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New max player Bradley Beal sees co-leadership role with John Wall

New max player Bradley Beal sees co-leadership role with John Wall

LAS VEGAS – The team dynamic will be extremely different for the Wizards in 2016-17, but at the head of the table it’ll remain John Wall and Bradley Beal. Or is that Bradley Beal and John Wall?

Beal, who has had an injury-plagued four seasons and yet to be an All-Star, has signed his five-year, $128 million max offer. Wall, long considered the team’s best player and three-time All-Star who played through so much discomfort that he required surgery to both knees this offseason, is entering the third year of a five-year deal that totals $80 million.

“It’s everybody’s team. I don’t really think about it. It’s John and it’s my team,” said Beal to CSNmidatlantic.com after he watched the Wizards play at summer league. “We are the leaders of the team. It’s not about money. That doesn’t matter.

“In three years he’s going to make more money than me, too. It’s not going to matter. We’re both cornerstones of the franchise. We’re both leaders.”

Beal came up for a new deal during a time when the salary cap jumped from $70 million to $94 million. Whereas Wall signed in 2013 as an extension under a $58.7 million cap and wasn’t allowed to become a restricted free agent, Beal became one on a market that was thin on shooting guards. Like Wall, he'll have to grow into those big shoes.

The roster has had a lot of turnover, with the Wizards opting to get younger rather than hold on to veterans such as Jared Dudley, Ramon Sessions, Garrett Temple, Nene and Drew Gooden. They also have a new coach in Scott Brooks who is noted for developing younger players better than previous coach Randy Wittman.

“It’s different. We have a lot of new guys on the staff, a new system but I’m looking forward to it, being around coach Brooks. I’m getting a great feel for him,” Beal said. “We got some great character guys and great role players for us.”

Beal was a No. 3 overall draft pick in 2012. He has had to deal with living up to that standard. He has been on center stage in two playoff runs, including with Wall out with a broken wrist and he carried the extra load successfully then. The expectations that come with a max contract don’t feel any different.

“It’s always going to be pressure. It’s kind of automatic. It’s a two-way relationship,” Beal said. “They put the trust in me to bless me with a max contract. I have to be able to produce on the floor. It’s that simple. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get it done.”

The Wizards were 41-41 last season and Wall and Beal admitted they didn't do as good of a job as they could've as leaders. Without the security blanket of a Dudley, who called a players-only meeting in January when the season went south, who will be the one to take charge? The roster has gotten significantly younger and is filled with role players so Andrew Nicholson, Trey Burke, Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith will look to them.

Wall will be 26 in September. Beal is just 23.

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:

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2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:

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4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:

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