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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.

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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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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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