Southeast Notes: Richardson, Heat, Napier

It was concerns regarding his long-term health that led Jason Richardson to call it a career and retire, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports writes. “I didn’t want to limp the rest of my life,” Richardson told Spears. “I still have my whole life in front of me, God willing. I sat alone at a park in Atlanta thinking and no one said anything to me because they didn’t recognize me since I just got there. I talked to my wife for an hour on the phone and then I sat for five hours thinking while listening to music before deciding that retiring was the right thing to do.” The 34-year-old had signed a one-year, non-guaranteed deal with the Hawks for the league minimum back in August. “I worked hard and had love and passion for the game,” Richardson added. “But I didn’t want to be that guy who was just there collecting a paycheck.”

Here’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is excited about the team’s offseason additions of Amar’e Stoudemire and Gerald Green, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald relays. “If you had told me a year ago we would have an opportunity to sign both those players, I would have said that’s not realistic,” Spoelstra said. “We recruited Amar’e in 2010 and were fans of his game back then. His game has evolved and he has found a niche and a role the last couple of years we definitely can take advantage of. Gerald Green is an explosive player. Those type of game changing players are tough to find in this league. He has been very committed to get to know us and also be in a great shape. To be part of a championship culture and a team with high expectations. I told him you put on this jersey, there are different expectations. He loves the challenge of that.”
  • Point guard Shabazz Napier, whom the Magic acquired from Miami back in July, is expected to be the team’s third point guard behind Elfrid Payton and C.J. Watson, but the hope is that he can be developed into a future asset, Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel writes.
  • The Magic are pleased with the progress they have seen from Payton, who is entering his second season in the league, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel relays. When asked about the young guard’s outside shooting, coach Scott Skiles said, “It’s better. He’s put in a lot of time. He’s dedicated himself to it. Obviously, it doesn’t stop just because the season starts. Elfrid’s a talented guy. He’s still a young player. It’s a tough position to learn. Generally, guys aren’t totally polished at that in their second year in the NBA. But as I said before, ‘progress, not perfection.’ We just want him to continue to make progress, and we’re really high on him.
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