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Nene, Seraphin take on London

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Nene, Seraphin take on London

For those interested in all things Washington Wizards, the London Olympics are all about the international big men, Nene and Kevin Seraphin.The veteran Brazilian and rising Frenchman each open play for the respective country's on Sunday with Seraphin taking on LeBron James, Tyson Chandlerand the rest of Team USA.As for Nene, he headlines a potent interior rotation with Cleveland's Anderson Varejao and San Antonio's Tiago Splitter (former Indiana guard and current free agent Leandro Barbosa leads the backcourt). The intrigue from a Wizards perspective will be watching Nene work with two other bigs who are far more effective playing closer to the basket than they are away from it.That figures to be the scenario Nene deals with next season. It will be his first with Emeka Okafor, a big man who is clearly more effective playing closer to the basket. Nene can certainly play out at the high post offensively - as can Seraphin. In fact theinternational beef brothers formed an effective pairing because both could operate inside and from 15 feet out. Now with Okafor - also Varejao and Splitter over the next two weeks - Nene figures to play more on the perimeter so others can roam the middle.From his perspective, Okafor sees the role of the 4 (power forward) and 5 (center) being largely interchangeable. Not sure I concur regarding his game, but now we'll get a glimpse as to whether that notion exsist for Nene over extended minutes (Interesting piece here from TruthAboutIt.net's Kyle Weidie looking at the past to gauge how the Wizards trio might fit next season). We'll also get to see Nene matched up in Group B play against Spain's trio of the Gasol brothers - Pau and Marc - and Serge Ibaka.Without an injured Joakim Noah, Serpahin figures to be France's top center though NBA vets Boris Diaw and former Wizard Ronny Turiaf will also man the middle. San Antonio's All-Star guard Tony Parker and Portland's small forward Nicolas Batum lead the perimeter attack.Seraphin's offensive game shined during the second half of the NBA season and he average 14 points and 7 rebounds over the final 21 games. Howeverthe 6-foot-10 center's defensive rebounding and actual defense laggedbehind his scoring moves. Both components will be tested early in London. After facing a gold medal seeking Team USA, France takes on Argentina, led up front by Luis Scola. I'm of the opinion Okafor, in part because he is now the highest paid player on the Wizards, will open next season in the starting lineup with Nene. Should Seraphin's two weeks in London become a star-turn, that opinion could change.As for when you can seeNene and Serpahin play during the Olympics...BrazilJuly 29 vs. Australia, 6:15 a.m. (NBC Sports Network; replay at 8 a.m., NBC basketball channel)
July 31 vs. Great Britain, 11:45 a.m. (NBC basketball channel)
August 2 vs. Russia, 11:30 a.m. (NBC basketball channel; replay at 1:30 p.m.)
August 4 vs. China, 11:45 a.m. (NBC basketball channel)
August 6 vs. Spain, 3:30 p.m. (MSNBC)FranceJuly 29 vs. Team USA, 9:30 a.m. (NBC Sports Network; replay at 1:30 p.m.)
July 31 vs. Argentina, 3 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)
August 2 vs. Lithuania, 4 a.m. (NBC Sports Network; replay at 8 a.m.)
August 4 vs. Tunisia, 4 a.m. (NBC basketball channel)
August 6 vs. Nigeria, 9:30 a.m. (NBC basketball channel)

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Elena Delle Donne the favorite to win WNBA MVP, according to league GMs

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Elena Delle Donne the favorite to win WNBA MVP, according to league GMs

Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne is one of the best players in the WNBA, and thus is always in the discussion for MVP honors. 

And heading into the 2019 season, league GMs give her the best chance of anyone to actually hoist the trophy when it's all said and done. 

In a WNBA.com survey of general managers, 42 percent picked Delle Donne to win MVP in 2019. Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury had the second-most votes at 25 percent, followed by A’ja Wilson of Las Vegas Aces at 17 percent then Las Vegas' Liz Cambage and Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun at eight percent. 

Delle Donne won her first and only WNBA MVP award in 2015 as a member of the Chicago Sky when she averaged a career-high 23.4 points per game. And with the Mystics set to make another run at the WNBA title (58 percent of GMs predicted Washington to have the most regular season wins in the Eastern Conference), she has a great opportunity to get her second this season. 

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Explained: What is an NBA supermax contract and how does it work?

Explained: What is an NBA supermax contract and how does it work?

As All-NBA teams are announced and franchises have to make decisions about contract extensions, fans will see the term "supermax contract" thrown around a lot. 

Here's a quick primer with everything you need to know about the NBA's most lucrative player deals. 

What is a supermax contract?

Officially known as the "Designated Veteran Player Extension," this rule allows teams to re-sign qualified players to maximum five-year contracts worth up to 35 percent of the salary cap with eight percent escalation in each subsequent year.

The length of the supermax deal depends on the player's years of NBA experience and years remaining on his current contract. 

  • A qualified player who has completed seven or eight years of service and has two years left on his contract is eligible for a four-year supermax (keeping the player with the same team for a total of six seasons)
  • A qualified player who has completed seven or eight years of service and has one year left on his contract is eligible for a five-year supermax (keeping the player with the same team for a total of six seasons)
  • A qualified free agent who has completed eight or nine years of service is eligible for a five-year supermax 

Furthermore, teams cannot trade a supermax player for the first year after he signs the contract.  

How much is a supermax contract worth?

Valued up to 35 percent of the salary cap in the initial year and subject to eight percent escalation in each subsequent year, these deals are mammoth money.

For example, the Wizards signed John Wall to a four-year supermax in the summer of 2017 when he had two years left on his contract. The supermax money begins in 2019-20 and pays Wall $38.15 million that year. With annual escalations, his supermax is worth $170.912 million over the four-year lifetime of the deal. 

According to a report by Yahoo's Chris Haynes, Damian Lillard—who has two years remaining on his current deal with the Trail Blazers and is expected to be named to an All-NBA team—will be offered a four-year supermax extension worth roughly $191 million this summer. 

Who is eligible to sign a supermax contract?

Very few players qualify for a supermax contract. First, only a player that has (or will have) completed eight years of NBA service by the end of his current contract is eligible to sign a supermax deal, which can only be offered by the team that drafted him or traded for his rookie contract. 

Then, a player must meet one of the following three criteria.

  • Be named to an All-NBA team in the most recent season or both seasons before it
  • OR, be named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the most recent season or both seasons before it
  • OR, be named NBA MVP in any of the three previous seasons

Which players have received supermax contracts?

  • Stephen Curry - Golden State Warriors
  • James Harden - Houston Rockets
  • Russell Westbrook - Oklahoma City Thunder
  • John Wall - Washington Wizards

Who could receive a supermax contract this summer?

Anthony Davis is already eligible for a supermax offer from the Pelicans. And depending on the All-NBA, DPOY and MVP selections, the following players also could receive supermax offers:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo - Milwaukee Bucks
  • Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers
  • Klay Thompson - Golden State Warriors
  • Kemba Walker - Charlotte Hornets
  • Andre Drummond - Detroit Pistons
  • Bradley Beal - Washington Wizards 

What are the drawbacks to supermax deals?

The supermax contract was designed to help teams retain their players by allowing them to offer significantly more money than the competition; however, teams that offer such contracts are squeezing themselves in terms of salary cap room to fill out their rosters. 

No franchise can carry more than two supermax players at 35 percent of the cap each. Functionally, though, it's difficult for a team to have more than one.

Two supermax players would account for 70 percent of a team's salary in any given year, leaving the club virtually unable to sign a competitive supporting cast. 

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