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LeBron James says Otto Porter is earning his max contract for Wizards

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LeBron James says Otto Porter is earning his max contract for Wizards

Though some were skeptical when the Wizards signed forward Otto Porter to a max contract worth $106.5 million over four years this past summer, Porter has responded with a convincing start to this season and in doing so has earned some high praise from LeBron James.

James discussed Porter's improvement at the Cavaliers' shootaround on Friday morning at Capital One Arena and brought up the contract unprompted.

"He's worked on his game extremely well and he's earned the big paycheck that he got," James said.

Porter has drawn glowing reviews from opponents and opposing coaches over the past year in particular. When they scout the Wizards on film, Porter stands out as a guy who does the little things required to win in the NBA.

James is a fan of his game.

"You can't give Otto Porter no daylight these days. The last couple of years he has shot the ball extremely well, especially from the perimeter which has ultimately created a lot of opportunities and space for John [Wall]," James said.

[PODCAST: MORRIS' RETURN SHOULD BE BIG BOOST FOR WIZARDS]

Porter, 24, is averaging 18.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and a league-best 2.7 steals per game, all while shooting a ridiculous 55.7 percent from the field and 51.7 percent from three. He's one of the most efficient players in the NBA and has really come into his own after being drafted third overall by the Wizards in 2013.

The Wizards' 2015 first round pick, Kelly Oubre, Jr., is also making strides this year. He's putting up 11.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. Oubre is just 21, but the Cavs see a player getting better at a fast pace.

"I worked out with Kelly this summer with John a couple of times. It's just all about confidence for him," James said. "He's getting an opportunity from the coach and he's just trying to seize the opportunity and make the most of it."

"His three-point shooting," Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said when asked what has improved in Oubre's game. "We knew he was a slasher. We knew he could get to the basket. The way he's shooting the ball, with his confidence in taking [4.4] a game and shooting [45.2] percent. He improved his jumpshot and he can play off of Wall and [Bradley] Beal. He's really taken to that, so we've gotta be aware of him when he's on the floor. He's turned into a good player."

The Wizards get their first crack at the Cavs on Friday night at Capital One Arena.

[RELATED: CAVS AND WIZARDS SQUARE OFF FOR FIRST TIME]

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

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

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick and the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night.

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

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Another test

The Wizards continue their difficult stretch coming out of the All-Star break against a very dangerous Sixers team. Philly has proven to be very streaky this season, but right now they are rolling. They come to Washington having won their last seven games dating back to Feb. 6 when they beat the Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wizards are also playing well, having won eight of their last 11, despite their loss to the Hornets on Friday.

The Sixers are currently seventh in the East and appear on track to make the playoffs. If they keep rising the standings, they could meet the Wizards, who are currently fourth, in the first round. 

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Season series

Speaking of the playoffs, this game could end up looming large for postseason seeding. The Sixers have won two of the three matchups between these teams this year. If they win on Sunday, they will take the season series and own the tiebreaker over Washington.

If the two teams tie head-to-head and end up with the same record at the end of the season, it will then come down to conference record. The Sixers currently have a better record against East teams than the Wizards. But if they can beat Philly this time, the Wizards will have a chance to secure the conference tiebreaker down the stretch of this season.

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Sixers are tough to guard

The Wizards have found out the hard way this season just how difficult it can be to match up with the Sixers, who are led by two emerging stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Embiid is 7-foot-1 with rare abilities to stretch the floor and beat opponents off the dribble. Simmons is 6-foot-10, yet can lead the fastbreak with rare speed and vision to find his teammates with crisp passes.

The mobility for their size is almost unmatched and it has not been easy for the Wizards to answer. In their last meeting earlier this month, Simmons had 15 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals. Embiid had 27 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. The Wizards have to try to limit those guys while also dealing with other challenges like Robert Covington, Dario Saric and J.J. Reddick.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKING

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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.

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