Southeast Notes: Beal, Maledon, Washington, Strus, Heat

Responding to reports that Wizards guard Bradley Beal is under police investigation for a postgame altercation with fans in Orlando, agent Mark Bartelstein told Marc J. Spears of ESPN (Twitter link) that his client is “one of the NBA’s classiest and outstanding citizens” and blamed the fans for their “abusive” language.

“The comments and words that were spewed at Brad in Orlando have no place anywhere in our society,” Bartelstein wrote in a statement. “For him to be subject to that type of verbal abuse is absolutely unacceptable. I believe the league is going to have to take a much closer look as to what is happening in NBA arenas to protect the players and I know that where we have advanced with gambling is certainly having a huge impact on this behavior!”

As we previously relayed, a man in the stands who had made a bet on the game allegedly told Beal, “You made me lose $1,300, you f–k,” while the guard was heading toward the locker room. The police report stated that Beal turned around and walked toward the stands, then swatted at a friend of the man who made the comment, making contact with his head and knocking his hat off.

According to TMZ Sports, the fans involved in the confrontation, who were sitting courtside, were heckling Beal for much of the night and made multiple “disparaging” comments aimed at the Wizards star. There has been no clarity yet on whether or not Beal will face any charges for the incident.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Hornetssigning of Xavier Sneed to a 10-day contract helped clear the way for Theo Maledon to have a career night on Tuesday, as Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer explains. Teams are limited to having their two-way players active for just 90 combined games (instead of 100) if they don’t have full 15-man rosters, so adding Sneed as a 15th man allowed the team to start Maledon. He responded with 19 points and nine assists in a road win over Oklahoma City.
  • Hornets forward P.J. Washington may have played his last game before he becomes a restricted free agent. Washington left Friday’s loss to Chicago due to a sprained right ankle, and Boone isn’t sure whether he’ll return for any of the four games left on Charlotte’s schedule.
  • Heat guard Max Strus, who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, admitted that he can’t help but think about what his next contract might look like and whether he’ll remain in Miami going forward, but he doesn’t feel like it’s affecting his play at all, per Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “It wouldn’t be human to not think about it,” Strus said. “I wouldn’t say it’s added pressure or anything like that.”
  • Following the bankruptcy of crypto exchange company FTX, the Heat‘s arena will be getting a new name. As Douglas Hanks of The Miami Herald details, the arena will be called the Kaseya Center, assuming a $117MM agreement with a local software company is approved next week by Miami-Dade County commissioners.
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