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Open court: Do any Grizzlies free agents fit Wizards?

Open court: Do any Grizzlies free agents fit Wizards?

By any stretch of the imagination, what coach Dave Joerger did with the Memphis Grizzlies was nothing short of remarkable despite the first-round exit in a sweep to the San Antonio Spurs. He led his team to a winning record (42-40) despite having a revolving door of a roster decimated by injuries (28 different players).

That said, the Grizzlies are in need of a roster makeover after failing to get back to the conference finals after advancing there in 2013. The organization made its first move in that direction Saturday by firing Joerger.

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 Grizzlies’ best free agents available, in order of best fit. (And yes, Mike Conley is a free agent but he’s not going to be a backup and the Wizards aren’t to offer a point guard like him starter’s money to be one so he’s not listed):

Matt Barnes:  A spot starter at small forward and known for his fiery temperament, Barnes can average double figures in less than 30 minutes a game. He made $3.5 million and is unrestricted but unless the Wizards believe they need another body at that spot with Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre adequately equipped to do the job, signing this 36-year-old wouldn’t make much sense. But Barnes does have a mean streak (sometimes to his own team’s detriment) that they can definitely use more of.

Chris Andersen: At 37 and an injury-riddled season, he shouldn’t get anywhere near the $5 million he made. Anderson is a hustle player who makes his living doing the dirty work, but that type of player can be found at the minimum and much younger. The Wizards would do better moving to retain J.J. Hickson if that were the case. 

Lance Stephenson:  A volatile personality, he’s coming off a deal that paid him $9 million. Stephenson mistakenly turned down a more lucrative deal from the Pacers two years ago anticipating he’d be worth more. He’s probably looking at not a penny more this summer as he was a backup for the Clippers and Grizzlies. His shooting has improved, a career-high 38.5% from three-point range. His decision-making remains in question, still unable to vibe with teammates on the court. Stephenson has the capability to be a starter though he’s a shoot-first guard. Too much of a risk

P.J. Hairston: A locker room problem at the time, the Hornets were eager to move him and did so. Hairston only made $1.2 million, is a good defender and has good size at 6-6 and can slot as a shooting guard and small forward. He averaged 6.2 points but still isn’t a good shooter from range.

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch


Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.


Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:


Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.



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5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 110-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night...

1. The Wizards didn't start out well, as they trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. stumbled early by missing four of his first six shots and it looked like a carryover of his slump before the All-Star break.

But Oubre got hot in the second quarter and helped the Wizards turn the game around. This was one of his best plays, a two-handed slam that he celebrated with an emphatic scream to the crowd:


2. Tomas Satoransky was one of the stars of the game. He had 17 points to go along with eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

Here's one of his dimes, a perfect alley-oop lob to Markieff Morris, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds:

3. Satoransky has reached double-figures in six of the 10 games since John Wall went out with an injury. This was a very impressive move, a stepback fadeaway that was super smooth:


4. Ian Mahinmi made some key contributions including four offensive rebounds and a steal. This was his best basket, a powerful slam that came at a key time:

5. This play helped seal the victory. It was a smart after-timeout set drawn up by head coach Scott Brooks and it worked to perfection: