Southeast Notes: Keefe, Gafford, Micic, Hornets, Pullin

After getting the interim tag removed, Wizards head coach Brian Keefe is focused on continuing to build relationships within the organization, according to the Washington Post’s Ava Wallace.

“This is a relationship business,” he said. “And when you develop these relationships, then you can really dig into the stuff that we need to improve on.”

The Wizards went just 8-31 after Keefe was named interim coach, but they were impressed by his forward-thinking approach.

“We’re always going to be looking for what’s best for our group now, but also what’s best for our group going forward,” Keefe said, per The Associated Press. “One of the things I think is, how can we best use our players? And that might not be right now. That might pay off in two years from now.”

Keefe faces a different set of challenges than coaches hired by contenders, Josh Robbins of The Athletic opines. Robbins notes that it won’t easy to convince his players to play with unselfishness on offense and with effort on defense when many of those players will attempt to stand out in order to earn more lucrative contracts. It will also be tough for him to keep veteran players positive as the losses accumulate.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • After being stuck on the going-nowhere Wizards, Daniel Gafford felt a huge sense of relief when he was traded to the Mavericks, he told David Aldridge of The Athletic. “It’s more like, with me, in all honestly, I felt, just, it was a lot of weight that was just lifted off of me,” Gafford said. “Because I felt it was a situation that was going to be better for me, of course. But I hated to leave a team where I’d built a lot of relationships with. It was a good atmosphere, always, when I was in D.C. … one door closed and another door opened for me.”
  • Vasilije Micic embraced the challenge of an expanded role with the Hornets in his first NBA season after getting traded by the Thunder. Micic, the former EuroLeague star, is entering the second year of a three-year contract. “It was good for me,” he told HoopsHype’s Cyro Asseo de Choch. “I was very happy to get the chance, and to be honest, since I came there, I came up with an idea to face all the challenges that I could potentially face even though I was 29, even though I settled myself so well in Europe. I just wanted that challenge, and so far, it’s going OK.
  • A more harmonious franchise structure from top to bottom and better player development are some of the keys to turning around the Hornets, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer opines.
  • University of Florida guard Zyon Pullin is working out for the Heat today and the Magic on Saturday. Currently ranked No. 90 on ESPN’s Best Available list, Pullin hopes to elevate his stock to second-round consideration, he told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “Definitely hope to go probably second round,” Pullin said. “Ultimately, I could see myself going somewhere in that ballpark. I’m pretty confident. I know my capabilities. I’m very realistic. I don’t like to live in a fictional world. Whatever that is at the end of the day, I’m confident that it’s just another stepping stone.”
View Comments (1)