Southeast Notes: Bertāns, Micić, Wizards, Wagner

Hornets forward Dāvis Bertāns joined the team alongside Tre Mann and Vasilije Micić at the February trade deadline, but wasn’t viewed as a centerpiece of the deal that sent Gordon Hayward out of Charlotte. However, as The Charlotte Observer’s Roderick Boone points out, Bertāns is performing well for the Hornets after working his way into the rotation, averaging his most points (8.8) and minutes (20.8) per game since he was with the Wizards in 2020/21.

Bertāns quickly became one of former head coach Steve Clifford‘s trusted reserves, with the team running set plays for the dangerous three-point scorer. In his 27 games with the Hornets so far, he’s shooting 37.3% from deep on 6.3 attempts per night. In fact, he has 18 games with multiple three-pointers made off the bench, marking the most in the NBA during that stretch.

He’s a terrific shooter, obviously, but he creates a lot of problems for the defense just with his movement,” Clifford said. “And he never holds the ball. He either shoots it or moves it, which is the play.

Bertāns’ play provides a glimpse into what could be next season when LaMelo Ball is healthy, with the 6’10” allowing the star guard more room to maneuver with his floor-stretching capabilities. However, Boone ponders whether Bertāns will remain with the team next season. Bertāns has an early termination option for next season worth $16MM and could get multiyear offers from contending teams if he hits the open market, Boone writes.

For what it’s worth, Bertans seems to have enjoyed his time in Charlotte so far this season.

I’ve always loved shooting in [Spectrum Center], so it’s good to have more games [there] than before,” Bertāns said. “And definitely the crowd. Even though the season hasn’t been great winning-wise, the fans have been great and it’s a lot more people in [that] arena than other teams that are not making the playoffs. So, I think a bright future is ahead for the organization.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Like Bertāns, Micić didn’t play much for the Thunder after coming over from Europe to begin his NBA career this season. However, he has turned a corner after earning playing time with the Hornets, averaging 11.3 points and 6.4 assists in his first 28 games (19 starts) with Charlotte. “I’m more comfortable every day,” Micić said this week, according to “… I’m trying to play more relaxed, at my own rhythm, without chasing anything. It’s hard when you don’t have enough minutes, but at this moment, with these circumstances, I have these minutes, and I’m just hoping it looks good from the outside.” Micić is in the first year of the three-year, $23.6MM deal he signed last offseason. He’s under contract for about $7.7MM next year and has a team option worth $8.1MM in 2025/26.
  • At 15-65, the Wizards are wrapping up what will be the worst season in franchise history in regard to record. ESPN’s Dotun Akintoye explores Washington’s rebuild and how the Wizards have gotten to this point. Akintoye cautions against the ritual of losing and expecting to lose, along with the lack of cohesion that can follow.
  • Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley said Franz Wagner is “progressing slowly” from his right ankle sprain, according to Orlando Sentinel’s Jason Beede (Twitter link). “He’ll go through some work tomorrow as well and we’ll continue to see how he responds to those treatments,” Mosley said.
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