Southeast Notes: Love, Washington, Gafford, Howard

Kevin Love won’t return to Cleveland to face his former team on Wednesday. He’s listed as out for personal reasons, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald tweets. It would have been Love’s first game in Cleveland since he was bought out last season.

Prior to that announcement, Love told Chiang and other media members he was looking forward to the trip. The veteran Heat big man also indicated it took awhile to adjust to his new surroundings. “I think at first, it was a bumpy transition. I think it is with anybody trying to find their place in a new organization, especially after eight-and-a-half years there. But I definitely feel like this has been a great landing spot for me,” he said.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • With Miles Bridges back in the lineup on Monday, P.J. Washington came off the bench for the first time since the 2021/22 season. However, it didn’t come as a surprise. Hornets coach Steve Clifford and Washington had been discussing the possibility for awhile. Washington will continue to get a steady diet of minutes. “PJ and I have been talking about this ever since Miles came back. So, he’s still going to play,” Clifford told Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer. “His minutes won’t change. PJ will play just as many minutes as he was before, but we have to get to playing groups like we were talking about before the game. And so they’re going to play together, too. PJ is all about the team. He’s extremely team-oriented. He grew up in a basketball family. He has no problems with it, and again, this has been something that’s been discussed since Miles came back.”
  • Wizards center Daniel Gafford has started a majority of the games he’s appeared in the past two seasons but this is the first season he’s the unquestioned starter. Gafford is enjoying that comfort zone while playing a career-high 24.1 minutes per game, he told Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports Network. “They’re putting all their trust in me,” he said. “For me to be trusted with this role, it’s something I’ve always wanted. It’s on my side and my part to keep up that trust and confidence in me. They threw me in the fire, so I’ve gotta put the fire out.” Gafford is in the first year of a three-year, $40.2MM contract.
  • Lottery pick Jett Howard will play for the NBA G League Osceola Magic this week, Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley said it will be great for Howard to get steady minutes with Osceola. The 11th overall pick has made just five brief appearances in Orlando’s games this season.
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