Magic Rumors

Latest On Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson has spent his entire NBA career with the Warriors after being selected 11th overall in the 2011 draft, making five consecutive All-Star teams from 2015-19 and winning four championships. However, the 34-year-old is set to hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent, and a return to Golden State appears far from certain.

Klay Thompson, I’m told, is open to all external options in free agency coming up,” Shams Charania of The Athletic said on FanDuelTV’s Run It Back show (Twitter video link). “He intends to test free agency.

We know the Warriors want him back — they offered him an extension before the start of the season. … What team out there could step up for Klay Thompson? That is gonna be the big question. But the Warriors will stay in touch with him.”

League sources tell Charania and Anthony Slater of The Athletic that there’s “mutual interest” between Thompson and the Magic, which has been rumored to be the case for at least two months. Golden State has “made clear” it wants to retain Thompson “at the right price and in the right role,” per The Athletic’s duo.

According to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area, Thompson is looking for a deal that covers a minimum of three years. Poole also hears the Warriors’ front office wasn’t alarmed by Thompson’s decision to stop following the team on Instagram, which has become common practice in contract negotiations.

He’s going to have to be really patient,” Thompson’s friend and former teammate Leandro Barbosa told Poole. “I hope he comes back to the Warriors. I don’t know what’s the situation, but it’s going to be tough. I know the money (in NBA contracts) is going up, and he’s been thinking about the money.

But I think he needs to be happy. I think that’s the most important thing.”

Poole suggests rival teams could be willing to offer Thompson more money than the Warriors. Still, as Charania mentioned, it’s unclear which teams might target Thompson beyond perhaps Orlando. Slater previously floated the Sixers and Thunder as possibilities, though Thompson would presumably be a fallback option for Philadelphia, which is reportedly focused on Paul George.

Thompson remains one of the league’s top three-point shooters, averaging 9.7 attempts per game while converting 40.0% of his looks beyond the arc over the past two seasons. However, the torn ACL and torn Achilles tendon that cost him two full seasons have sapped his lateral quickness and athleticism, so he isn’t the same player he once was, particularly on defense.

For what it’s worth, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and longtime teammates Stephen Curry and Draymond Green all expressed a desire for Thompson to return after the veteran guard/forward was held scoreless (he went 0-10 from the field) when Golden State was eliminated by Sacramento in the West’s play-in tournament.

Thompson will join the Bahamian national team for its training camp this week in Houston, but he isn’t expected to play in the country’s Olympic qualifying tournament early next month, according to Charania and Slater. Thompson would need official clearance to play for the Bahamas in international competition since he won a gold medal with Team USA in 2016, and that is not expected to occur, per The Athletic.

Thompson’s father Mychal Thompson is from the Bahamas and his brother Mychel is an assistant coach on the national team.

2024 NBA Offseason Preview: Orlando Magic

After spending a full decade alternately mired in mediocrity (in the good years) or dwelling in the NBA’s cellar (in the bad), the Magic had a breakthrough in 2023/24.

Orlando’s 47-35 record was the team’s best mark since Dwight Howard was on the roster (2010/11), and while the club didn’t win a playoff series, its three first-round wins vs. Cleveland topped its combined postseason win total (two) across the previous 11 years. It was the second straight year in which the Magic made major strides — after winning just 22 games in 2021/22, they boosted that total to 34 in ’22/23 and 47 this past season.

The good news for the Magic is that their young core is largely responsible for that surge up the standings. Orlando’s top three scorers in 2023/24 were Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, and Jalen Suggs, all of whom will still be on their team-friendly rookie scale contracts in ’24/25. The franchise is in position to keep those players under team control for years to come.

The bad news? Well, “bad” may be an overstatement, but Wagner and Suggs are due for rookie scale extensions this offseason, with Banchero becoming eligible for a rookie scale extension of his own in 2025. That means the young core will be getting a lot more expensive over the next couple years, and the front office still needs more talent to become a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference.

The Magic have managed their books well – no one made more than $17.4MM last season and there’s no guaranteed money on the cap beyond 2026 – so they’re in position to comfortably extend those cornerstone players. But the rising cost of the roster going forward means the 2024 offseason will be a critical opportunity for the Magic to continue making meaningful upgrades while they still have cap room available to do so.

The Magic’s Offseason Plan

Let’s start with the Magic’s cap outlook. They only have about $66MM on their books for the seven players on guaranteed contracts for 2024/25, but we can probably add Jonathan Isaac‘s $17.4MM non-guaranteed salary to that total.

Although Isaac – who appeared in just 11 games across the three previous seasons for health reasons – didn’t play big minutes in 2023/24, he suited up for 58 games and provided a reminder in his limited role (15.8 MPG) of why he was considered a future Defensive Player of the Year contender early in his NBA career. I can’t see him being waived, given the impact he’s capable of making on defense even as a part-timer.

Adding Isaac’s salary and a $3.6MM cap hold for Orlando’s first-round pick (No. 18) brings us to just over $87MM. Throw in three minimum-salary cap holds to get to 12 roster spots and the Magic end up with about $50MM in potential cap room.

Now, it’s important to clarify that Orlando would have to make certain sacrifices to fully take advantage of that $50MM. Joe Ingles ($11MM) and Moritz Wagner ($8MM) have team options; Caleb Houstan has a non-guaranteed salary ($2MM); and the Magic may want to try to re-sign free agents like Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris, and Goga Bitadze, all of whom would have cap holds to account for (ranging from $25.5MM for Fultz to just $2.1MM for Bitadze).

While turning down those options and renouncing all those free agents would get the Magic to $50MM in room, I’m skeptical they’ll go that route, given how inclined they’ve been in recent years to retain their own players.

But let’s say the team guarantees Houston’s salary, brings back one (not both) of Fultz or Harris for a deal in the range of the full mid-level ($12-13MM), declines the Ingles and Wagner options in the hopes of bringing them back for the veteran’s minimum and $8MM, respectively, and reaches a new agreement with Bitadze. That could still leave Orlando with upwards of $36-37MM in cap room to use, since Houston’s salary and Bitadze’s cap hold are so modest and Wagner and Ingles could be re-signed after the room is used up.

This is a roundabout way of saying that even if the Magic opt for continuity, they should still be in position to open up enough cap room to splurge on at least one starter-caliber player, and perhaps multiple rotation pieces.

Orlando has been mentioned as a possible Paul George landing spot, but that feels like a long shot. I expect George’s decision to ultimately come down to the Clippers and Sixers. The Magic have also been linked to Klay Thompson, Malik Monk, and D’Angelo Russell, all of whom look to me like much more plausible targets.

As talented offensively as both Banchero and Wagner are, neither of them has been a consistent threat from beyond the three-point line (Wagner was solid in his first two seasons but plummeted to 28.1% in ’23/24), which means the Magic would ideally surround them with two or three shooters. Suggs (39.7%) and Wendell Carter (37.4%) set new career highs in three-point percentage this past season, but Orlando’s roster isn’t exactly loaded with marksmen. Adding shooting will be the top priority this summer for a team that ranked dead last among 30 NBA teams in three-pointers made per game (11.0) in 2023/24.

Thompson, Monk, and Russell aren’t perfect players. Thompson has lost a step since his prime years due to his age (34) and a pair of major leg injuries; Monk’s three-point percentage has dropped over the past couple seasons and was all the way down to 35.0% in 2023/24; and Russell is a subpar defender whose weaknesses have been exposed in the last two postseasons.

Still, there are reasons to like all three fits. Thompson is one of the best shooters in NBA history and would bring championship experience to a relatively young team. Monk would add a new level of play-making to the Magic’s backcourt and would make them less reliant on Banchero and Wagner offensively. Russell is a talented scorer, a solid distributor, and – most importantly – an elite shooter (.415 3PT% on 7.2 attempts per game in ’23/24). Any of those three players would provide some offensive punch for an unbalanced Magic team that ranked third in defensive rating and 22nd in offensive rating.

Of the three, Thompson looks to me like the most intriguing fit, assuming he’s truly willing to leave Golden State. The Magic could potentially offer him an extremely lucrative short-term deal using their cap room, overpaying him for the next two seasons and then having his contract come off the books when he’s 36 and when Banchero’s next contract is about to take effect.

If Orlando strikes out on guys like Thompson and Monk, a few other free agents I view as possible fits include Tobias Harris, Gary Trent, and Buddy Hield. Again, given how good their defense already is, the Magic don’t necessarily need to be targeting two-way impact players like OG Anunoby or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. They can afford to add a below-average defender if the trade-off on offense is strong enough.

If free agency doesn’t yield the type of upgrade the Magic are looking for, turning to the trade market would be a viable option. Orlando controls all of its future first-round picks, as well as the Nuggets’ 2025 first-rounder (top-five protected), so the club could put together a strong offer that includes multiple valuable draft assets without mortgaging its future at all.

While determining how the Magic will use their cap room is a more fun subject for speculation, it’s worth stressing that trying to workout extensions for Wagner and Suggs will also be a crucial part of the team’s offseason. Those negotiations could be tricky — both Wagner and Suggs are valuable assets, but neither is the sort of player who is a slam dunk for a maximum-salary offer, so they won’t necessarily get done early in July like Tyrese Haliburton, Anthony Edwards, and LaMelo Ball did a year ago.

Of the two players, Wagner is closer to max-worthy, and it wouldn’t shock me if Orlando ultimately puts that offer on the table for him. Something that comes in a little below the max (say, $175MM over five years) isn’t out of the realm of possibility either. Suggs likely won’t be in line for that sort of payday, but he substantially improved his value by making an All-Defensive team and raising his shooting percentages in year three. I could see the former No. 4 overall pick getting into the nine figures (ie. $100MM+) on a long-term extension.

Salary Cap Situation

Guaranteed Salary

Non-Guaranteed Salary

  • Jonathan Isaac ($17,400,000)
  • Caleb Houstan ($2,019,699)
    • Houstan’s salary will become guaranteed if he remains under contract through June 30.
  • Total: $19,419,699

Dead/Retained Salary

  • None

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

Restricted Free Agents

  • Chuma Okeke ($7,399,732 qualifying offer / $15,800,139 cap hold): Bird rights
  • Total (cap holds): $15,800,139

Two-Way Free Agents

Note: Because he has finished each of the past two seasons on a two-way contract with the Magic, Harris’ qualifying offer would be worth his minimum salary (projected to be $2,093,637). Schofield is no longer eligible to sign a two-way contract and would also have a qualifying offer worth his minimum salary (projected to be $2,244,249). Those offers would each include a small partial guarantee.

Draft Picks

  • No. 18 overall pick ($3,639,120 cap hold)
  • No. 47 overall pick (no cap hold)
  • Total (cap holds): $3,639,120

Extension-Eligible Players

  • Wendell Carter (veteran)
    • Extension-eligible as of October 1.
  • Markelle Fultz (veteran)
    • Extension-eligible until June 30.
  • Gary Harris (veteran)
    • Extension-eligible on June 30 (one day only).
  • Caleb Houstan (veteran)
  • Jonathan Isaac (veteran)
  • Jalen Suggs (rookie scale)
  • Franz Wagner (rookie scale)

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, these players are eligible for extensions beginning in July.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Other Cap Holds

Note: The cap holds for these players are on the Magic’s books from prior seasons because they haven’t been renounced. They can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.

Cap Exceptions Available

Note: The Magic project to operate under the cap.

  • Room exception: $8,006,000

Cole Anthony To Focus On Eliminating Distractions

  • Cole Anthony was disappointed in his performance after signing an extension with the Magic last summer, relays Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. In his fourth NBA season, Anthony posted career lows with 11.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. “I’m going to work on everything (this summer),” he said. “The biggest thing for me I’m going to work on is just try to take care of my mental health. Whether it’s talking about it, whatever it is, just try to do all I can to have as little distractions on the court next year.”

Scotto’s Latest: J. Smith, Toppin, Weaver, Hartenstein, Huerter, O’Neale, More

Early indications suggest that Pacers power forward Jalen Smith will decline his $5.4MM player option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports in his latest aggregate mock draft. Sources tell Scotto that a final decision hasn’t been made, but Smith appears to be leaning toward testing the free agency waters. He has a June 29 deadline to opt in for 2024/25.

Smith, 24, appeared in 61 games this season and posted a career high in scoring at 9.9 PPG, along with 5.5 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 17.2 minutes per night. He was selected 10th overall by Phoenix in the 2020 draft and was acquired by Indiana at the 2022 trade deadline.

Scotto notes that rival teams are watching to see whether the Pacers will re-sign restricted free agent Obi Toppin. If the fourth-year power forward reaches a new deal, there’s a belief that Indiana might be willing to trade Jarace Walker, who was a lottery pick last June.

Scotto shares more inside information in his aggregate draft:

  • Washington is believed to be a potential destination for former Pistons general manager Troy Weaver, who recently parted ways with the team, Scotto writes, noting that Weaver was once part of Oklahoma City’s front office along with Wizards executives Michael Winger and Will Dawkins.
  • Scotto talked with some NBA executives who believe the Magic should be considered a threat to sign Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein. Orlando could have close to $50MM in cap space to work with.
  • Executives also expect the Kings to explore deals involving Kevin Huerter and Harrison Barnes, Scotto adds.
  • The Raptors plan to work out an extension with Scottie Barnes this summer, sources tell Scotto. The versatile swingman made his first All-Star appearance this year.
  • Scotto echoes other reports in stating that Royce O’Neale is likely to reach a new contract with the Suns. The 31-year-old forward, who was acquired from Brooklyn at the trade deadline, is expected to receive about $10MM per year, according to Scotto.
  • Vice president of basketball operations Brent Barry isn’t expected to return to the Spurs next season, sources tell Scotto. The longtime NBA player has been an executive with San Antonio since 2018.
  • Assistant coach Jason Love will likely leave the Sixers and join Doc Rivers’ staff with the Bucks, Scotto states. Love previously worked for Rivers in Philadelphia.
  • The Hornets are assembling a staff of assistants for new head coach Charles Lee. Scotto hears it will include Lamar SkeeterJosh LongstaffChris JentRyan FrazierZach PetersonMatt Hill and Blaine Mueller.

Draft Notes: Shannon, Dante, Blazers, Magic, Antoine

Illinois guard Terrence Shannon has been found not guilty of all charges at his criminal trial in Kansas, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Shannon was facing felony charges of first-degree rape and sexual aggravated battery.

According to Givony, NBA teams have been closely monitoring Shannon’s legal situation. At one point he was a projected first-round pick, Givony notes, but he’s currently ranked No. 33 on ESPN’s big board.

Here are some more draft-related notes:

  • Oregon center N’Faly Dante, who is ranked No. 75 on ESPN’s board, appealed to the NCAA for an extra year of college eligibility, but that request has been denied, sources tell Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • The Trail Blazers hosted a pre-draft workout on Thursday featuring Colorado forward Tristan Da Silva, Serbian guard Nikola Djurisic, Duke big man Kyle Filipowski, Memphis guard David Jones, Arizona guard Pelle Larsson and Maryland guard Jahmir Young, tweets Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report. Portland controls four picks in the upcoming draft: a pair of lottery picks (Nos. 7 and 14) and two second-rounders (Nos. 34 and 40). Da Silva (No. 17 on ESPN’s board) and Filipowski (No. 21) are considered probable first-rounders.
  • The Magic held a pre-draft workout on Wednesday that featured Purdue’s Lance Jones, Syracuse’s Judah Mintz and North Carolina’s Cormac Ryan, according to Cody Taylor of Rookie Wire (Twitter link).
  • Radford guard Bryan Antoine, a McDonald’s All-American in High School, has a workout on Thursday with the Nets, a league source tells Adam Zagoria of (Twitter link). The Knicks will host Antoine for a workout next week, Zagoria adds.

Southeast Notes: Fultz, Heat, Bridges, Lee

Free agency is quickly approaching for Magic guard Markelle Fultz, who is hoping to re-sign with Orlando, writes Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. Fultz battled through recurring problems with his left knee that limited him to 43 games this season. He began the season as a starter, but only remained in that role for 18 games and saw his numbers drop across the board as he struggled to stay on the court.

“I had my ups and downs,” Fultz said. “I had my little bumps and bruises on my knee and arms. I’m just glad I was able to finish the season out healthy. Of course, I missed some games during the season but being able to finish the year off with my brothers, have that experience of the playoffs and make it to a Game 7 was huge for me. I’m just grateful.”

After a rocky start to his NBA career, the top pick in the 2017 draft appeared to have established himself with the Magic during the 2022/23 season. He started all 60 games he played, set career highs with 14.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game and had career-best shooting marks of 51.4% from the field and 31% from three-point range. But his future seems less certain now at age 26 and coming off an injury-riddled season.

“I understand it’s a business,” Fultz said at the team’s exit interviews. “I understand some guys are going to be gone [and] some coaches might be gone. You never know. You obviously hope for the best, but understand that you can only control what you can control, and in my eyes, I always try to do that.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Head coach Erik Spoelstra will focus on fixing the Heat‘s offense this summer, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Injuries made it difficult for Miami to establish any continuity as Spoelstra was forced to use 35 different starting lineups. Beyond that, Chiang points out that the Heat had difficulty with inside scoring — attempting just 28.5% of their shots around the rim, which was the third fewest in the league, and shooing 63.4% in the restricted area, which ranked seventh worst.
  • Miles Bridges‘ decision in free agency will set the tone for the rest of the Hornets‘ summer, observes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. The team would love to re-sign Bridges, but he figures to have plenty of options on the open market after posting a career season while playing on a $7.9MM qualifying offer. Boone notes that Bridges’ $15MM cap hold and the $7.5MM salary slotted for the No. 6 pick will take up most of Charlotte’s projected cap space, so the team is limited in the moves it can make until Bridges’ situation is resolved.
  • In a separate story, Boone examines the type of head coach the Hornets are getting in Boston assistant Charles Lee, who won’t be with the team full-time until after the end of the NBA Finals.

Stein’s Latest: Lindsey, Williams, George, Bronny James, Cassell

The Pistons passed on Mavericks executive Dennis Lindsey and hired Trajan Langdon as their president of basketball operations. However, the Pistons would still like to bring in Lindsey for another front office role under Langdon.

Lindsey has been discussed as an ongoing target for the Pistons, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack post. Lindsey was the other finalist for Detroit’s top front office job and met with team owner Tom Gores multiple times before Langdon was offered the position.

The Mavericks don’t want to lose Lindsey, who recently attended the NBA’s European draft combine in Italy with assistant GM Matt Riccardi.

Langdon is still mulling whether to retain head coach Monty Williams, who has five years remaining on his contract, Stein adds.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Paul George is a well-known free agent target for the Sixers if he fails to reach an extension agreement with the Clippers this month. George will have at least one Eastern Conference alternative in that scenario. The Magic will also be in the mix and Orlando additionally has designs on the Warriors’ Klay Thompson. How the Magic would fit George into their frontcourt of Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner would be an intriguing side story, while Philadelphia has an obvious frontcourt need with Tobias Harris (and most of the rest of the roster) headed to free agency.
  • Bronny James worked out for the Suns on Wednesday and initially only made plans to visit the Suns and Lakers during the pre-draft process. However, that situation is fluid. Agent Rich Paul told Stein there are “a few more” workout invites under consideration.
  • Reiterating an item from last month, Stein says Bucks coach Doc Rivers will make a push to hire Celtics assistant Sam Cassell after the Finals. Cassell was one of the early candidates for the Lakers’ head coaching job.

Keith Smith's Offseason Preview

  • Keith Smith of Spotrac previews the Magic‘s offseason, writing that while Orlando will have plenty of cap room this summer, the team will also have to spend that money wisely, as impending rookie scale extensions will complicate the club’s financial outlook in 2025/26 and beyond.

2024 NBA Draft Picks By Team

The Spurs and Trail Blazers were among the winners on last month’s draft lottery day, with the results on May 12 ensuring that both teams would have a pair of lottery picks in 2024. San Antonio received Toronto’s top-six protected first-rounder when it dropped to No. 8, while Portland was assured of receiving Golden State’s top-four protected first-rounder when it remained at No. 14. Both clubs’ own picks are in the top seven.

Besides being the only NBA teams to control two lottery picks this year, San Antonio and Portland have something else in common — they’re the only two clubs that own more than three total 2024 draft picks. In addition to No. 4 and No. 8, the Spurs have Nos. 35 and 48, while Portland has a pair of early second-rounders (Nos. 34 and 40) to go with its No. 7 and No. 14 picks.

Many of this year’s draft picks have changed hands at some point, with only 24 of 58 total selections held by their original owner, but they’re still a little more evenly distributed than usual. A year ago, 11 teams controlled three or more picks at this time, whereas this year only seven clubs hold more than two picks apiece.

In addition to those seven teams with three or more picks, 13 more clubs own a pair of draft selections, while another nine control one apiece. That leaves just a single NBA team without a draft pick this year: the Nets. Brooklyn traded both of its 2024 picks back in 2021, sending out its first-rounder in a package for James Harden and including its second-rounder later that year in a Sekou Doumbouya salary dump. The Nets could still trade into this draft, but for now they’re the only team on track to sit it out.

To present a clearer picture of which teams are most – and least – stocked with picks for the 2024 NBA draft, we’ve rounded up all 58 selections by team in the space below. Let’s dive in…

Teams with more than two picks:

  • San Antonio Spurs (4): 4, 8, 35, 48
  • Portland Trail Blazers (4): 7, 14, 34, 40
  • Washington Wizards (3): 2, 26, 51
  • Memphis Grizzlies (3): 9, 39, 57
  • Utah Jazz (3): 10, 29, 32
  • New York Knicks (3): 24, 25, 38
  • Indiana Pacers (3): 36, 49, 50

Teams with two picks:

  • Houston Rockets: 3, 44
  • Detroit Pistons: 5, 53
  • Charlotte Hornets: 6, 42
  • Sacramento Kings: 13, 45
  • Miami Heat: 15, 43
  • Philadelphia 76ers: 16, 41
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 17, 55
  • Orlando Magic: 18, 47
  • Toronto Raptors: 19, 31
  • Milwaukee Bucks: 23, 33
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: 27, 37
  • Denver Nuggets: 28, 56
  • Boston Celtics: 30, 54

Teams with one pick:

  • Atlanta Hawks: 1
  • Chicago Bulls: 11
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 12
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: 20
  • New Orleans Pelicans: 21
  • Phoenix Suns: 22
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 46
  • Golden State Warriors: 52
  • Dallas Mavericks: 58

Teams with no picks:

  • Brooklyn Nets

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.”