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If the Knicks miss out on Kyrie Irving, could they target Bradley Beal?

If the Knicks miss out on Kyrie Irving, could they target Bradley Beal?

The Knicks' plans to court Kyrie Irving may be thwarted by the other team in their city. New reporting by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski links the Celtics free agent with the Brooklyn Nets.

If Irving did choose the Nets over his other summer suitors, that would leave a hole in the Knicks' plans to bring in multiple stars with the hope of contending for a title next season. 

None of this would concern the Wizards unless the Knicks decided to hunt for an alternative star guard on the trade market, which could lead them to Bradley Beal. 

Consider this bit of prescient analysis, from NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig several weeks ago. 

New York likely would want to wait for Kevin Durant to sign in free agency as the long-running rumors suggest. Then the question is who gets the second max slot.

Kyrie Irving? Certainly possible. We know the Celtics are out. One source said don't sleep on the Nets getting involved.

Kemba Walker is a New York native. The All-NBA candidate is also someone the Hornets might do whatever it costs to keep.

There's also Beal, who would make a great fit next to a fellow perimeter threat in Durant.

The Knicks' assets include the third pick in 2019, which is a projected tier above the fourth slot since it means landing no less than Duke guard RJ Barrett. New York also has impressive rookie center Mitchell Robinson, point guard Dennis Smith and an unprotected first-round pick from Dallas that projects to convey in 2021.

If the Knicks decline to part with Robinson and three, the Wizards would have to consider Barrett, the top recruit in the 2018 class and Duke's leading scorer, a future All-Star. They might.

Beal—who did not make the All-NBA teams despite averaging 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists this season—would make an attractive option for any team seeking a guard who's both a bonafide star and still has room to grow. 

But why would Washington even consider moving a home-grown talent like Beal when they're not faced with the spectre of paying him a supermax contract?

If the Wizards believe they are multiple years away from contending for a title, Beal's prime might not be as valuable to them as it would be to a team that's going for broke next season. 

And, in turn, a rookie's development might line up better with the timeline of the Wizards' rebuild. Especially if that rookie is a near-certain star like Barrett. 

How such a trade would happen is complicated by Washington's front-office vacancy. Interim president Tommy Sheppard has filled in for Ernie Grunfeld since his dismissal and is likely to make decisions for the team on draft night

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Thomas Bryant's game-winner came on a play Scott Brooks once used to beat the Wizards

Thomas Bryant's game-winner came on a play Scott Brooks once used to beat the Wizards

The Wizards won their game in London against the Knicks Thursday in bizarre fashion, the game-winner coming via a goaltending call on a Thomas Bryant shot attempt in the paint.

And according to Bradley Beal, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks has called the play Bryant "scored" on before...to beat the Wizards in 2015. 

"It's crazy. I remember Coach drew that up against us when he was in OKC," Beal told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller. 

On Jan. 21, 2015, when Brooks was still the head coach of the Thunder, Russell Westbrook scored a layup with one second left in overtime to give Oklahoma City a 105-103 victory over Washington. 

(Watch the video above to see a side-by-side comparison of Westbrook's basket and Bryant's game-winner.)

Fast forward to Jan. 17, 2019, and the play succeeded again, but this time for the Wizards. However, it went quite differently the second time around. 

"Russ started (in the backcourt), got a full head of steam on me and laid the ball up to win the game," Beal said. "And it was pretty much the same situation, but I ended up slipping. And I just thank God (Bryant) actually played the game of basketball and rolled to the basket. And I just had to trust him to be able to make the right play."

And even though the ball didn't go through the hoop, Bryant ultimately made the right play to give the Wizards a hard-fought, comeback win across the pond.

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NBA London Game 2019 Wizards vs. Knicks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

NBA London Game 2019 Wizards vs. Knicks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards have traveled across the pond and will take on the New York Knicks in London, England Thursday (3 pm, NBC Sports Washington) as part of the NBA Global Games slate. 

Washington has brought some momentum with it on its journey to the United Kingdom, the Wizards winning five of their last eight. 

The Knicks, meanwhile, have lost three straight, and are just a game and a half above the basement-dwelling Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference standings.

Here's is what you need to know for Thursday's game.

WIZARDS vs. KNICKS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks, Game 45 of the 2018-19 NBA season
Where: The 02 Arena, London, England
When: 3:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Knicks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Knicks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the new MyTeams App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. KNICKS TV SCHEDULE

2:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
2:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)
3:00 PM: New York Knicks @ Wizards (LIVE)
5:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)
6:00 PM:Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. KNICKS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Dwight Howard (Back, Out), Markieff Morris (Neck, Out), John Wall (Heel, Out)
Knicks: Tim Hardaway Jr. (Hamstring, Day-to-day), Mitchell Robinson (Ankle, Day-to-day), Enes Kanter (Personal reasons, Out), Kristaps Porzingis (Knee, Out)

WIZARDS vs. KNICKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, Wizards: With John Wall out for the season, Beal has played like a true superstar, averaging almost 30 points per contest in his last eight games. Can he put on a show for the London crowd Thursday? 
Emmanuel Mudiay, Knicks: Mudiay has been a bright spot for the Knicks during a troublesome season. The 22-year old is scoring a career-high 14.5 points per game, second on the team only to Tim Hardaway Jr.'s 19.8.

WIZARDS vs. KNICKS SERIES HISTORY

Number of all-time Meetings: 335 games (36 playoff games)
Regular Season Record: Knicks lead 169-130
Playoff Record: Knicks lead 23-13
Last Meeting: Wizards win 110-107 on 12/3/18
Last 10: Wizards lead 9-1

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