Southeast Notes: Wizards, Beal, Bridges, Heat, Hunter

Explaining the decision to sign general manager Tommy Sheppard to a contract extension, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis told Ava Wallace of The Washington Post that he believes in continuity and said the move is a reflection of Sheppard’s full body of work rather than the team’s hot start this season.

The Wizards also have an extension offer out to Bradley Beal, but it’s not a major surprise that the All-Star guard hasn’t accepted it — even if he wants to remain in D.C., Beal could sign a more lucrative contract in free agency next summer.

As Wallace relays, Leonsis believes the Wizards’ best path to locking up Beal long-term is to keep making good roster and business decisions to show the 28-year-old it’s possible to win in Washington. The Wizards owner is hopeful that Beal will follow in the footsteps of Washington Capitals stars Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, who recently signed multiyear extensions with Leonsis’ NHL team.

“(Beal is) not obsessing over a decision; I’m not obsessing over a decision,” Leonsis said. “I think that’s correct with my belief, just like I said, with Alex Ovechkin. I have high confidence in the integrity of the player in their believing in our city, our community. Everybody was all hyper on Alex, and he signed his long-term extension. Nick did the same.

“I’m expecting that it’s not negotiating with Brad, it’s Brad sees and enjoys and likes and believes and knows that there’s something special about spending your career and going through hard times and coming out the other end a champ.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The newfound ability Miles Bridges is showing as a ball-handler and creator this season is a key reason why the Hornets forward is on track for a big payday in restricted free agency next summer, says John Hollinger of The Athletic.
  • The Heat would have interest in point guard John Wall if he’s bought out, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, but there’s no indication the Rockets intend to pursue a buyout agreement with Wall anytime soon.
  • Heat two-way player Marcus Garrett has a reputation as a defensive dynamo, but was never a major offensive threat during his four years at Kansas, averaging double-digit points just once in his college career. He’s focusing on expanding his offensive game during his time in the G League with the Sioux Falls Skyforce this season, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “I’ve been playing point, especially with the G League team,” Garrett said. “Just learning the game, getting more comfortable with the pro level game and getting comfortable with the offense.”
  • In his latest mailbag, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic explores a handful of Hawks-related topics, suggesting that De’Andre Hunter‘s ever-growing history of injuries makes him an increasingly likely candidate to be moved if Atlanta makes a consolidation trade for an impact wing or forward.
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