Southeast Notes: Heat, LaMelo, Magic, Avdija

John Hollinger of the Athletic reviewed the 2020 offseason for the Heat and previewed the 2020/21 season for the club, which opened tonight against the Magic in Orlando. Hollinger notes that the team’s 2020 offseason seemed to prioritize future assets over building for the immediate present, despite the fact that Miami made the Finals this season.

The Heat will be able to carve out about $30MM in available cap room for the 2021 offseason, Hollinger projects. Hollinger also expects the team to use its roster, loaded with expiring contracts and intriguing players on cheap contracts, to improve ahead of the playoffs.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets have long been waiting to add a new young player capable of generating the kind of buzz a high-upside prospect at the level of rookie point guard LaMelo Ball, the No. 3 pick in the 2020 draft, according to Andrew Carter of The Charlotte Observer. Hornets head coach James Borrego was skeptical that Ball, the youngest son in a famous family, could enthusiastically buy in to the team concept he was hoping to build before a workout convinced him otherwise. “Just a genuine spirit, an authentic spirit,” Borrego said. “He would ask as many questions as we would ask.”
  • The Magic are hoping to take the next step in their evolution as a playoff club with the chemistry developed through years of continuity, despite the absence of recently-extended forward Jonathan Isaac, according to Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel.
  • The Wizards were apparently so set on drafting rookie forward Deni Avdija that they at one point almost made a deal with the Bulls to move up to the No. 4 pick, but determined the cost was too high, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The Wizards did not anticipate that Avdija would last long enough to be available at No. 9.
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