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Changes to NBA All-Star voting could help Wizards

Changes to NBA All-Star voting could help Wizards

NBA All-Star voting is changing, and that could be good news for Wizards stars John Wall and Bradley Beal.

The league announced that All-Star voting would no longer be exclusively by fans. While fans will still account for 50 percent of the vote, 25 percent will go to current players and the other 25 percent to media members. 

Here's how player and media voting will work, according to the NBA press release. 

Players and media will be able to complete one full ballot, featuring three frontcourt players and two guards from both the Eastern and Western Conference.  Players may vote for their teammates or themselves.

The move should help temper the popularity contest phenomenon, which can give players with higher Q ratings a roster spot over others who may deserve it more. Though a different kind of popularity contest is at play among players voting for themselves and their peers. 

Even in the unlikely scenario that most players just voted for themselves and favorite teammates, fan and media votes should ensure a somewhat objective outcome. 

These changes ahead of 2017 All-Star Weekend could end up benefiting players like Wall and Beal, who are having great seasons but can't get as many eyeballs guards like Kyrie Irving. 

First off, Cavs players will benefit from 25 nationally televised games, while fans outside of Washington will only see the Wizards on national TV five times. Then there's marketing money.

That Irving has his own Nike shoe and appears in lots of commercials doesn't necessarily make him better than other players, but he's certainly more visible.  

Writers and fellow players, in theory, could provide a better informed opinion of where the league's real quality lies, regardless of TV reach or marketing budget. 

Increased objectivity is good news for Wall, who's putting up career numbers. He's averaging 23.7 points, 9.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds in the first 25 games of the year. But he's already been an All-Star three times. 

The change could make a bigger difference for Beal, who's never made an All-Star team but is currently 6th in points per game among Eastern Conference guards and trending upwards. 

MORE WIZARDS: Morning tip: Wizards give Beal last shot

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Neil Olshey signs extension with Trail Blazers, off the table for Wizards job

Neil Olshey signs extension with Trail Blazers, off the table for Wizards job

After Tim Connelly decided to re-join the Nuggets rather than take the Wizards' vacant front-office position, Washington has been forced back to the drawing board.

The Wizards have interviewed Thunder assistant general manager Troy Weaver, former Hawks general manager Danny Ferry and Wizards interim team president Tommy Sheppard.

In addition to those names, NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig reported the team could have interest in Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. 

That option was eliminated Friday when Olshey signed an extension to remain with Portland. 

With Connelly and Olshey off the table, there are fewer high-profile candidates left for the Wizards to consider as replacements for Ernie Grunfeld. 

Standig noted that Warriors assistant general manager Larry Harris could also draw interest from Washington. 

The franchise is running out of time to find their new front-office leader with less than a month remaining before the NBA Draft. 

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NBA, NBAPA agree to move up start of free agency by six hours

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NBA, NBAPA agree to move up start of free agency by six hours

The Woj bombs are gonna start dropping a little earlier this year. 

The NBA and the NBA Players Association announced Friday that the two parties have agreed to move up the start of free agency by six hours. Teams can now begin negotiating with free agents at 6 p.m. ET on June 30 instead of having to wait until 12:01 ET on July 1. 

The move ensures fans -- and eternally grateful media members -- don't have to stay up until midnight waiting for the madness that is NBA free agency to begin. As Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports put it, this is "quite possibly the best thing to happen with NBA free agency in years!" 

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