s responsibilities and received a promotion, and Tiago Splitter and Tim Hardaway Jr. replaced DeMarre Carroll and Pero Antic as key parts of the roster. The team now faces the challenge of improving upon a season that saw “the most remarkable on-court run in franchise history,” as Vivlamore puts it. While we wait to find out where the Hawks go from here, see more from the Southeast Division:

  • Some people around the Wizards had questioned Bradley Beal‘s work ethic and whether he could become a great player, but the season that Paul Pierce spent in Washington helped Beal more than anyone else on the team, many Wizards insiders feel, reports Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders. Pierce opted out and signed with the Clippers, so it remains to be seen how Beal, whose extension candidacy I examined in depth Friday, will perform without the veteran mentor.
  • Channing Frye put up his lowest numbers in five years this past season after signing a four-year, $32MM deal with the Magic, and while he started 51 games, the Magic insisted that they brought him in as more of a complementary player than as a starter, writes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. Next month, the 32-year-old Frye will try to hold off Aaron Gordon, who turns 20 in a few weeks, for a starting spot, but Frye would best serve the Magic in a reserve role that would emphasize his floor-stretching abilities, Schmitz believes.
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel won’t be surprised if the Heat open the regular season with only 14 players on the roster, though he contends in his mailbag column that the team faces depth issues.
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