Southeast Notes: Wizards, Butler, Tucker, Hawks, Hornets

The Wizards will have plenty of options with the No. 10 pick in the 2022 draft, but it’s not realistic to expect the team to select its starting point guard at that spot, writes Ava Wallace of The Washington Post.

President of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard referred to the Wizards’ need for a point guard and their objectives in the draft as “two separate issues,” adding that the team will target the best talent available, rather than focusing on fit. He also left the door open for the possibility of moving up or down in the draft — or trading out of the first round entirely.

“For us, you’ve got to step back and say: ‘Do we have enough young guys? Do we need more talent?’ Whatever it is, we have this time to evaluate our roster, and the league tells you what it thinks about your players by the calls you get,” Sheppard said, according to Wallace. “We’re going to hear from a lot of people, already have heard from a lot of people. We can move up, we can move out, we can move — all these things are on the table.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The sideline altercation between Heat star Jimmy Butler and head coach Erik Spoelstra during a March game vs. Golden State was the culmination of “three seasons’ worth of give-and-take” between the two men, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. However, as Windhorst writes, they quickly moved past the confrontation and Butler has proven once again with his performance in the 2022 postseason that he’s worth some occasional drama.
  • Heat forward P.J. Tucker rarely puts up big numbers, but teammates and coaches appreciate his contributions that go beyond the box score, writes Wes Goldberg of The Miami Herald. “He’s one of the biggest reasons why we’re winning, because he does all the little things,” Butler said after Game 1. “It’s easy to follow suit whenever you’ve got somebody like that leading your team.” Tucker holds a $7.35MM player option for the 2022/23 season.
  • In a conversation with Chris Kirschner about the Hawks‘ upcoming offseason, John Hollinger of The Athletic explains why he thinks it’s unlikely that Atlanta and De’Andre Hunter reach an extension agreement this offseason and suggests that no one on the roster outside of Trae Young should be off-limits in trade talks.
  • The Hornets control the Nos. 13 and 15 picks in next month’s draft, and Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (subscriber-only link) believes the team should be willing to trade both of them for more immediate help, arguing that bringing in two more rookies wouldn’t do much for the team’s 2022/23 playoff aspirations.
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