Following the jettisoning of Andray Blatche, the keeping of Cartier Martin and the adding A.J. Price, the Wizards essentially have 13 roster spoken for with 1-2 slots remaining. Roger Mason has now signed elsewhere. James Singleton is apparently not open to signing for what Washington is offering(that could be money and playing time). However, at least two NBA free agents are mentioned as possible slot fillers. We start in the frontcourt with Anthony Tolliver. Reports have the Wizards, Lakers, Bulls and Cavaliers interested in the 6-foot-8 forward tweener forward who spent the past two seasons playing for the Timberwolves. Well, he spent much of the past two seasons getting caught up in a numbers game with theTimberwolves as Minnesota looked for ways to keep Kevin Love on the court (duh), but also several recent first rounders or veteran types. Sound familiar?After averaging 32 minutes during his breakout 2009-10 season with the Warriors, Tolliver received 17 last season, averaging 4.1 points and 3.0 rebounds (dealing with a wrist injury that kept him out for 30 games didn't help his cause). In an interview with the Springfield News-Leader posted this week, the 27-year-old is looking to avoid a similar situation.Sure, the money is important, but I know this time around Im not looking to lock myself in for a whole bunch of years, he said. Right now, Im looking at probably a shorter-term contract, something that gives me a chance to get with a team, play one or two years and show what I can do.Tolliver's got game and a worker bee attitude. Since one of the Wizards remaining free agent forwards is reportedly out on a return to D.C., in theory there is space and if Tolliver wants the gig, that's not a bad way to go for the locals. Then again, it's already a touch hard to figure out how the Wizards will find minutes for all of their recent first rounders and veteran types. Forget rumors: Free agent guard Jodie Meeks, formally of the 76ers, flat outtold Hoopsworld.comthe Wizards are among the teams coming hard at him.Ive gotten interest from the Lakers, Bucks and Wizards, Meeks told Hoopsworld. There are five or six teams, but those three are at the forefront right now because Ive been talking to them the most. I really like those teams and I like what they bring to the table. Im looking forward to signing, whenever that may be.Again, the 24-year-old Meeks is a solid player, has experience (114 NBA starts) and decent touch from distance (36.5 percent from beyond the arc last season).In a pie in the sky in the world, sure bring him on, especially when the Wizards openly talking about a playoff push.But with the sense the Wizards are not offering much more right now to entice free agents - and Meeks is one of the better ones left available - just seems unlikely the former Kentucky product would post here. I also wonder whether the Wizards would want to muck up the off-guard mix by adding another viable option while trying to find hefty minutes for Jordan Crawford and Bradley Beal (plus Martin will see minutes as well). Summer leaguer and training camp invite Steven Gray has the makings of a realistic sixth guard, as it were.What say you. Tolliver? Meeks? Bueller...Bueller??Ben Standig blogs about the Redskins, Wizards, Hoyas and the D.C.area college basketball scene for CSNwashington. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter @BenStandig and catch his musings at the D.C. Sportalist.
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
MORE WIZARDS NEWS:
The Wizards enter Thursday's matchup with the New York Knicks, set for 3 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington, with several factors working in their favor. For one, they have been playing quite well lately and have some momentum. Also, they are facing the Knicks, whom they have dominated for years, winning 17 of 19 meetings going back to 2013.
It's also technically a home game and the Wizards have been much better in those (13-8) than they have in road games. The problem is that this game is not actually at home, it's in London, England where many of the advantages the Wizards would otherwise hold are out the window.
The Wizards' recent upswing of five wins in eight games, all since it was revealed John Wall will miss the rest of the season due to left heel surgery, will be put to the test due to an unorthodox schedule. They last played on Sunday, a two-overtime loss to the Raptors, meaning they will have three off-days in between games.
They have only had three days off in between games one other time this season and that wasn't disrupted by a 3,700-mile flight across the world. They will also be dealing with a five-hour time change that was compounded by a seven-hour flight.
This game will be the only one for the Wizards across a stretch of seven days. After playing the Knicks on Thursday, they return home to see the Pistons on Monday, Jan. 21. They then have two more off-days before hosting the Warriors on Thursday. Staying sharp through all of this could be a challenge.
The fact the Wizards have to burn a home game is not ideal, given they are so much better in Washington than elsewhere. The same factors road games provide like travel and hotel rooms will still apply. The crowd could also be neutral or even pro-Knicks, removing what is usually a benefit of playing at Capital One Arena.
Several things should still work in the Wizards' favor, however. Not only have they owned the Knicks in recent years, but they won't have to face Enes Kanter, who did not travel with the team due to a dispute with the Turkish government. He has been particularly good against the Wizards this season with averages of 14.0 points and 15.5 rebounds per game.
Tim Hardaway Jr. (hamstring) and Mitchel Robinson (groin) are also banged up and did not play in the Knicks' last game on Sunday, a loss to the Sixers.
The Wizards also have a host of guys playing their best basketball of the season. Bradley Beal is looking like an All-Star with averages of 29.8 points (41.4 3PT%), 6.6 assists and 5.3 rebounds during the Wizards' eight-game surge.
Otto Porter Jr. has averaged 16.0 points while shooting 45.7 percent from three during that stretch and Trevor Ariza hasn't been far behind with 15.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.
The Wizards are fifth in the NBA in scoring (119.8), eighth in offensive rating (113.9) and 11th in defensive rating (109.4) in their past eight games. They are third in threes made per game (13.5) and seventh in three-point percentage (39.3).
Washington has reached a new level in recent weeks. Now they just have to keep it going despite all the unusual factors at play. They have a unique opportunity to represent the NBA on the global stage. Getting a win would make it all that much better.
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