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Dez Wells will join Thunder for training camp


Dez Wells will join Thunder for training camp

Six teams, including the Wizards, had extended training camp invites to Dez Wells, an undrafted shooting guard from the University of Maryland, and he has opted to join the Oklahoma City Thunder, his agent Lance Young told CSNwashington.com on Friday. 

Wells has recovered from a dislocated right thumb on his shooting hand that kept him from competing for the Wizards at Las Vegas summer league. They proceeded to fill all 15 of their roster spots with guaranteed contracts, the maximum allowed by the NBA when the regular season tips in October. Teams can carry as many as 20 players during the offseason.

Wells lost that chance to prove to the Wizards that he was worthy because of the setback -- the injury occurred before he left for Las Vegas -- and instead has to make an immediate impression with little time in camp and the preseason.

He initially ruled out the Wizards quickly because they lacked a roster spot but he then reconsidered. The Utah Jazz were said to have had interest in acquiring Garrett Temple which gave Wells pause before making his choice, but CSNwashington.com was told Thursday (as was Wells' camp) that they haven't been in contact regarding a trade of Temple and were likely to keep him regardless.

Wells signed what's called a "make-good" training camp deal. If he makes the cut, a regular-season deal likely would be unguaranteed and involve him being sent to the D-League for long stretches to develop. The Thunder have a franchise called the Oklahoma City Blue. 

Wells might've been drafted No. 46 in the second round, but he was intent on not going overseas. The Wizards took Aaron White, a power forward, who agreed to go abroad to get experience and not occupy a roster spot this season. White is playing in Germany and will return to compete for a roster spot in 2016-17 when the Wizards undergo a major overhaul.

RELATED: Update on trade rumors involving Jazz and Temple

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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Washington Wizards

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

As if they needed a reminder, the Wizards saw firsthand on Wednesday night just how much can change in a short period of time in the Eastern Conference playoff race where just two games separate the No. 3 and No. 6 teams.

That No. 6 team is now your Washington Wizards, who began the day in fourth place but lost their first game in four days on the same night both the Cavs and Sixers won theirs. 

The Wizards lost to the Spurs on Wednesday and managed only 90 points, their fewest since Jan. 22. It was a lackluster performance in a game the Wizards needed to treat with urgency. 


The Spurs sure did.

"We've gotta have a better mentality coming into games," guard Bradley Beal said. "The Spurs were fighting for playoff seeding just like we were."

The Wizards have now lost six of their last 10, yet all those games have come against teams currently holding playoff spots. Considering John Wall reamins out with a left knee injury, it's hard to fault them too much when they are staying afloat just fine in the big picture.

The problem is that the closer they get to the end of the season, the more these losses are magnified. They amount to missed opportunities, some bigger than others.

That was not lost on Beal, who considered the alternative. If the Wizards had beaten the Spurs, they would be sitting in fourth, two spots higher, and just a game-and-a-half out of third.

"Every time we have a chance to move up, we take two steps back," Beal lamented.


The Wizards are in a high stakes part of the standings where plenty is in the balance. They are fighting for home court advantage, something they would get in the third or fourth spots. And who they match up with will be paramount.

By falling to sixth, the Wizards are currently in line to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though the Pacers and Sixers are also good teams, they don't have LeBron James. Avoiding him and the Cavs would be ideal for the Wizards.

Beal has even bigger worries than that. He noted after the loss in San Antonio that they could fall even further if they aren't careful. They are now just a game-and-a-half up on the seventh-place Heat. 

"We've gotta realize what's at stake, man. The way we're going, we could keep dropping and mess around and be eighth. We've gotta do whatever it takes to win," he said.

The Wizards should be fine, if the previous two months are any indication. But Wednesday night was another example of how precarious things are for them this season in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference.


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