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Best remaining free agent options for Wizards

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Best remaining free agent options for Wizards

Four wild days of NBA free agency are in the books. Most of the biggest targets are now in new homes (LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe) or stayed put (Dwyane Wade, Kevin Love, Kawhi Leonard) or remain waiting just cause (LeBron James, Marc Gasol). Notables from the other tiers are now off the table, including upside big men (Brandan Wright), steady veterans (Mike Dunleavy Jr.,), shooters (Marco Belinelli), floor leaders (C.J. Watson) and lottery tickets (Thomas Robinson). 

Yet viable free agents remain. Here's a look at the best remaining targets with the Wizards in mind (so no James, Gasol or Tristan Thompson), but first:

  • As of Sunday morning the Wizard's depth chart includes 13 players. Logic suggests at one of those spots goes for a tall player seeing as they haven't replaced either Drew Gooden or Kevin Seraphin. There is some reason to think the replacement might be the actual Gooden (stretch-4, rebounder, locker room plus) and perhaps even the real Seraphin

  • The Wizards don't have to fill out the entire roster now. Last season they kept space open heading into training camp and Rasual Butler grabbed the opportunity. Perhaps former Maryland guard and undrafted rookie Dez Wells becomes this year's 15th man. One report suggests they might target a big man and a wing sooner than later.

  • Four remain off the initial of 10 names to watch for the Wizards, a group that included Jared Dudley and Gary Neal. However, Omri Casspi and Mirza Teletovic are stretch-4 types and Washington already acquired Dudley. Jason Richardson could become an interesting veteran scorer off the bench, but that also describes Neal. The final name, Luc Mbah a Moute, could work as a defender/combo forward, but at 6-foot-8 he doesn't have rim protector size.

  • Power forward David West reportedly remains a target for the Wizards, Spurs and Cavaliers. The ex-Pacer's best hope for playing time might be in San Antonio even with the Aldridge signing. Of the three, Cleveland has the clearest path to the NBA Finals. Washington can in theory pay the highest salary thanks to the mid-level exception. His mid-range is on point and West's veteran presence would offset the loss of Paul Pierce. Still hard seeing how he fits with Nene, but he would help.

  • Guard Rodney Stuckey, forward Josh Smith, bench scorer J.R. Smith, power forward Darrell Arthur, athletic swingman Gerald Green, wing shooters Dorell Wright and Wayne Ellington are among the other top names seemingly in play for just about any team.

- Stuckey would become Washington's third guard and second unit go-to scorer. Again, it would seem this ship has sailed after the Neal signing. Same goes for Wright and Ellington.

- Neither of the talented, but super frustrating and high volume shooting Smith's can be considered seriously for coach Randy Wittman. On some level, same goes for Toronto's Lou Williams. Chemistry concerns exist with the reigning NBA sixth-man of the year. 

- Arthur is a physical presence inside, albeit undersized to play heavy minutes at center. This might not be an issue for Washington if they view Nene as Gortat's primary backup.

- Green is a fan favorite thanks to his dunking prowess, though his game has evolved beyond just plays above the rim. Solid scorer and 3-point shooter who averaged 20 minutes a game last season. Hard seeing how he gets that kind of run with the Wizards unless the team see Dudley purely as a 4-man and wants another small forward to pair with Otto Porter. Wright (38% 3pt shooter) could also enter this discussion.

  • If you notice, no real centers mentioned so far. Seraphin is arguably the top option left now that Kousta Koufas (Sacramento) and Bismack Biyombo (Toronto) signed with new teams. Ample playing time doesn't exist in Washington on the surface. Yet the same thing was said for Seraphin going into last year and he tied John Wall for second in games played (79). Though not a shot blocker, he can certainly score and would be the only true 4/5 in the rotation under 30. Perhaps both sides agree that a one-year deal serves all needs. Seraphin's side probably wants to hear from center needy teams like the Clippers before making a move.

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

On Thursday the NBA revealed the All-NBA teams for the 2017-18 season.

Not surprisingly, Bradley Beal and John Wall did not make it to one of the three five-player teams. Of the two superstars, only Wall has been recognized once in his career.

What is surprising is that neither Beal nor Wall received a single vote in the whole process, especially Beal.

The 2017-18 season was without question the best in Beal’s career. He played in all 82 games, coming right off of the heals of his All-Star recognition. Beal seems to agree in his snubbing, tweeting this minutes after the teams were announced:

Looking at the list of players who made the top three teams, it shouldn’t be an issue, but these three guys got more votes than the Wizards' duo combined: Steven Adams, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard. It is not surprising that Beal and Wall did not make an All-NBA team. It is odd that Beal didn’t receive a vote.

Here is a list of the full All-NBA Teams:

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM: 

LeBron James (Cavaliers), James Harden (Rockets), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Kevin Durant (Warriors)

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM:

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Joel Embiid (76ers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM:

Stephen Curry (Warriors), Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves), Paul George (Thunder)

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