Southeast Notes: Graham, Capela, Butler, Magic

Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham enjoyed a breakout 2019/20 campaign, boosting his scoring average from 4.7 PPG to 18.2 PPG to go along with 7.5 APG and a .373 3PT% on 9.3 attempts per game. However, the former second-round pick wasn’t a finalist for the league’s Most Improved Player award, finishing fifth in voting.

“Obviously, I was upset about it. I’m pretty much over it now,” Graham said on Thursday following the Hornets’ group workout, per Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. “I just know the people who really watch and are around basketball know.”

Having initially signed a three-year, $4.07MM contract with the Hornets after being drafted 34th overall in 2018, Graham will be entering a contract year in 2020/21 and said on Thursday that he’s open to discussing an extension with the team this offseason, according to Bonnell.

Because he’s a minimum-salary player, the Hornets guard would be eligible for a starting salary worth up to 120% of the league’s estimated average salary. If the cap stays at the same level in ’20/21 that it did in ’19/20, that would translate to a maximum extension of $51.4MM over four years.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Having been fully cleared after battling a foot injury for the second half of the 2019/20 season, Hawks center Clint Capela has been able to participate in drills and mini-scrimmages at the team’s in-market bubble camp, writes Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Head coach Lloyd Pierce is excited about how Capela will be able to help Atlanta on the glass. “Defensive rebounding has been a big issue for us,” Pierce said. “He just knows how to do it. He knows how to hold off a guy with one arm and get (the ball) with the other. Just really simple things that you can’t teach. … He showed a couple of those possessions where you instantly look down there, and you’re like, ‘We’ll be all right there.'”
  • With the Heat one win away from returning to the NBA Finals, head coach Erik Spoelstra looked back this week on the team’s meeting with Jimmy Butler in free agency last summer, discussing how the two sides immediately connected, as Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald detail. “We have the same shared values about competition. It works for us. We don’t have to apologize for it,” Spoelstra said. “Times he’s been criticized for it, who cares? Just really grateful we got him.”
  • The coronavirus pandemic has slowed construction of the Magic‘s new practice facility, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic, who says that team officials are now hopeful the project will be completed by December 1, 2021. The original target date was September 2021.
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10 thoughts on “Southeast Notes: Graham, Capela, Butler, Magic

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      I think it’d be a great fit for both parties. Graham is growing into a really good player. He may not reach star level, but he’s one of those next tier type option players you need on a roster to be competitive.

    • specialfriedrice

      Considering he looked better more often than Terry, I’d call an offer like that a ‘kick in the nuts’…the media and their control of award votes which has contract implications has got to stop!

      How the 1234 was this guy 5th in voting…

      Corruption.

    • x_burner_X

      No, Luka should’ve won. He went from very good rookie to all nba and mvp candidate level – thats the hardest leap to make. Going from below average to above average is not comparable to that

      • specialfriedrice

        ‘Very good rookie’…take another look then review all the previous rookie classes…then try to tell yourself again that Luka was just a ‘very good rookie’…honestly.

      • Appalachian_Outlaw

        Luka is fantastic, but no, he’s not in the most improved player conversation. He was fantastic last season, too. His scoring went up this year because he took four more shots per game. He shot more 3’s this year, too, but at a lower percentage. The rebounding did make a noticeable jump, though. I’m not taking anything away from Luka; just pointing out he was relied on more and continued to produce at a high level. That makes him great, but not the most improved.

        • x_burner_X

          Luka took his team to the playoffs and looked awesome there too. All the other guys? They stank in terms of team success. And mavs roster wasn’t any better than pelicans. Thats the difference, Luka makes his team better, its not just taking more shots.

  1. El Don

    I actually had as my top 3 finalist for the MIP award, Graham, Luka & Trae Young in that order, so yes he should feel slighted, but hopefully he can use this as motivation to prove the voters wrong. Ingram & Bam had great seasons with great improvements, Bam could have very well been there instead of Trae, really close. Now Ingram, really like him, but don’t think he was anywhere near the improvement of any of this other guys.

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