Southeast Notes: Heat, Hampton, Banchero, Ewing, Hornets

The Heat only have 12 players on fully guaranteed contracts in training camp, but they haven’t been inclined to add another veteran to their roster because they want to get a good look at their non-guaranteed camp invitees, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

As Jackson outlines, the Heat have a strong track record of finding diamonds in the rough and believe they’ll increase their odds of identifying another potential contributor if they’re focused on giving those young players an opportunity this fall, without another vet “cluttering the equation.”

While the Heat want to give their young players every chance to stand out in camp and the preseason, they also haven’t ruled out the idea of signing a free agent if none of their camp invitees emerges and claims a regular season roster spot. As Jackson observes, the list of unsigned players includes accomplished veterans like Blake Griffin, T.J. Warren, and Terrence Ross, as well as several former members of the Heat, including Kendrick Nunn, Goran Dragic, and Justise Winslow.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • R.J. Hampton was determined to join the Heat this offseason and began working out at Miami’s Kaseya Center alongside Heat players without any guarantee that he would be invited to training camp, according to Jackson. “It was Miami or nothing for me,” Hampton said on Monday. “I’ve been down here, off and on, since the beginning of August. It was almost like [the Heat saying], ‘Come here, do what you do, work hard. We’ll make decisions and talk to your agency and see what happens.'”
  • After earning Rookie of the Year honors during his first NBA season, Magic forward Paolo Banchero has his sights set higher in year two, as he tells Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. Asked by Beede what a successful season would look like, Banchero replied, “A successful season for Paolo Banchero looks like making the playoffs, being an All-Star and winning the in-season tournament.”
  • Patrick Ewing, an assistant coach in Charlotte from 2013-17, has rejoined the Hornets as a coaching consultant, per Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). The former star center was out of the NBA for the last several seasons as he coached at Georgetown, but the Hoyas parted ways with him earlier this year.
  • The 2023/24 season is a make-or-break one for the Hornets, according to Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer, who points out that the new ownership team of Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin didn’t make major changes when they took over the franchise earlier this year, but will likely show less patience if the club spends another year in the lottery.
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