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Ian Mahinmi makes Wizards debut in loss to Spurs

Ian Mahinmi makes Wizards debut in loss to Spurs

It took a month into the Wizards' season, but on Saturday night head coach Scott Brooks finally had a full alotment of players, a healthy roster complete with each addition the franchise made this offseason. Their biggest signing, Ian Mahinmi, was the final piece. After rehabbing a partially torn left meniscus for six weeks, he returned to the court on Saturday to face the San Antonio Spurs.

The game itself was one the Wizards will not look back fondly on. They lost 112-100 at home and fell to 5-10 on the season. But they have Mahinmi back and that should improve their team, most notably their second unit defense, moving forward.

"We're happy for him," shooting guard Bradley Beal said. "He's done a terrific job in rehabbing and he worked his tail off to get back on the floor. It's always a good sign for him and a good sign of confidence for the team knowing that he's back and that he worked his way back into it. Once he gets back into game shape and can go full-throttle, it will be good for us."

Getting into better shape is the key, naturally, for a guy who now has to catch up to the rest of the league that is in midseason form. He missed 14 games and looked like it at times during his 14:05 minutes on the court. 

Mahinmi scored one point, blocked one shot and had three fouls in the loss. He took just one shot and registered a -11 rating.

“I knew going into this game that he was going to be rusty, and he was, but he gave us good effort," Brooks said. "It’s going to take him some time. I’m very patient and he understands that we all are. But I like what he brings to our team. He’s a tough player and he just brings a good fiber to our team. I thought tonight’s game, at times he looked good [and] at times he looked rusty. That’s expected."

Mahinmi himself is hopeful it won't take him long to get up to speed. He has already rehabbed for six weeks after having surgery on Oct. 15.

"I'm optimistic. I'm an optimistic guy. I'm just not happy with the result," Mahinmi said. "But I'm looking at the big picture and I just want to play the right way. I want to play the right way. I want to take steps forward. I don't want to take a step back. Tomorrow I will come in and do my work and look at the stuff that we can improve and the stuff that I can improve and move forward."

Mahinmi, who signed a four-year deal worth $64 million in free agency this offseason, said he knew he would be able to return Saturday earlier in the week after feeling good in consecutive practices. The Wizards picked Saturday night, the second game of a back-to-back, to prevent him from playing two straight days right off the bat.

It was a tough assignment, playing against the Spurs in his first game back. San Antonio (14-3) took over in the second quarter and cruised to the victory.

It wasn't a great night for the team overall, but for Mahinmi it was an important one.

"My left knee is pretty good. That's about the only positive point," he said.

[RELATED: Takeaways from the Wizards' double-digit loss to Spurs]

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NBA Rumors: Davis Bertans trade inquiries have reportedly gone nowhere as deadline nears

NBA Rumors: Davis Bertans trade inquiries have reportedly gone nowhere as deadline nears

There's been no shortage of teams who've expressed interest in Wizards forward Davis Bertans, but it appears many attempts to trade for the Latvian sharpshooter have been rebuffed by Washington's front office. 

According to Chris Mannix, several Davis Bertans trade inquiries have gone nowhere. In those conversations, executives told Mannix that the Wizards wouldn't even discuss a deal. 

Bertans is making $7 million this season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Wizards have unlocked the sniper's full offensive potential after three seasons in San Antonio. He's averaging career-highs in minutes (29.2), points (15.3), rebounds (4.6), field goal attempts (11.4) and three-point attempts (8.7). 

Bertans' break out season has resulted in a number of contenders expressing interest in his services. Based on a report by Chase Hughes earlier this month, the Celtics, Sixers, Lakers and Nuggets have all emerged as potential suitors. 

 

The Wizards remain consistent on their intention to keep Bertans past the trade deadline even if that may mean losing him in free agency. While the Wizards may be in the midst of a rebuild this year, Bertans is a better fit for John Wall and Bradley Beal's contention window. 

The key with Bertans this summer is his bird rights. Bird rights allow a team to re-sign a player to any amount without using cap space. After the spending-spree that was the 2019 free agency period, there are about seven teams who could realistically create enough cap space to give Bertans the $12-15 million salary Berants is believed to fetch. The Hawks, Hornets, Cavs, Grizzlies, Knicks, Suns and Trail Blazers. 

Whoever has Bertans on their team at the end of the year will naturally be able to outbid any team on a contract offer since they won't have to use cap space to retain him. That's probably why Mannix believes the Wizards can get at least a first round pick for Bertans and why Tom Haberstroh thinks the Wizards' asking price might be too high to get a deal done. 

Contenders can get desperate at the deadline though, especially for the kind of shooting and bench scoring a player like Bertans can provide. If the Wizards are comfortable keeping Bertans and dealing with the uncertainty of free agency, they can sit back and wait for a team to offer everything they want and more. 

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Wizards vs. Hawks: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

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Wizards vs. Hawks: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

The Wizards head to Atlanta Sunday evening for their third straight road game, part of a four-game trip. All-Star hopeful Bradley Beal will go head-to-head with All-Star starter Trae Young in the backcourt.

Young and Beal are two of the NBA's most prolific scorers, with Young averaging nearly 30 points per game and Beal scoring at least 36 points in back-to-back games.

Washington is coming off a convincing win in Cleveland after dropping an overtime heartbreaker in Miami.

Can the Wizards win back-to-back road games against two of the league's worst teams? Tune in to find out.

WIZARDS vs. HAWKS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards at Altanta Hawks, Game 45

Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA

When: 6:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Hawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Hawks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. HAWKS TV SCHEDULE

5:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

5:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

6:00 PM: Wizards vs. Hawks (LIVE)

8:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

9:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

9:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. HAWKS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: John Wall (OUT, Left Achilles rehab), Garrison Matthews (day-to-day, ankle), Rui Hachimura (OUT, groin), Moe Wagner (OUT, ankle)

Hawks: Trae Young (day-to-day, thigh), Alex Len (day-to-day, back), Chandler Parsons (OUT, concussion), Jabari Parker (day-to-day, shoulder)

WIZARDS vs. HAWKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, G, Wizards (27.8ppg, 4.5 rpg, 6.4 apg): Beal has caught fire in recent days, scoring 36, 38 and 29 points in his last three games as he makes his bid to be an All-Star for te second consecutive season.

Davis Bertans, F, Wizards (15.3ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.7 apg): Bertans has made at least four three-point field goals in back-to-back games, finding his stroke as he makes a case for the 3-point shooting contest.

Trae Young, PG, Hawks (29.2ppg, 4.7 rpg, 8.6 apg): Young was just named to his first All-Star Game as a starter, thanks to his incredible statline that jump off the page. He is one of just two players averaging more than 29 points and eight assists per game. 

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