Some Hawks fans were underwhelmed with Atlanta’s decision to quickly fill their roster vacancies with players they had cut previously in the year but head coach Mike Budenholzer cites their familiarity with the team’s system as the motivating factor, says Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta currently sits fifth in the Eastern Conference, well within reach of home-court advantage in the first-round if things break right in the second half of the season.
The two wings, Ryan Kelly and Lamar Patterson, have had multiple stints with the franchise, Kelly spending time with the club in training camp prior to being waived, later signed again shortly after opening day and waived once more in January and then Patterson playing last season with the franchise, getting cut over the summer and then coming back on a pair of 10-day contracts last month.
“We’ve continued to follow them closely,” Budenholzer told Vivlamore. “We feel like adding them to the group this year, not just this year because there is potential and hope that these are guys who fit us and understand how we play. Lots of time we talk about fit. We feel like Ryan and Lamar have that potential.”
Though the pair have only played in a combined 87 minutes for Atlanta in 2016/17, they’ll round out a lineup in “win-now” mode. Previously it seemed likely that the franchise would trade pending free agent Paul Millsap and embrace a rebuild but they’ve publicly changed course.
There’s more out of the Southeast Division:
- The Wizards freed up cap space to make signing forward Otto Porter to an extension this summer possible. General manager Ernie Grunfeld recently spoke with J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic about just that. “We love the way that he’s developed and how he’s come along. I think Otto fits in very well with what we’re trying to do,” Grunfeld said. “I said he’s part of our core and we want to keep him here.”
- Over the All-Star Break, Wizards rookie Sheldon McClellan announced that he has legally changed his name to Sheldon Mac, says Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic. The guard had thought about it for a while but held off for fear of complicating the scouting and drafting process he went through last year.
- If the Heat want to free up a roster spot for the upcoming buyout market or even just for flexibility down the stretch, they’ll have to first deal with the Chris Bosh situation, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.
- Recently acquired forward Bojan Bogdanovic was looking forward to the trade that officially sent him to the Wizards. The veteran will come off the bench in Washington and tells J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic that he doesn’t think it will be that big of an adjustment.
- After getting waived by the Hornets, big man Mike Tobey has returned to the Greensboro Swarm of the D-League writes Chris Reichert of The Step Back.