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Paul Pierce thinks LeBron James should join the Wizards... seriously

NBC Sports Washington/USATSI

Paul Pierce thinks LeBron James should join the Wizards... seriously

The speculation for where LeBron James will play next season hasn't quite heated up. It's nothing like previous years when he was months away from free agency. Paul Pierce, though, may have started that conversation on Friday.

And Pierce, in fact, has a team in mind for James to leave the Cavaliers to join. Pierce says James should head to Washington.

"There's one Eastern Conference team where I think he is the best fit and that's the Washington Wizards. Right here," he said on ESPN's 'The Jump' Friday afternoon.

Pierce, who played with the Wizards in the 2013-14 season, gave a lengthy explanation for why.

"If it's not Cleveland, it will be difficult seeing him go out West because the West is so tough. The road to the Finals is not easy," he said. "You have a young backcourt still where LeBron doesn't have to carry the load every night. You have a young small forward in Otto Porter. You can play LeBron at the four. Can you imagine John Wall, Bradley Beal, LeBron James, Otto Porter with [Marcin] Gortat? They would definitely win the East. It has experience, it has youth, it has everything you want. So, who knows?"

That is quite the idea and it's hard to argue that the Wizards would be very, very good. Right now they are hoping to knock off LeBron and the Cavs, but what if LeBron wants to join them? That would be hard to pass up.

If it were to actually happen, James would have to either leave the Cavs in free agency or agree to a sign-and-trade. In that scenario, it wouldn't be surprising if Porter or Gortat were involved. But the Wizards have several attractive trade pieces including Markieff Morris and Kelly Oubre, Jr.

Add it all up and it makes a lot of sense, especially considering Pierce's point about the Western Conference. If LeBron goes West, he will battle the Warriors, Thunder and Spurs every year just to make it to the conference finals. The East remains a more realistic path.

Watch LeBron's full comments here. It's at the end of the video:

And for more Pierce on the Wizards, listen to our 1-on-1 interview with him on the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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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:


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. 


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.


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.


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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.


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.


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.