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Kelly Oubre credits OKC star Russell Westbrook for inspiring him to play hard every time

Kelly Oubre credits OKC star Russell Westbrook for inspiring him to play hard every time

The admiration taht Kelly Oubre has for Russell Westbrook, who is on the verge of breaking the NBA record for triple-doubles in a season, comes from a distance. The second-year player doesn't appear to have any close personal ties to the Oklahoma City star, but he knows effort when he sees it and used it to best explain his own play in Tuesday's 118-111 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

"Russell Westbook," Oubre told CSNmidatlantic.com's Chris Miller after the game. "Straight up."

Oubre had 15 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench.

Quirky and into fashion, like Westbrook, Oubre can do peculiar things that draw chuckles. He also matches to his own beat, not worried about being different or conformity. Oubre understands that there's strength in just being himself -- and by himself, if necessary.

At 9:36 of the fourth quarter, he got Jeremy Lamb to bite an upfake during his drive and tumbled to the floor. Oubre then did a few pushups while there just because why not?

"If I see him out there doing what he does every night playing with an intense motor," Oubre said, "why can't I?"

It's that type of hustle why Oubre stayed in coach Scott Brooks' rotation despite his struggles early and at the mid-point. And it's that attitude why every player on the roster, during exit interviews after a 41-41 record landed them out of the playoffs a year ago, lobbied for more playing time for Oubre to majority owner Ted Leonsis.

The Wizards moved up in the 2015 draft to get Oubre, who was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks. At 6-7 with a 7-2 wingspan and an ability to defend both guard positions, too, he could prove to be a steal.

When he was acquired, president Ernie Grunfed said it would take the then-19-year-old Oubre about 2-3 years to develop. He might not have 41 triple-doubles like Westbrook, who is one shy of breaking Oscar Robertson's all-time record, but he's right on schedule and peaking at the perfect time as the playoffs draw near.

[RELATED: Scott Brooks on Steve Kerr's apology, NBA's unwritten rules]

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 



John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime? 

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks in three-team deal, but not likely to stay

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks in three-team deal, but not likely to stay

The stage has been set for Carmelo Anthony to hit free agency, as the 10-time All-Star was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday in a three-team deal, one that will lead to a subsequent buyout of his contract. ESPN first reported the news and noted that the Rockets are the favorites to sign him.

The full deal sends Dennis Schroder from the Hawks to the Thunder in exchange for Anthony and a protected first-round pick, and sends Mike Muscala from Atlanta to Philly. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will go to the Thunder from Philly and Justin Anderson will go from the Sixers to the Hawks.

That's a complicated deal, but it ultimately frees Anthony up to choose a new team. He was set to make $27.9 million from the Thunder next season, but the Hawks are footing the bill to let him walk.

Anthony's skills have declined now that he's 34 years old. Last season, he averaged 16.2 points on 40.4 percent shooting, way down from the 22.4 points he averaged the season before with the Knicks.

Still, Anthony could help a team looking for a scoring punch and the Rockets would like some more help in their quest to take down the Warriors. If he signs there, he will join friend Chris Paul and the 2017-18 MVP, James Harden. 

Houston has been the logical landing spot for Anthony ever since news broke that the Thunder were looking for a way out of his contract. If he doesn't go there, perhaps the Lakers would make sense. LeBron James is going to need a lot more help than the roster he currently has around him to make some noise in the crowded Western Conference.