Southeast Notes: Bazemore, Rudez, Wizards

As an unrestricted free agent this summer, Kent Bazemore drew serious interest from the Rockets and other teams, but ultimately re-signed with the Hawks on a four-year, $70MM contract. While Bazemore recognizes that there’s added pressure now that he’s on a lucrative new deal, he intends to get even better, telling Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’s aiming to make the NBA’s All-Defensive team.

“I think, for me, if I do that then the [Hawks] will be in a great spot,” Bazemore said. “There are some very special teams this year with some very special players. If I can do well against them, we’ll have a great chance to win. … I’ve got to add to my Lefty Driesell Award from college. I’ve got a big gap in my defensive awards. I’ve got to put something else on the shelf.”

Here’s more from out of the Southeast:

  • As Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel details, the Magic kept two players on non-guaranteed contracts on their regular-season roster, including Damjan Rudez, who is thrilled to have made the team. According to Robbins, head coach Frank Vogel lobbied team executives to give the veteran forward a chance to earn a spot on the 15-man squad.
  • There were offseason rumblings about a potentially contentious on-court relationship between Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal, but the backcourt duo is on the same page to open the season, per The Associated Press.
  • Andrew Nicholson could turn out to be one of the major free agent bargains of the summer for the Wizards, writes J. Michael of

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