Southeast Notes: Bamba, Heat, Hawks, Vucevic

Magic center Mohamed Bamba is eager to leave his coronavirus difficulties in the past after having to depart Orlando early due to complications from the virus, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel writes.

Bamba underwent a comprehensive post-coronavirus evaluation after leaving Orlando, with results indicating that he’s on the right track to recovery, Parry notes. He’s since been cleared to return to basketball activities, which includes shooting and running.

“It’s kind of tricky because we’re in the offseason, so I’m not sure what 5-on-5 is going to look like,” Bamba said, recognizing the uncertainty of doing full-contact work. “I’m really eager to hear back from the team what their vision for me is in the near future. We don’t even know when the season is going to start. … I’ll be ready.”

Bamba contracted the virus on June 11 and began experiencing issues related to his conditioning in Orlando. It was later determined that he should leave the campus and undergo additional tests for his safety, with the 22-year-old playing just 10 minutes across two games in the league’s restart.

“Absolutely. Getting all those tests done was probably the most important thing that I’ve done all year, besides vote,” he said. “It was really important. It’s a matter of just making sure that I’m taking care of my body and making sure I’m ruling out anything that could be harmful.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division today:

  • In his latest mailbag, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel ponders whether the Heat should roll with their current roster moving forward. Miami currently owns the best postseason record in the NBA at 7-1, with the team’s Game 5 against Milwaukee coming on Tuesday.
  • In his own mailbag, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic examines a number of topics related to the Hawks, including the rising expectations for head coach Lloyd Pierce and what will happen if the team fails to make the playoffs next year. Atlanta is set to sport a core consisting of Trae Young, John Collins, Clint Capela and a number of young players next season, including the No. 6 pick in this year’s NBA draft.
  • Magic center Nikola Vucevic earned redemption after a record-setting first-round playoff series against the Bucks, Parry writes in a separate story for the Orlando Sentinel. Vucevic averaged 28 points and 11 rebounds in five games, shooting 51% from the field and 40% from deep — a noticeable improvement from last year’s dismal first-round performance against the Raptors. “He’s been inside and outside,” coach Steve Clifford said of Vucevic. “He’s done it all. He creates so much offense for our team and he puts so much pressure on the defense because of the nature of how he plays.”
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