There wasn’t much playing time available for Tre Mann on a talented Oklahoma City team, but he moved into a starting role after being traded to the Hornets, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. With LaMelo Ball still injured, Mann has been tasked with running Charlotte’s offense and he’s averaging 13.7 points and 7.3 assists in his first three games.
“I think I’m fitting in pretty well,” Mann said. “I’m just coming out, trying to play hard around a bunch of talented guys. We’ve all got really good IQ, so it’s easy playing with guys like that. I think I’m playing well. I’m just trying to show off my playmaking ability as much as I can and it’s been fun.”
Ball will miss his 12th straight game tonight in Utah, but he’s making progress toward returning from a sprained right ankle. A source tells Boone that Ball has resumed on-court activities and is steadily increasing his workload. Mann believes they can form an effective combination whenever Ball comes back.
“I think he can play a little bit off ball and I can do the same,” Mann said. “So, It’s his team and I’m going to adjust to whatever is better for him. For right now, I’m just trying to go out there and play team ball.”
Here’s more from the Southeast Division:
- The Magic will be without Markelle Fultz for their first game after the All-Star break, writes Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. The seventh-year guard continues to deal with a nagging left knee injury, which has limited him to just 21 games thus far in 2023/24. It’s unclear how much more time Fultz will miss beyond Thursday’s contest in Cleveland, but it’s a situation worth monitoring down the stretch, as the 25-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
- Star forward Jimmy Butler missed the Heat‘s final three games leading into the break due to the death of a family member, but he was back at practice on Thursday and will be available for Friday’s game in New Orleans, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Josh Richardson (right shoulder dislocation) and Terry Rozier (right knee sprain) will both be out Friday, but they’re traveling on the team’s four-game road trip, Jackson adds. Veteran big man Kevin Love said Rozier was moving well at Thursday’s practice, though he did not do any live drills (Twitter link via Jackson). Richardson, meanwhile, was in street clothes and wearing a sling. Head coach Erik Spoelstra indicated Rozier had a chance to suit up during the road trip, but the prognosis for Richardson was less optimistic, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). Guard Tyler Herro is questionable for Friday’s contest due to right foot soreness.
- Key labor unions in northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., publicly announced Tuesday that they are opposed to Monumental Sports’ plan to move the Wizards from D.C. to Alexandria, Virginia, according to The Associated Press (link via ESPN.com). The Northern Virginia AFL-CIO and member unions cited in part an inability to reach a deal for union members to work on construction projects. It’s the latest obstacle in the proposed move, which has drawn opposition from several key figures in the region.
Rory Maher contributed to this post.