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John Wall, Jay Gruden predict the winner of the Kentucky Derby

John Wall, Jay Gruden predict the winner of the Kentucky Derby

Both John Wall and Jay Gruden surely have bigger things going on right now, but that's not stopping them from making a Kentucky Derby pick. 

With the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby taking place later tonight, both Wall and Gruden took a moment to tell people who they see winning the famous race. 

You can see their picks in this video: 


Both of them went with the favorite, which is a safe bet for two people who probably aren't too dialed in on the world of competitive horse racing right now. 

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John Wall, Bradley Beal react to Trevor Ariza trade that sent Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers to Suns

John Wall, Bradley Beal react to Trevor Ariza trade that sent Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers to Suns

From the front office's perspective, the timing of the Wizards' trade for Trevor Ariza could not have been better. They secured the player they wanted as early as he could be traded, on Dec. 15.

From the players' perspective, the timing could not have been worse. They had just lost a game to the Brooklyn Nets and were in the locker room when reports began surfacing on social media. Those involved, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers, had to address reporters, not knowing where they would be moving to the coming days.

Then, as the trade saga took on new forms, they rode the bus and then on the plane with the Wizards, surrounded by those they would soon call former teammates. Their phones were buzzing with messages from people asking what was going on, when they themselves didn't know.

John Wall has seen plenty over the course of his nine NBA seasons, including Kirk Hinrich getting traded at halftime back in 2011. But he hadn't seen this.

"It was kind of weird and kind of difficult," Wall said. "[We] go into the locker room and we're about to shower and stuff and we don't understand who is about to get traded, who's been traded. It was kind of a tough situation. I give those guys a lot of credit. They handled that stuff like professionals. A lot of guys could have reacted in different ways, which I have seen in the past."

As NBA Twitter did backflips over the absurdity playing out in real time, how the deal was originally supposed to have three teams and it fell through allegedly because of a mixup over which 'Brooks' was getting traded from Memphis, the Wizards were following along, on the bus and with two parties involved sitting nearby. 

"You don't see that a lot. I feel for Kelly and Austin who were put on that trip back here and not knowing what was going on," Bradley Beal said.

Like with most trades, the players offered a mixed reaction with teammates leaving, but help also coming in. They know Ariza well from his days in Washington back in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons and believe he will bring defense and three-point shooting, two things the Wizards currently need.

There was a human element of seeing Oubre and Rivers go, though, that both Wall and Beal felt. Oubre, in particular, had become woven into the fabric of the organization over the past three-plus years. He arrived as a first round pick in 2015 and grew up in their system.

"It is kind of devastating for those guys who came in and tried to give it everything they have," Wall said. "Especially K.O., being here four years, watching him develop from his rookie year not getting any minutes and coming into his own and being an X-factor for our team the last couple of years, it's sad to see him go."

Wall continued to say he wishes both players the best with the Phoenix Suns. The Wizards happen to play Phoenix in a week, on Dec. 22 in Washington.

Ultimately, the trade served a reminder to Wall, Beal and others that the Wizards have some urgency to turn things around. They are in the luxury tax with the sixth-highest payroll in the NBA. An 11-18 record after 29 games just isn't good enough to justify the resources being committed.

Wall explained in detail how he believes money was a consideration.

"The only thing I really can think of from my standpoint is that Trevor makes $15 [million], I think. Austin made [$12.65 million] and Kelly makes [$3.21 million] this year," he said.

"It was a situation where we were in a tough bind. We have three guys that are paid pretty high. And then understanding what Kelly is going to receive or ask for this summer, I don't think we have the money to match it. So, I think that's the reason why we made that trade."

This is the third trade the Wizards have made already this season. All three deals have saved them money, but this one has the highest likelihood to make a difference on the court.

The players are optimistic Ariza can prove the missing piece.

"We needed a change," Beal said. "Hopefully this is the change that sparks some energy out of us, some life out of us, that will get us to play the way we know we're capable of playing."



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Drew Gooden explains what it's like to be traded in the NBA

Drew Gooden explains what it's like to be traded in the NBA

It didn't take Drew Gooden long to learn in his career that the key to home life while playing in the NBA was to rent, not own. 

"Later in my career, I would just rent a condo six months out of the year and rent furniture," the NBC Sports Washington commentator said. "So if I got traded, all I had to do was pack my clothes, get in my car and be ready to play ball in a new city."

Gooden, throughout his career found himself picking up and going to a new city as the result of a trade (it was almost an annual thing on trade deadline for a bit) and knows well what Austin Rivers and Kelly Oubre are going through after being traded to the Suns for Trevor Ariza in a wacky weekend deal.

"The first time I got traded, I was told I wasn't getting traded. It was my rookie year," he said. "I heard there was a trade rumor surrounding my name and I heard from Jerry West, straight from his mouth, that he wasn't going to trade me. The next day I was traded. And it wasn't Jerry West who told me. It was Dick Versace was the guy who told me I was traded. That's how I learned. I learned 52 games in as a rookie so I had to pick up quick on how to adjust on a new environment."

That was the last time Gooden bought a home in a city where he played. That trade sent Gooden to the Magic as part of a deal that sent Mike Miller to Memphis.

"So right when I got in, I had guys, like Tracy McGrady, was upset about the trade because Mike Miller was his best friend," Gooden remembered. "So T-Mac didn't talk to anyone for two weeks. He was pissed about the whole trade. I just kind of played my way out of it. Right when I got there, my first five or 10 games I was averaging close to 20 points and 12 rebounds so I just kind of played myself into fitting in right away."

The next trade was a little less of a shock and it was, Gooden says, the only time he opted to pack up his things to replace Carlos Boozer in Cleveland.

"[Cleveland] called my agent and said 'would Drew like to become a Cavalier and play with LeBron James?' And word got back to me and that was an easy decision. Otis Smith, the Orlando GM at the time, was a straight shooter. He said do you want to stay here or do you want to be traded to Cleveland? I no longer wanted to be part of the Orlando Magic, so he did me a solid and granted my wishes to send me to Cleveland."

No matter what though, it's a shock to the system for players each time a deal involving them goes through.

"No matter how many times you've been traded, it's a shock, like 'wow this is happening again? It just happened,'" he said. "It's kind of hard to explain. I think the best way to describe it is if you had to leave your job right now and move to South Dakota if you want to continue in your profession. That's a hard pill to swallow. And you've got to deal with it if you want to continue your career. They pay us a lot of money, you're still playing the game of basketball, you just have other people around you now."

But, the NBA, he said, is like a giant fraternity. After all, players have been matching up since as far back as high school against each other. So it's not like you're walking into some place where no one knows who you are.

"Everybody knows everybody," he said. 

But that doesn't mean it's easy. Gooden said last night Rivers and Oubre probably learned of the trade news right after the game. There's a couple of ways things like that happen.

"You find out after the game while a reporter is telling you or your agent is texting you or you've got 15 missed calls while you're playing a game," he said. "And you go to check your phone and you know something just went down."