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Wizards' Scott Brooks knows re-signing stars isn't easy from days with Thunder

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Wizards' Scott Brooks knows re-signing stars isn't easy from days with Thunder

Retaining star players in today's NBA is not as easy as the Wizards have made it look over the past two summers with max contracts signed by John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter, and head coach Scott Brooks is no stranger to the other side of the equation.

Before taking over as coach of the Wizards, Brooks spent seven years leading the Oklahoma City Thunder. They rose very quickly to reach the NBA Finals in 2012, his fourth season on the job. But not long after that their core was dismantled, first by the trade of James Harden to the Houston Rockets, a casualty of the salary cap. Last summer, one year after Brooks had been dismissed, OKC traded Serge Ibaka and saw Kevin Durant sign with the Golden State Warriors in free agency. That's three very good players the Thunder had drafted and developed who left all in just a few years time.

In re-signing their core three, the Wizards are establishing an era of continuity other teams may covet. Under their current deals, Wall, Beal and Porter are ensured of playing at least seven total seasons together, eight if Porter doesn't exercise his player option for 2020-21. Wall is under contract through the 2022-23 season, what will be his 13th in the NBA.

"It's not easy to keep all of your players. I know that pretty well without getting into details. It's not easy to draft good players, either," Brooks said, alluding to his days in Oklahoma City.


Brooks continued without naming names.

"It's critical that your star players want to stay and play for the team. Without getting into the details that you all are well aware of, like in this past summer, that's not always the case. We have our three players that we drafted all wanting to stay here and stay long-term. That's good. That's good because if you don't have your best players wanting to stay here, then nobody wants to stay here. But we have John committed... I love guys that care for their team and John does care for his team."

There are, of course, some differences between the Wizards and Brooks' Thunder. That Oklahoma City Thunder team got to the conference finals and finals before Harden left and they made another conference finals before Durant and Ibaka were gone. Harden was an unusal case as a budding superstar who was worth of running his own team. And by the time of Durant's exit, he had already played nine seasons for the Thunder franchise, as many as Beal and Porter have played in the NBA combined.

But the point still stands that the Wizards are an anomaly in keeping their best players. Convincing a star to stay home is not easy, just ask the Pacers, Clippers or Jazz.



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After being forced to change, Kelly Oubre suspects NBA can't handle 'too wavy' Supreme sleeve

After being forced to change, Kelly Oubre suspects NBA can't handle 'too wavy' Supreme sleeve

Is there such a thing as "too wavy?" Kelly Oubre – a.k.a. Wave Papi – doesn't think so, but the NBA just might. 

That was his best guess when asked why he changed leg sleeves at halftime. He had been wearing one by Supreme, a New York streetwear brand, in collaboration with Nike. 

"It was just what I got informed from one of our trainers. He was like ‘switch leg sleeves,’ so I switched no questions asked."

Maybe no questions asked at the time, but Oubre had plenty of questions (and a few statements) afterwards. 

"It had the NBA logo on it, has a Nike sign on it. The NBA is sponsored by Nike, it’s just Supreme, so I don’t really know what’s the quarrel," he said.

"They shouldn’t have sold it to me or they shouldn’t have dropped it if we can’t wear it and it has the NBA logo on it, because I play in the NBA right? I should be able to wear anything that has the logo of what I represent."

MORE WIZARDS: NBA Rookie of the Year Rankings

Not a terrible point considering Nike is the official apparel partner of the NBA. 

So there must be some other reason. The one that Oubre suggests, though, is the most Oubre statement in his 22 years of life. 

"It’s just something wavy, honestly. I don’t know if it’s too wavy for them, but honestly I had fun." 

The league must just be threatened by the waviness of the whole thing. Too wavy to handle. The packaging should say, "Warning: Contains extreme levels of waviness. Wear with caution." 

The NBA might have been overwhelmed by the sheer wave factor, but NBA Twitter was here for it. Oubre wore the sleeve long enough for pictures of it to get picked up by national media outlets.

Hypebeast mode activated. 

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Wizards suffer another letdown loss to a bad team, this time to the Nets

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Wizards suffer another letdown loss to a bad team, this time to the Nets

The Washington Wizards lost to the Brooklyn Nets 103-98 on Tuesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Another bad loss: The Wizards keep letting this happen and it has to be driving head coach Scott Brooks absolutely nuts.

Once again, the Wizards lost to a team they had no business losing to. After owning the Nets (11-15) for years, Brooklyn was the aggressor all night. That was despite missing a host of regulars including Jeremy Lin, D'Angelo Russell and the newly acquired Jahlil Okafor.

The Nets trotted out a team of guys you probably have never heard of, but it didn't matter. The Wizards lost for the seventh time this season to a sub-.500 opponent. They are 9-6 against teams with .500 records or better and just 5-7 against sub-.500 teams. It's a confusing trend and it continued against the Nets.

Many on the Wizards struggled including Otto Porter (11 points, 5-for-13 FG), Markieff Morris (six points, one rebound) and Jodie Meeks (six points, 2-for-9 FG). Bradley Beal had 28 points but shot 11-for-33 from the field and 0-for-7 from three. He also missed several key shots down the stretch as he attempted to shoot his way out of the slump.

One big mistake with 8.8 seconds left really hurt the Wizards. Point guard Tomas Satoransky turned the ball over on a five-second violation before he passed it in to Beal. The Wizards didn't even get a chance tie when they were down three at the time.

The Wizards are now 4-5 without John Wall since he had platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment and viscosupplementation injections in his left knee. They are 5-6 without him this season overall.


Morris keeps struggling: Something seems up with Morris. After going off for 21 points and six rebounds against the Suns two games ago, he's been missing in action the last two outings. He had just two points vs. the Clippers on Saturday and followed that up with another stinker against the Nets.

Morris managed only six points and one rebound in 18 minutes. We know he's been dealing with some discomfort in his left ankle dating back to the Wizards' playoff series against the Celtics in April, even Morris would say that doesn't explain it all. He's in a funk and there's no clear answer for why.

Mahinmi, Wall out: The Wizards were without Wall for the ninth straight game on Tuesday, as he continues to recover from his left knee injury. They were also without Ian Mahinmi, who missed his first game of the season due to a right knee strain. It's unclear how serious Mahinmi's injury is, but right as they are about to get Wall back they have a new knee injury to worry about.

Smith got some run: With Mahinmi out, Brooks turned to Jason Smith as he's been prone to over the last two seasons when one of his big men is injured. And per usual, Smith made a nice impact.

There were moments where he looked rusty, but Smith put in his best game of the season. He set season-highs in points (nine), rebounds (five) and minutes (28). The bench overall was a relative positive, as they managed 43 points. They also outrebounded the starters with 29 of the team's 49 boards.

Up next: After a five-game road trip, the Wizards finally return home on Wednesday to host the Memphis Grizzlies, possibly with Wall in the lineup. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.