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Bradley Beal on Kevin Durant and Wizards: 'I didn't think he was going to come here'

Bradley Beal on Kevin Durant and Wizards: 'I didn't think he was going to come here'

Before Kevin Durant chose to sign with the Golden State Warriors over the summer, speculation for years tied him to the Washington Wizards, his hometown team and a franchise that had built itself a playoff roster centered around two young stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal. Durant not only declined the Wizards in free agency, he never even met with them.

The whole process came as a surprise to many fans and media members, but Beal himself said it wasn't surprising at all. The Wizards' star looked back on the KD-to-DC saga after Monday's practice at the Verizon Center, one day before Washington was set to host Durant and his first place Warriors [6:30 p.m. on CSN].

"Me personally, I didn't think he was going to come here. That was just my personal opinion, from the very beginning," Beal explained. "I don't know. I guess, being at home with his family here, he probably has a million family members here, it's probably just like extra stuff on your conscience. Just stuff on his conscience that he doesn't need and a lot of that factored into his decision. It's probably tough to play at home, it probably is. But I don't know, at the end of the day he plays with Golden State. I didn't really view it as they were trying to lure KD by hiring Coach [Scott] Brooks or anything like that. Coach Brooks is one of the best coaches that didn't have a job last year. We took full advantage of it and we love where we're at."

Beal said he paid attention to the Wizards' courtship of Durant in part because he was looking out for himself. Beal earned a five-year, $128 million extension with the Wizards and for years had paid close attention to their salary cap situation.

MORE WIZARDS: 100 point streak stopped against Jazz

"Now I don't because my deal is done. I'm good," he joked.

So, when Beal saw Durant sign with Golden State, he wasn't necessarily surprised that the Wizards were overlooked. But Beal was taken aback by Durant's final decision, to leave Oklahoma City for the Warriors, a team he had just recently lost to in the playoffs.

"I didn't like it because I felt like, as a team they beat you so going back to them was a little weird to me. But it is what it is, he made his decision and at the end of the day nobody can change that. He's comfortable. He's happy, he's a grown man and he can make whatever decision that he wants to. But I don't think it was good," Beal said.

The rumors and speculation tying Durant to the Wizards are no longer, making his return to D.C. on Tuesday night less of an event as it would have been just one year ago. Beal, for one, thinks that is a good thing.

"KD's not with us and I think our fans can finally dead that idea for now," he said.

Durant moved on and so have the Wizards.

RELATED: Wizards complain of lack of free throws after loss to Jazz

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Why (and how) your NBA Cares Community Assist Award vote should go to Bradley Beal


Why (and how) your NBA Cares Community Assist Award vote should go to Bradley Beal

Voting has officially begun for the season-long NBA Community Assist Award, and Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal is a finalist. 

Chosen by fans and an NBA executive panel, the award honors a player’s strong commitment to positively impacting his community through sustained efforts over the course of the season.

In December, Beal visited Ron Brown College Preparatory High school in D.C. to give away two pairs of shoes to every member of the JV and varsity basketball teams.

It didn't stop there. Beal took his role as a mentor to the next level by checking in with the kids multiple times a month to make sure they are on the right track in both athletics and their academic studies.

Later on in February, Beal invited 10 students from RBHS on a private tour of the National African-American History and Culture Museum.

The seven-year NBA veteran also made a point to donate game tickets to community groups and toys to the Salvation Army during the holiday season. 

Here's some key information about the voting process: 

  1. Voting begins: Wednesday, April 24th at 12:01 p.m.
  2. Voting ends: Sunday, May 5th at 11:59 p.m.
  3. How does voting work? Through the above date range, every tweet posted using both of the hashtags #BradleyBeal and #NBACommunityAssist counts as one vote.
  4. Retweets of tweets using the above hashtags also count as one vote

This all comes following another All-Star season that saw the 25-year-old finish with career-highs in points (25.6), rebounds (5.0), and assists (5.5). He played in all 82 regular-season games. 

The winning player will receive $25,000 to their charity of choice, a donation from the NBA and Kaiser Permanente.


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The next Damian Lillard will be drafted this June, Ja Morant

The next Damian Lillard will be drafted this June, Ja Morant

On Tuesday night, Portland guard Damian Lillard broke #NBATwitter with his 37-foot, series-clinching buzzer-beater against Oklahoma City. 

It's not the first time we've seen him do that, but it's by far the biggest impact his play has had on the NBA world to this point.

Fair or not, Lillard's image has always been the overlooked underdog.  Even after being named All-NBA First Team last season, it's rare you hear his name mentioned among the NBA's most popular players. 

That attitude is what fuels the Portland Trail Blazers though. It's what the entire roster uses as motivation every game. It's a mindset every team in the NBA should be emulating too, and it starts with their star. 

If you're an organization in the middle of a rebuild, you should be looking no further than Ja Morant if you want this same organizational mindset going forward.

Ja Morant is the next Dame Lillard.

Ja Morant is going to be a star. 

The Wizards are one of those teams, and with the NBA Draft Lottery coming May 14, if the ping pong balls land in their favor, Morant needs to be their pick at No. 2 in the NBA Draft.

Don't worry about any other point guards on the roster and what that means. Don't pass on Morant.

Obviously, No. 1 would mean Zion Williamson, and anything past No. 2 means both are probably off the board, so we'll stick with that No. 2 pick in this case.

Both Lillard and Morant come from small schools in Weber State and Murray State, respectively. Both were under-recruited with Lillard being just a two-star and Morant not even being ranked by recruiting services ESPN, 247Sports, or Rivals.

Lillard was the better three-point shooter coming out of college, but Morant still has range, and can jump out of the gym.

Neither has a ton of size (Lillard 6-2, 185 lbs., and Morant 6-3, 175), but both aren't scared of the spotlight, and step on the court ready to eat the other team alive.

In a star-driven league based so much around player's brands and recognizability, there's something to be said for the guys that have the talent, but haven't been given the stage to show it yet. You get that combination of "chip on their shoulder" mentality with the star potential and work ethic biggy backing it. 

One of the best movie lines ever spoken was in Remember the Titans when Julius tells Gerry "attitude reflects leadership", and it's a mantra any successful team, business, volunteer group, club, or literally any collection of people should follow. 

If you want the right attitude in your locker room, you want leaders that can create it. 

Morant and Lillard share that same leadership, and the results are there to prove it.