Mario Elie

Southeast Notes: Deng, Oubre, White, Eriksson

It’s still unclear what Luol Deng will do with his player option, worth nearly $10.152MM, with tonight’s deadline to decide looming, but the Heat absolutely wants him back, as team president Pat Riley made clear after the draft, notes Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post (Twitter link). That’s in spite of Miami’s selection of small forward Justise Winslow at No. 10. While we wait to see just what Deng will do, here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • GM Ernie Grunfeld didn’t think the Wizards would have the chance to trade up and nab Kelly Oubre until a day before the draft, and in so doing, Washington landed a player who has a relationship with D.C. native and 2016 free agent Kevin Durant, as Benjamin Standig of The Associated Press examines.
  • J. Michael of looks at the options the Wizards have if Paul Pierce, who’s opting out, doesn’t re-sign.
  • Forward Aaron White, whom the Wizards drafted 49th overall out of Iowa, will “definitely” play overseas this coming season, as Michael hears, but Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post writes that a decision has not yet been made. “Aaron will play Summer League with the Wizards and then we will evaluate if it is best to go overseas or not this season,” White’s agent, Chris Emens, wrote in an e-mail to Castillo. “Aaron is open to doing whatever the Wizards think is best for his development.”
  • The pair of players the Hawks drafted in the second-round Thursday will stay overseas, tweets Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Swedish shooting guard Marcus Eriksson, the 50th pick, and Greek forward Dimitrios Agravanis, pick No. 59, remain under contract with Barcelona of Spain and Olympiacos of Greece, respectively, according to Vivlamore.
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel breaks down the new Magic assistant coaches whose hires the team officially announced Friday: former Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin, former Mavs assistant Monte Mathis, Mario Elie, who last was an NBA assistant with the Nets in 2012/13, and former Lakers D-League coach Conner Henry.

Southeast Notes: Ferry, Elie, Heat

Former Hawks GM Danny Ferry is relieved at this weekend’s release of the findings of a team-commissioned investigation that found no wrongdoing on his part, though he indicates that the team held onto the results for months, despite his request that they make them public, as he tells Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Indeed, the team knew the results of the investigation in September, reports Ramona Shelburne of, a couple of days before Ferry took his leave of absense, and the public release was one of the terms of his buyout, according to Shelburne.

Ferry admitted to Shelburne that he made a mistake when he read racially charged comments about Luol Deng from a scouting report that an outside service had prepared, and while he considered ending his leave at points during the season, he ultimately decided that doing so would have been too much of a distraction. He also told Vivlamore that even as Hawks higher-ups acknowledged the situation was unfair, they pressured him to quit in the immediate wake of the crisis. “They didn’t see a way I could survive this,” Ferry said. “That was hard to take. Fortunately, Wayne Embry, the Rev. Toussaint Hill, Lance Blanks and others were telling me, ‘You can’t quit. If you quit now, you’re admitting you are a racist and you are not a racist.’ Those are people who have experienced racism. My father also was a good voice for me through all of this. I am glad I followed their advice and I am so grateful for the support from them and many others.”

Here’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic, who own the No. 5 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft, are considering trading down for a lower first-rounder and a veteran to add to their young core, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel writes. “I would say we’ve talked to at least a half-dozen teams about it,” Orlando GM Rob Hennigan told Robbins. “So it’s something we’re definitely considering and weighing sincerely: potentially moving back.” You can view Hennigan’s complete draft history as an executive here.
  • The tense contract relations the Heat organization is currently experiencing with star Dwyane Wade will influence the team’s approach to the NBA Draft, Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post writes.
  • Mario Elie is a strong frontrunner to be hired as an assistant on coach Scott Skiles‘ staff with the Magic, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). Elie has previously been an assistant for the Mavs, Kings, and Nets.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.