Wizards

Quick Links

Open court: Do any Mavericks free agents fit Wizards?

Open court: Do any Mavericks free agents fit Wizards?

The end for the Dallas Mavericks came in the first round of the playoffs, in five games to the Oklahoma City Thunder. There’s no shame in that, but when a 37-year-old Dirk Nowitzki remains the No. 1 option it speaks to a roster that’s not equipped to endure an 82-game season.

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 Mavericks’ best free agents available, in order of best fit:

Dwight Powell: The rookie, who was the 45th pick in 2014, earned $845,000 and is restricted. The Mavericks should match any offers he gets in the open market but the 6-11 big man was exactly the type of player most teams arelooking to get to bolster their bench with the potential to be a starter one day. Powell would've been the Wizards' pick but when he went off the board they sold their 46th pick to the L.A. Lakers. Getting younger bigs behind Morris is a priority.

Zaza Pachulia: The 32-year-old unrestricted free agent center, and occasional starter, is coming off $5.2 million when he averaged 8.6 points and a career-high 9.4 rebounds. He made 69 starts, his most in a decade, and is a bruiser who doesn't need the ball to be effective. Though on the other side of 30 he's been relatively healthy for his career.

Raymond Felton: Formerly a starter, the unrestricted free agent point guard is now a backup after his second season in Dallas (9.5 points, 3.6 assists). He’s still not a good shooter at 40.6% from the field and less than 30% from three-point range in 80 games and earned $3.95 million. In the past he's been unhappy with a backup role and he played a significant part in a fractured locker room which led to Nate McMillian getting fired from the Portland Trail Blazers a few years ago. 

Chandler Parsons: The small forward had a $16 million player option that he is expected to exercise to become an unrestricted free agent. Coming off a major knee surgery, it’s difficult to see him commanding that much in the open market with Harrison Barnes more likely to be ahead of him in line. It would be hard to justify paying Parsons in the vicinity of that salary with Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre more than capable of filling that void at a much cheaper price to free up money for other needs.

Quick Links

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

usatsi_9095555.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

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.

PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING

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.

RELATED: DURANT MAKES HUGE DONATION TO PG COUNTY SCHOOLS

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. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

Quick Links

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

usatsi_10649028.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

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:

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

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:

RELATED: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT RAMON SESSIONS

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:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS