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Open court: Do any Clippers free agents fit Wizards?

Open court: Do any Clippers free agents fit Wizards?

The end for the L.A. Clippers couldn’t have been any more disappointing after a 53-win season and a No. 4 seed. Injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin ended them in the first round though they had a chance to at least get to the West finals.

The Clippers have some attractive free agents and don’t have a lot of salary cap room to refresh their own roster. Their best shot is to use the Bird Rights on their own free agents to retain some of them.

The Wizards will go into the offseason with as many as nine spots open. Their goals are to get younger, more explosive and identify a few two-way players in the process to improve their 21st scoring defense. Adding players indiscriminately isn't an option because of the cap. The big fish (meaning, big-name free agents) will get signed first. Assuming the Wizards land one, even if it's not named Kevin Durant, they'll construct the roster with the remaining money with as many as eight other spots open. More than likely they'll retain 2-4 of their own free agents which will cut that number of open slots from 5-7.

They'll need a solid backup for Marcin Gortat at center, a true scorer behind Bradley Beal and a backup point guard for John Wall.

These are the Clippers’ best free agents available, in order of best fit:

Jamal Crawford: He’s 36 but that doesn’t matter much. He’s a bench player who is instant offense. Crawford won the Sixth Man of the Year award for the second time and made just $5.7 million. He’ll command somewhere in that range with a raise, of course, but the unrestricted free agent also has indicated he’d like to return to L.A. He’s from the West coast and appears to prefer it, but if he’s willing to listen to a pitch his 14.2 points in 27 minutes a game is worth it.

Jeff Green: A 6-9 combo forward, he was on the Wizards’ short list of possibilities two years ago when he was with the Celtics and on the market. He averaged 11.7 points and made 41 starts but can disappear for long stretches. He’s 29 and athletic and played for Scott Brooks when both were with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Now he's unrestricted.

Austin Rivers: A 6-4 guard, he’s a backup who’ll be looking for a raise if he exercises his player option. Still, the raise he'd get over his $3.1 million, if any, would be modest. Rivers' shooting from inside and outside the arc remains sub-par though defensively he has proven to be quite valuable.

Wesley Johnson: A career backup, like Rivers and Aldrich, Johnson was a lottery pick, too, who hasn't lived up to his draft status. A shooting guard, he played for the $1.1 million minimum as well and averaged 6.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 21 minutes. Johnson can be a spot starter and has potential to be a late bloomer but remains a shooter in the low 30s from three-point range.

Cole Aldrich: It has taken the 2010 lottery quick quite a while to mold himself into a usable center, but he did a decent job as DeAndre Jordan's backup (5.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, 59.6% field goals). Aldrich makes the vet minimum of $1.1 million and should be able to get a raise by exercising his player option, too. Like Green, he played for Brooks in Oklahoma City.

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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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