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Bradley Beal turned down 3-point contest after not making All-Star Game

Bradley Beal turned down 3-point contest after not making All-Star Game

The only reason the Wizards don't have a player in the three-point shootout during All-Star weekend is because Bradley Beal rejected an invitation from the league when he didn't make the cut as a reserve for the Eastern Conference All-Star team, the shooting guard told CSNmidatlantic.com on Friday. 

"I feel like if I'm going to be part of the weekend, I want to be an All-Star," said Beal, who is averaging a career-high 22 points and shooting 39 percent from three-point range. His teammate Otto Porter shoots an NBA-high 46.3 percent.

"It wasn't easy turning down. I will say that because I did want to do it. I want to be able to earn everything," Beal said.

Porter told CSN that he didn't receive an invite.

Beal came in second place to Marco Belinelli three years ago in the shootout. He didn’t make the All-Star reserves when coaches’ voting was announced. They chose an East roster that’s heavy on point guards with teammate John Wall, Kyle Lowry, Isaiah Thomas and Kemba Walker behind starter Kyrie Irving. DeMar DeRozan is the only true two-guard selection.

[RELATED: 2017 NBA All-Star Game: Russell Westbrook, John Wall headline list of reserves]

Instead, Beal, who decided Thursday not to participate, will be using the time to recuperate. If he plays in Saturday's game vs. the  New Orleans Pelicans and the next five after that, Beal will have appeared in 51 games going into the break for the Feb. 19 game. He only played in a career-low 55 last season that was marred by a stress reaction in his lower right leg and a minutes restriction. 

Beal has avoided a recurrence of a stress reaction in his lower right leg that has plagued him. He is averaging 34.2 minutes per game which is near a career-high, but coach Scott Brooks has managed his down time and practices to preserve him. 

Beal sat out one game with an ankle sprain and three because of a hamstring strain earlier in the season but has been durable otherwise as a new medical protocol was put in by the organization to prevent the overuse injury that happened in each of his first four seasons under then-coach Randy Wittman. 

"Everything is good. I want to just rest and use the break to my advantage," Beal said. "All-Star is hectic running all over the place. I just want to relax my body. It's precautionary. I'm might go out of town, probably go home (to St. Louis) to see my family." 

When Brooks was hired this summer, the Wizards also revamped the medical staff to focus on more preventive measures following an injury-plauged 2015-16. 

"We are always in constant communciation with our medical team along with Brad," Brooks said. "The staff has done a great job of monitoring guys' minutes in practice and shootarounds, free practice minutes, the game minutes. That's my job. He's right at 34. That's a good number for him."

[RELATED: NBA All-Star 2017: Dunk contest, 3-point, skills challenge fields announced]

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Natasha Cloud is tired of the Bradley Beal trade rumors

Natasha Cloud is tired of the Bradley Beal trade rumors

Mystics guard Natasha Cloud has had it up to here with trade rumors about Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

Beal has been a strong vocal supporter of the Mystics and the WNBA, in general. He works closely with Kristi Toliver, who, in her offseason, works as an assistant coach for the Wizards. His closeness with the Mystics has now manifested itself in Cloud voicing her opposition to Beal being traded on Twitter.

Beal is no stranger to trade rumors. Entering his eighth season, Beal has been connected to the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, among others. Given that his name is frequently tossed around in trade talks, it should come as no surprise that the Clippers made a run at him to pair with Kawhi Leonard.

Despite the frequent and recurring rumors, Beal hasn't been traded, and very likely won't be traded. He's a star and a legitimate piece around which to build a franchise. At the summer league in Las Vegas, NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes sat with Shaquille O'Neal to discuss what the Wizards should do in free agency. Shaq said that between Beal and John Wall, the Wizards are just a piece or two from breaking through.

I definitely think [the Wizards] should keep him. He's a great shooter, but if he’s a great shooter looking to go somewhere, L.A. has $32 million [in cap space]. ... He's definitely the cornerstone of this franchise. He and John Wall have always, almost always, been there. They just need another one or two guys.

It's still unlikely that Beal is playing in anything other than a Wizards uniform on opening night, but if he is, expect to hear from Cloud about it. 

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Drew Gooden, Justin Kutcher to highlight NBC Sports Washington Wizards broadcast team

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Drew Gooden, Justin Kutcher to highlight NBC Sports Washington Wizards broadcast team

Drew Gooden was nearing the end of his second 10-day contract with the Wizards in the 2014 season when he went off for 21 points against Brooklyn. 

It was a game that changed his career, led to being signed to the team for the remainder of that season and ending his career as a Washington Wizard two years later. “My career was totally reborn as a veteran leader on the Washington Wizards,” he said. “And that’s something I never would have thought would come full circle.”

And now? Gooden will serve as the game analyst on NBC Sports Washington’s Wizards broadcast this season. NBC Sports Washington announced on Wednesday he will join new play-by-play announcer Justin Kutcher as part of the Wizards' game broadcast team. Chris Miller will return in his role as sideline reporter.

“It’s a dream and I never thought in a million years I would have retired a Wizard and that out of all my teams that I played for, that Wizards would be the favorite organization that I played for, never thought I would be a color analyst for NBC Sports Washington,” Gooden said. “All of this is a dream.”

And while Kutcher may not have the same playing resume that Gooden does, he promises to bring the same passion Gooden does to broadcasts.

During the early days of his career, Kutcher wasn’t just the voice of (and practice player for) the Boston University women’s basketball team. He was such a passionate fan that he was the one making the most noise on the team bus after a big win or a big loss. Now, after decades in the business, he’s not sure he’ll go to that extreme – but Wizards fans can expect him to be “a fan who’s calling the game,” he said. “I say that about myself all of the time. I think of myself as just this incredibly lucky person that gets to call a sport that I love. When I have a reaction, it’s a genuine reaction. So, I’ll keep everything professional, but I’ll get excited.”

Kutcher has 17 years of experience as a play-by-play announcer, having spent the last seven years at Fox Sports where he led national coverage of NCAA basketball and football, the NFL and MLB. Prior to FOX Sports, Kutcher served as a play-by-play announcer for ESPN for four years. During that time, he led live coverage for a variety of sports, including basketball, football, baseball, softball, volleyball and hockey, across professional, college and high school leagues and conferences. He also appeared on studio shows during his tenure with ESPN. In addition to FOX Sports and ESPN, he has also called collegiate events for CSTV, now CBS Sports Network, for two years, as well as BTN, and contributed to MLB.com digital programming.

“I have known Justin since he was a runner for us at FOX Sports,” said Joe Buck. “He’s gone from working hard behind the scenes to one of the best, young voices in sports. Wizards fans are getting a great broadcaster and a better person .”

Here’s five more fun facts about Kutcher and Gooden.

1.    Kutcher’s worked the past five Westminster Dog Shows. “I get more ticket requests for that than any other event I go to,” he said. But, at first he wasn’t sure he was going to stick with it. The first year, he said, was a little tough. “I called my dad after it airs and he said that it was my mom’s favorite thing that I’ve done.” But, he stuck with it. And now? “I love it,” he said. 
2.    His favorite thing in DC is … the breakfast at Ted’s Bulletin. “They have a breakfast burrito that I get, I eat two of them at a time and people can’t believe it,” he said. Oh, and also his family. His family in the area includes a 3-year-old nephew, who when asked for real estate recommendations in the area, declared “you can live at our house!”
3.    Meanwhile, you can find Gooden at his favorite crab shack. “Quarterdeck in Arlington is my favorite, favorite restaurant,” he said. In the two years he’s known about the crab spot, he’s eaten there, he estimates, “800” times. 
4.    Good news for Wizards fans: He thinks the Wizards will be a team everyone sleeps on – and that’s great for them. “They’re going to have the opportunity to surprise a lot of people early,” he predicted. 
5.    Kutcher expects Rui Hachimura to … “be one of the steals of the draft.” Kutcher covered the new Wizard as a play-by-play announcer during Hachimura’s college career. “I would not be surprised if you see Rui average 15-18 points per game and close to 8 rebounds per game. I think he’s that type of player, he’s a really good kid, when I saw the Wizards drafted him I said that’s a great, great pick,” he said.