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Southeast division roundup: Orlando's first place magic trick

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Southeast division roundup: Orlando's first place magic trick

Orlando Magic: Before we go any further, let me note that these teams are listed in current standings order...No Dwight Howard was not shipped back to Central Florida. Actually, the Magic (2-0) didn't have starters Jameer Nelson or Hedo Turkoglu Sunday night against Phoenix - and for over two quarters, it showed. The Suns led by 14 points in the third before the Magic stormed back for a stunning 115-94. J.J. Redick paced five double-digit scorers with 24 points before a crowd of 17,022 inside the Amway Center. Why mention the attendance? This game marked the first non-sellout since Jan. 6 2009, the Orlando Sentinel reported. If this Michael Beasley quote proves accurate - and it would be a stunner if so - except full houses again soon. Said the Suns forward, "It might be better for them that they don't have Dwight Howard. Their all-around scoring is better."

Miami Heat: Admit it or not but Wizards' fans will keep an eye on those that played here last season, but have, um, moved on. Traded to and amnestied by the Hornets before signing as a free agent with the Heat, Rashard Lewis figures to get nothing but open looks playing for the star-studded defending champions. In three games with the Heat (2-1), the perimeter threat is averaging 9.3 points, including a 16-point effort Nov.2 in a loss to the Knicks. Last season in 28 games with Washington - he missed the final 33 games, never quite making it back from an injury -, Lewis scored at least 16 points twice. If this keeps up, those keeping tabs will be doing some rolling with those eyes.

Charlotte Hornets: Any "break up the Hornets" talk after the opening game 90-89 shocker over Indiana ended with 24 hours after a road trip to Dallas included a 124-99 pounding by the Mavericks. Nobody really expected a win even without Dirk Nowitzki sidelined because Charlotte simply does not beat Dallas. Ever, never, ever...never. The Bobcats fell to 0-16 in the series, the Charlotte Observer reported. Allowing Dallas to shoot 61 percent from the field might have had something to do with this latest loss. On the glass half full front, Bobcats free agent acquisition and point guard Ramon Sessions finished with 22 points, five assists, and four rebounds.

Atlanta Hawks: Speaking of free agent signings, Lou Williams is quickly doing his part to have folks forget Joe Johnson. On the road in Oklahoma City against the defending Western Conference champions, Williams scored 14 of the Hawks (1-1) final 23 points including a run of 10 straight as Atlanta silenced the Thunder for a 104-95 win on Sunday night. Still not sure the logic of why Philadelphia let Williams go - replacing him with Nick Young to boot. The folks in Atlanta, at least the small faction that care about the Hawks (or pro sports) surely don't care what the Sixers were thinking, but are just happy they did. Williams, who finished with 19 against Oklahoma City, also led the Hawks with 22 points in the opening game loss to the Rockets.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Draft prospect profiles on Moe Wagner, Michael Porter, Jr., Grayson Allen and more

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Draft prospect profiles on Moe Wagner, Michael Porter, Jr., Grayson Allen and more

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes was joined by Nick Ashooh and Stefon Marquis to talk NBA Draft. 

They broke down five prospects and their potential fit with the Wizards: Moe Wagner of Michigan, Michael Porter, Jr. of Missouri, Grayson Allen of Duke, Collin Sexton of Alabama and Omari Spellman of Villanova.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

MORE WIZARDS COVERAGE:

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Cavaliers are gunning for Kawhi Leonard, though it's doubtful they have enough to interest Spurs

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Cavaliers are gunning for Kawhi Leonard, though it's doubtful they have enough to interest Spurs

With word out that Kawhi Leonard wants a trade from the Spurs, teams are lining up with offers to San Antonio and one of the NBA’s best teams has reportedly already made a call.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have contacted the Spurs about a potential Leonard trade, according to Cleveland.com. Terry Pluto wrote on Sunday that multiple teams have done the same. That is to expected, of course, as Leonard is one of the best players in the NBA. He's a two-time defensive player of the year and he's only 26.

Let's look at Cleveland as a potential destination. It should first be noted that it's questionable whether they have enough to land a player of Leonard's caliber. They have the eighth overall pick in Thursday's draft, but it may take a lot more than that to get Leonard.

They also have Kevin Love, who is an All-Star still in his prime. But if they gave him up, they would then need to seek more help to surround Leonard and LeBron James, if James decides to stay. Though James and Leonard are both top-five players in the NBA, they still likely wouldn't be able to beat the Warriors unless they had another running mate. Those two plus Love and then you're talking.

Whether the Cavs have the goods to land Leonard or not, it's no wonder why they are trying for him. Getting Leonard, a two-time All-NBA selection, would likely be enough to retain James, the best player in the game. If James were to look around the league for a top-shelf running mate, he would be hard-pressed to find one better than Leonard.

That is assuming Leonard is healthy, of course. He did miss all but nine games this past season with a quadriceps injury. That injury was central in a saga of discord between him and the team. Until he hits the court again, Leonard offers no guarantees. Still, he may be worth the risk for Cleveland, as the alternative is potentially seeing James walk. 

If the Cavs got Leonard, that would probably solidify their standing as the best team in the Eastern Conference, even if they lost Love in the process. Leonard is better than Love and they would arguably have the two best players in the East. They may not have enough to beat the Warriors, but that would likely give them the edge over the young teams like Boston and Philly that have been nipping at their heels.

Sending Leonard to the Cavs would get him out of the Western Conference and that might be enticing to the Spurs. If they send him to the Lakers, his reported preferred destination, that could come back to bite them much more often than it would if he was traded to the East. Though putting him in Cleveland would form another very good team, they wouldn't affect the Spurs directly but for two regular season games, unless they were to meet in the NBA Finals.

The Spurs haven't indicated they will actually trade Leonard, but it does seem to be heading in that direction. It sounds like Cleveland will at the very least give it a shot. 

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