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Pierce talks future - and sounds positive-ish

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Pierce talks future - and sounds positive-ish

Paul Pierce hinted at retirement in the aftermath of the Wizards series-season loss to the Hawks on May 15. Then he went radio silent, skipping the media during exit interviews. From there came general reports about the Los Angeles native possibly, if not likely opting out of the final contract year with Washington for a shot with the Clippers.

FInally, Pierce resurfaced this week as a guest on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio. During his appearance on “The Players Tribune” show, the future Hall of Famer discussed when his decision might come - over the next few weeks, Pierce said - and how the season ended. Yes, disappointment lingers, but Pierce sounded rather optimistic about the Wizards.

“Man, it was a good run,” Pierce said. “We really have a really good young team, and a couple budding superstars. It was tough. It especially really hurt us when John [Wall] broke his hand. Even though he came back, that really kind of hurt our rhythm, because we [were] playing so well. We felt like we were the better team if we had stayed healthy, but we lost some heartbreaking games.

“You know how the playoffs are,” Pierce continued. “Every game is close, and it all came down to the end, but I’m happy with the way guys fought. Nobody expected us to beat the Raptors. I thought we were better than Atlanta. We fell up short, but I really like our team, I really like the young budding stars. And we’re definitely disappointed, and would have gave Cleveland probably a better challenge than Atlanta, I think, but it was tough.”

Parsing words time. As DC Sportsbog noted (also h/t for finding the interview), that's a lot of present-tense in those words, "we" and us. Seems positive, but who knows the truth, other than perhaps Pierce, of course.

[MORE PIERCE Grading Paul Pierce's play for 2014-15 season

Pierce, 37, was then asked about how he's gearing up for big decisions coming up this summer. He must let the Wizards know about whether he'll play the final year of his contract ahead of the July 1 start to free agency.

It starts with a family trip to Mexico, Pierce noted, during which discussions about whether to continue his 17-year career will take place.

“These seasons, as you get older, they just are so long and draining," Pierce said. "This last playoffs really took a lot out of me, not only physically but emotionally, because I think I put so much into the game that it takes a piece of you. It’s really all got to do with how my mental state of mind’s gonna be this summer. Because I do feel like I can still play this game. I mean, I showed that this year, that I still have something left in the tank. But it’s just the mental part of getting ready in the summer and getting ready for a long year. Those are the things I’ve got to think about. My body is starting to finally heal. ...I'll probably know something in the next couple of weeks."

Later in the interview and perhaps another example of Pierce's fondness for the team, he explained the relationship with Washington's starry young backcourt tandem of John Wall and Bradley Beal.

“I didn’t know how much of a student of the game John was and Brad was,” Pierce said. “They really love the game, they watch it all the time, they watch college, they love the game of basketball. On the bus drives, on the airplane rides, that’s where we develop the chemistry: playing cards in the back of the bus, going out to dinners. We had times during the season where we had team dinners at least once a month; they [were] like they really didn’t do that too much, so we tried to implement those things and just form a good bond with them.

“And the good thing is, these guys know I’ve been in the NBA 17 years, so I’ve got a lot of stories to give them. And when I give them old stories, they want to know how was KG, how was all the former guys I played with. And they’d just sit around the locker room and we’d just talk about it, and I think right there develops the chemistry: the respect they have for me, but also the respect I have for them.”

The discussion veered into other topics including the NBA Finals (Pierce picked the Cavaliers) and playing against legends like Michael Jordan (on the Wizards) and Karl Malone. at the end, Pierce concluded with what's clearly becoming his signature phrase. "I called game."

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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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