Patrick Harrel

Southeast Notes: Williams, Hornets Front Office, Hartman, Hawks

Grant Williams had a prolific high school basketball career in Charlotte and was recently named one of the city’s best high school players of the past 40 years. Although he wasn’t drafted by Charlotte in the 2019 draft, he was traded to the Hornets at the 2024 deadline and made an immediate impact.

After being dealt from Dallas to the Hornets, Williams averaged 13.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game on 50.3% shooting. As a Maverick, he had been averaging 8.1 PPG and 3.6 RPG on 41.3% shooting. In a one-on-one interview with The Charlotte Observer’s Langston Wertz Jr., Williams opened up about his exit from Dallas, which was rumored to be related to a rift between him and star Luka Doncic).

I think it’s a media creation,” Williams said, echoing what Doncic previously said. “I can text Luka today, and me and him are good. … As much as I can say yes, of course, I’ll probably go at Luka a little bit, at the same time, we’ve known each other for four or five years. It’s not something he didn’t expect. He knows I’m a competitive guy and we always compete. So no matter what rumors are out there, we still have a respect for each other and still talk.

Williams will factor into Charlotte’s offseason planning while on an affordable contract that pays him an average of around $13.7MM annually over the next three years. Charlotte possesses two budding stars in LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller, and is armed with the No. 6 pick in the 2024 draft.

You look at the team that ended the season versus the team that started. If you’re a 41-41 team in the West, you’re an 11th seed. In the East, you’re in the play-in,” Williams said. “So it’s only 20 more games for us to win, and I think if everyone is healthy, it’s a chance for us to make an impact and look like Orlando, Oklahoma City, [teams] like that.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets officially announced the hirings of assistant general manager Dotun Akinwale, vice president of basketball operations & strategy Ryan Gisriel, and vice president of basketball insights and analysis Patrick Harrel, according to a team release. Akinwale most recently served as Atlanta’s vice president of player personnel, Gisriel last worked with the Nets for 11 years, and Harrel spent the past eight years with the NBA. All of these hires were previously reported.
  • The Wizards has brought in Michael Hartman to run the team’s strategy and analytics group, according to The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov. More front office hires are expected this offseason, according to Vorkunov. Hartman was previously with the Pelicans as the senior director of basketball operations.
  • The Hawks, holders of the No. 1 overall pick, sent team personnel to watch Zaccharie Risacher in France in the first game of the season’s playoffs, as observed by (Twitter link). In attendance were general manager Landry Fields, coach Quin Snyder and assistant general manager Kyle Korver. Risacher, the No. 1 prospect on ESPN’s best available list for the 2024 draft, put up 14 points and six rebounds on 50.0% shooting in the game.

Southeast Notes: Jaquez, Aller, Harrel, Redick

Add Jaime Jaquez Jr. to the list of injured Heat players. Jaquez suffered a right hip flexor strain during Game 4 of the team’s first-round series against Boston on Monday, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The Heat rookie has already been ruled out for Game 5, Winderman tweets. Terry Rozier (neck) has also been ruled out for Wednesday’s game, the team tweets.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets have expressed significant interest in hiring Brock Aller to Jeff Peterson‘s front office staff, SNY TV’s Ian Begley reports. Aller has been the Knicks’ vice president of basketball and strategic planning since 2020. Aller, who has already been contacted by Charlotte, has been instrumental in salary cap strategy, general strategy and contract structure for New York.
  • The Hornets are hiring Patrick Harrel as their new vice president of basketball insights and analysis, Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer tweets. Harrel has been working for the NBA’s data science department, where he led game scheduling optimization.
  • Hiring J.J. Redick as head coach would be an outside-the-box move, but he would inject life into the Hornets organization, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer opines. Redick’s candidacy was revealed early last week. His lack of coaching experience would be the major concern, but he played in the league for a long time and can relate to today’s players.  The possible move is already being met with positive vibes, Boone adds.