Southeast Notes: Li. Ball, Bridges, Huerter, Heat

Although the Hornets signed and subsequently waived LiAngelo Ball before the regular season began, procedural issues will prevent the team from making Ball an “affiliate player” for the Greensboro Swarm, a source tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link).

NBA teams can secure the G League rights of up to four affiliate players by signing and waiving them before the season begins, then having those players sign NBAGL contracts. In Ball’s case, he signed his G League contract before the Hornets signed him, explains Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer. That’s why Charlotte can’t make him an affiliate player.

Ball will now be eligible to be selected by an team in Saturday’s draft, and he could actually be one of the more intriguing targets in a somewhat thin draft pool. Greensboro currently holds the 14th, 23rd, and 26th picks in the first round and could use one of those to select Ball — if he falls that far.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said this week that he believes a playoff spot is a realistic goal for the team this season, and added that the lack of a rookie scale contract extension for Miles Bridges by no means suggests the club doesn’t want to retain him long-term. “We love Miles Bridges,” Kupchak said, per Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer. “… We did have conversations with his representative — up until the last minute. And the decision was made to let’s just wait and see how the season plays out. And we’ll approach it again in the spring when we’re able to talk.”
  • Hawks swingman Kevin Huerter, who signed a four-year, $65MM contract extension earlier this week, is excited about the fact that the team locked up several members of its core – including Trae Young, John Collins, and Clint Capela – to long-term deals this offseason, as Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution details. “We signed a lot of people to a lot of money this offseason. … As players, it speaks a lot,” Huerter said. “They kind of put their money where their mouth was. … There’s a lot of guys locked in for a couple years now as we try to make some noise.”
  • The Heat are starting the season without a 15th man on their roster because carrying another player would push them over the luxury tax line. However, team president Pat Riley said ownership would be willing to go into the tax this season if the Heat show they’re a legit contender and it makes sense to do so. “(Not) paying the tax, it’s never been a mandate, but it’s always been on my mind,” Riley said, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I’m not just going to say, ‘Every year we’re going into the tax,’ and then we don’t win and (team owner) Micky (Arison)‘s writing these big checks. I don’t think that’s fair. But, when we have a real contender, which I think we have, then we’ll entertain that. I think we’ll entertain it this year, too.”
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