Wizards

Dolphins planning $400M in upgrades

Dolphins planning $400M in upgrades

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross unveiled a plan to modernize Sun Life Stadium on Monday, and promising to personally cover the majority of the $400 million estimated cost of the project.

The rest would come from tax dollars, and that would likely need approval from both state and local lawmakers. However, Ross said that any public dollars for the project would not result in higher taxes for residents of Miami-Dade County.

Instead, the Dolphins are looking for a slightly higher hotel tax in the county, as well as a larger state sales-tax rebate. And in return for the deal, the Dolphins say the deal would keep them in South Florida through at least 2034, though stopped short of saying that not getting public money would jeopardize the franchise's future.

``There's only a limited amount of capital you can put into something,'' Ross said, when asked why the Dolphins aren't choosing to fund the entire project.

The Dolphins' hope is to keep the stadium an attractive destination for major events like Super Bowls - such as the game's 50th installment, to come after the 2015 season - and college football's championship games.

They plan to add about 3,600 new seats closer to the field, improved amenities and a canopy roof that would shield fans from the elements of South Florida's often-harsh weather while preserving a natural-grass playing surface.

These plans are not entirely new. When the Miami area lost in the voting to host the 2014 Super Bowl, local tourism officials were even talking then about things like more seats, better sight lines and a 621,000-square-foot roof which many then called an ``umbrella,'' perhaps still mindful of the scene in February 2007 when fans ran for cover as strong rain came down during the Indianapolis-Chicago title game.

``We have the best weather in the winter in this country,'' Ross said. ``We sometimes forget that fact.''

The notion of asking for public money comes at a particularly thorny time in South Florida, where many residents were outraged at the deal the Miami Marlins got for their new ballpark.

That $634 million facility opened last year amid great fanfare, and with the Marlins carrying a $112 million payroll. The team finished last in the NL East and dealt away a slew of its top players, including Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. The Marlins - who played at Sun Life until getting their own park - have a projected 2013 payroll of about $45.75 million.

``I would say that the only thing we can control is the way we behave and the way we act and the way we approach the partnership,'' Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said. ``We can't undo what's been done in the past, nor would it be fair for us to opine on what could have been done differently. We live here, so we're aware of the view, aware of the public backlash and we have to go about our business very carefully.

``There is a solution where everybody wins here,'' Dee added. ``There doesn't have to be a winner or a loser in every one of these transactions.''

Two of South Florida's major hotels, the Loews Miami Beach and the InterContinental Miami, released statements Monday supporting the Dolphins' plans regarding the stadium.

The Dolphins said the construction deal would result in the creation of about 4,000 jobs, bring international soccer events to the stadium regularly, and create a more comfortable environment for fans. Other amenity improvements would include better lighting and scoreboards.

The Miami Hurricanes, who play their football home games in the 25-year-old stadium, also say they are supporting the plan.

``Every day that goes by, this place gets a day older,'' Dee said. ``What's the long-term future of the Dolphins and the other tenants at this stadium if nothing is done? If we take these steps now and address these needs, we believe this can serve the anchor tenants as well as special events for another quarter-century.''

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The complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season

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The complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season

As Chase Hughes writes, it's been quite a year for the Wizards' roster due to injuries and trades. How many of these names can you list without checking?

Here's the complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards this season:

John Wall
Bradley Beal
Otto Porter Jr.
Markieff Morris
Dwight Howard
Kelly Oubre Jr.
Austin Rivers
Ian Mahinmi
Jeff Green
Tomas Satoransky
Chasson Randle
Jordan McRae
Devin Robinson
Troy Brown Jr.
Thomas Bryant
John Jenkins
Wesley Johnson
Jabari Parker
Bobby Portis
Sam Dekker
Ron Baker
Gary Payton II
Okaro White
Jason Smith
Trevor Ariza

Read more here.

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A franchise-record 25 players for the Wizards has made for an interesting year for Scott Brooks

A franchise-record 25 players for the Wizards has made for an interesting year for Scott Brooks

If it seems like the 2018-19 Washington Wizards have had a lot of different players play for them this season, well, that's because they have. This year they have set a franchise record by suiting up 25 different guys.

For some context, they had only 15 players appear in games all of last season. Eleven years ago, in the 2007-08 season, they had only 13 different guys suit up, or close to half as many as they have had this year.

The Wizards' 25 different players this season are not all that far off from the NBA record. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 2015-16 Memphis Grizzlies own that distinction with 28. That's a lot of different jerseys.

There are also two teams who have used more players than the Wizards this season alone. The Cavs have had 27 and the Grizzlies have had 26. Apparently this is Memphis' thing.

The reasons why the Wizards have reached this point are numerous. For one, they have made five trades since training camp began. If it weren't for the Feb. 7 trade deadline, they may have made more.

They, of course, have also dealt with major injuries, ones that greatly affected their plans. They lost John Wall for the season due to a torn Achilles and Dwight Howard has only played nine games so far due to a back injury.

Also, the advent and proximity of their new G-League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, has allowed them to call up players from the minors easier than before. And two-way contracts have added two players to their roster that weren't there in years past.

There were also a few months there when the Wizards did a dance with their final roster spots to save money under the pressure of the luxury tax. They signed a series of 10-day contracts and other players for weeks at a time. That brought some of the more random names to Washington like Ron Baker, Okaro White, Gary Payton II and John Jenkins.

The Wizards' front office has been busy flipping the roster upside down this season and the coaching staff has been left to sort it out. The most players head coach Scott Brooks has had on a team before is 21, back when he was with the Thunder, so this year has been a new challenge for him.

"What? Are you serious? I didn't know that," Brooks told NBC Sports Washington when informed of the franchise record. "No wonder I haven't slept this year."

The Wizards have a protocol for when new players are added. They are each given an iPad that is loaded with the playbook and film breakdowns. Coaches will meet with the players to give them a lay of the land. 

Brooks will introduce himself to all, but usually meets more extensively with those who are going to play major minutes. For those on the fringe of the roster, sometimes that introductory meeting will be handled by Dave Adkins, their director of player development.

When a player is on a 10-day contract, for instance, the transition is relatively easy. Only so much attention will be paid because they in most circumstances will rarely play

For players expected to log heavy minutes, the entire coaching staff will meet to discuss how to incorporate them. After the trades to bring in Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker and Wesley Johnson on Feb. 6, Wizards coaches met the following day for over 30 minutes to brainstorm.

On Feb. 8, as Portis, Parker and Johnson were set to debut against the Cavaliers, the Wizards modified their morning shootaround to add extensive walk-throughs of their playbook. They held seminars on both ends of the court; one for offense and one for defense. One Wizards assistant said it was basically like the first day of training camp, at that point 54 games into their season.

"Going into this year, none of us could prepare for what has happened," Brooks said. "We wouldn't want to be in this position, but we are."

"Losing one of the best players in the league [in Wall], losing one of the key components to shoring up our weaknesses in Dwight. Then, John's second surgery has kind of made this a very unique year in that regard. With all the new players, it has definitely been challenging for me and my coaching staff and the guys that have been here."

Through the ups and the downs of the season, many more of the latter, Brooks has found some joy in the process. The players they have brought in on 10-day contracts and through call-ups from the G-League have taken him back to his own days as a player, when he battled as an undrafted guy to last 10 years in the NBA.

Chasson Randle, in particular, has charted a relatable path. The point guard began the season on a non-guaranteed contract, but in January had his deal guaranteed for the rest of the season.

That was an important step in his NBA career and Brooks remembers what that was like for him.

"That is one of the most enjoyable moments in coaching for me this year, having those guys, because I know that I was in that position, trying to battle and trying to achieve a lofty, lifelong dream," Brooks said. 

"We've had that with Chase. He's made himself into a pretty good player in this league. Hopefully, he's able to stick for a long, long time because he deserves it. He's as professional as anybody I've ever been around with his approach, his enthusiasm with an role that you will give him. To see that is awesome."

So, he knows Randle's name. Could Brooks name all 25 of the Wizards' players this season?

"No. It would take me a while. Sometimes I have trouble naming the 15 we have at the moment," he said. "I didn't realize 25, wow."

Click here for the entire list of players who have suited up for the Wizards this season.

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