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Kelly Oubre Jr. likes how Wizards' bench is shaping up around him after Brandon Jennings signing

Kelly Oubre Jr. likes how Wizards' bench is shaping up around him after Brandon Jennings signing

Kelly Oubre Jr. has been the most consistent mainstay for the Wizards' second unit this season. He, like many bench players, has found himself in Scott Brooks' doghouse at times, but for the most part has held steady the trust of the coaching staff throughout this season.

So, Oubre can probably speak more than anyone about the change that Washington's bench has undergone in the last few weeks. First, they got rim protector Ian Mahinmi back from injury. Then, they traded for forward and three-point marksman Bojan Bogdanovic. And now they have point guard Brandon Jennings ready to step in after signing a free agent deal on Wednesday.

Oubre is still in there, but around him there have been lots of changes.

"I feel like our bench is reformed a little bit, it's re-sculpted," Oubre said. "All year I've been trying to find my way. I've had ups and downs, but it's been a blessing to play with those guys on the second unit. I feel like we have built a lot of camaraderie throughout our ups and downs. But now that we have two key pieces with Bojan the scorer and Brandon the passer, and I can score a little bit and defend, we have Jason [Smith] and Ian; pretty much we have depth and size."

Even before Jennings jumped on board, the Wizards' bench was showing improvement. Despite ranking 29th this season as a group in minutes and points per game, the bench looked like a real strength on Wednesday in a win over the Toronto Raptors. Bogdanovic scored a game-high 27 points and hit six threes, Mahinmi had a season-high three blocks and Smith added eight points and five rebounds in 10 minutes.

[RELATED: 5 things to know about new Wizards guard Brandon Jennings]

The bench helped key a 26-3 run against the fourth-best team in the Eastern Conference. All year the bench has struggled to maintain leads, now they can add to them.

"I feel like we're going to be tough to deal with. Once our starters take that rest, it's a whole new ballgame," Oubre said.

Oubre likes both of the two recent additions, Jennings and Bogdanovic. Even though the latter may affect his minutes as a guy who plays the same position, Oubre sees a player who he can co-exist with.

"I can play the two, three or four and he can play two through four, as well. We're very versatile. I don't like to categorize players on the basketball court. We're all basketball players at the end of the day. We have to get the job done. Playing with him or against him, it doesn't matter. I love to compete and he loves to compete, too. I'm glad he's on our side," Oubre said.

As for Jennings, Oubre thinks he can help infuse energy while the John Wall and the starters rest.

"Another lefty on the team," Oubre said, pointing out that he is not the only southpaw on the roster anymore. "Great passer. I grew up watching his highlights when he was in high school. I know what he's capable of and I'm excited to play with him. I saw what he did against us when he was in New York. He's a fast point guard, he loves to pass and he can score the ball. He's electrifying. I look forward to running with him and catching some lobs from him. He should help us get this playoff push."

[RELATED: Jennings knows D.C. from internship with Under Armour]

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Ted Leonsis' patience in GM search is a calculated risk with potential to backfire

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Ted Leonsis' patience in GM search is a calculated risk with potential to backfire

The decision for who will run the Wizards front office long-term is not imminent. In fact, it may not even be that close.

That's according to majority owner Ted Leonsis, who again displayed a surprising level of patience in his months-long process to replace Ernie Grunfeld, this time in an interview with the Washington Post. Leonsis says he does not expect to finalize the hire until after the start of free agency on June 30.

That effectively means that if they hire someone from outside the organization, that person will have little to no impact on the team this offseason. That may sound like hyperbole, but just look at the calendar.

The NBA Draft is on Thursday. The deadline on Jabari Parker's $20 million team option is June 29. Free agency will begin on June 30 and qualifying offers for restricted free agents are due that day as well.

By the second week of July, the Las Vegas Summer League will be in full swing. But the NBA offseason, at least the most important parts of it, will be pretty much over. 

The Wizards will have already made their draft pick(s) and held the press conference. They will have likely settled matters one way or another with restricted free agents Tomas Satoransky, Thomas Bryant and Bobby Portis. And by then, the phone could be ringing off the hook with trade offers for Bradley Beal.

Leonsis, though, is continuing to take the longview, knowing no one will really care in a few years if he nails the hire and the franchise is quickly steered back onto the right course.

The drawn out timeline raises many questions and the most obvious one is what they are waiting for. The NBA Finals are over. If they were waiting to talk to someone involved in that series, they can do that now. 

Maybe he wants to see how interim president Tommy Sheppard fares in his first draft as the top executive. Maybe all of this, the draft and free agency process, is a test.

Maybe he plans to hire someone from outside the organization, but feels that installing them now wouldn't be good timing. Leonsis hasn't offered specifics in that regard.

At this point, it seems clear the best way to make this a productive offseason from a roster-building perspective is to promote Sheppard. He has been carrying out his vision and will do so through at least the start of free agency.

The Wizards won't have a ton of money to spend, but they will have some. Sheppard is going to be making the pitch and signing players to be part of the Wizards' future.

Someone else is just going to take it over after that? That doesn't make a ton of sense, unless Leonsis is okay with punting this offseason with his eyes on the bigger picture.

But also, consider the fact this isn't just a normal offseason. They aren't your typical team hitting the reset button. They have two All-Star players signed to large contracts, John Wall to a supermax deal and Bradley Beal to a max.

This offseason should be the start of laying the groundwork for life with Wall after his Achilles surgery. And if they have any hope of signing Beal to another contract, they need to show some signs of progress.

Late in the regular season, Beal was asked whether he would sign an extension with the Wizards and he said: "I wanna be able to know that we're going in the right direction in the future."

Beal said that in the context of a potential supermax contract worth approximately $194 million over four years. Now they can only offer him a smaller deal worth about $111 million over three years.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday the Wizards' intention to offer Beal the $111 million contract this summer. But if he wasn't a guarantee to accept the larger deal, then we know how he feels about the lesser one.

Beal has expressed his loyalty to the Wizards in numerous, sometimes-extreme ways. He has said everything from wanting to retire in a Wizards jersey to wanting to die in a Wizards jersey. He told NBC Sports Washington in February he wouldn't request a trade.

But he wasn't blowing smoke about wanting to see the team improve. Every indication from those familiar with his plans suggests he meant what he said. He is entering his eighth season and has already made plenty of money. He wants to win.

With that in mind, they can't really afford to botch this offseason. And if they have hopes of signing him long-term, they probably can't tear everything down around him for a rebuild. 

That makes the patience Leonsis is showing so interesting. There are still ways to ultimately get this process right. But the longer they wait, the more they will potentially sacrifice.


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What It Means: Wizards reportedly expected to make extension offer to Bradley Beal

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What It Means: Wizards reportedly expected to make extension offer to Bradley Beal

Despite the litany of teams who would love to get their hands on Bradley Beal this offseason, Washington has so far remained committed to keeping Bradley Beal a Wizard.

And when he's eligible in July, they plan to offer him a three-year, $111 million extension, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.  

"He's eligible for a three-year, $111 million extension," Wojnarowski said during ESPN's televised mock draft special. "I'm told it's the team's intention to offer that up to him and try and move forward."

Keeping Beal long-term may wind being a smart move, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig wrote this week. The extension would lock Beal up for the next five years and secure him and John Wall -- once he's fully recovered from offseason Achilles surgery -- as the Wizards' backcourt for the foreseeable future. 

The offer may seem financially burdensome, considering the Wizards just signed John Wall to a massive supermax extension that starts this season. But although the Wizards are currently strapped for cash, there's hope on the horizon. Ian Mahinmi's $15.6 million deal and Dwight Howard's $5.4 million deal expire after the 2019-2020 season.

The Wizards could decline Jabari Parkers $20 million team option and let Bobby Portis walk in restricted free agency this offseason. If both those happen, the Wizards could open up cap space for Beal's extension.

Considering John Wall is out for likely the entire next season and the Wizards still don't have a GM, their best move might be to lock in what proven production they have.