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New CBA rule could change Wizards' approach to NBA Draft

New CBA rule could change Wizards' approach to NBA Draft

The new collective bargaining rules that allow for two-way contracts for players with less than three years’ experience to go between the D-League and their NBA team create options for the Wizards who hold the No. 52 pick in this month’s draft.

Teams have been allowed to have a maximum of 15 players under contract but that has increased by two under the 2017 CBA. That means teams in general, including the Wizards, could be less likely to trade their second round picks -- or those picks will could more value if they do move them -- that usually need time to develop. 

Dez Wells, a guard from the University of Maryland who played briefly for the Wizards in summer league two years ago and with the Oklahoma City Thunder’s D-League team, has more incentive to stay stateside rather than going to play in Germany. Or if Maryland's Melo Trimble, who worked out for the Wizards last week, is acquired and needs time to develop there's more flexibility.

“It’s important for guys to not be tempted to go overseas,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks told CSNmidatlantic.com on Tuesday. “You can make a decent living, have a chance to be in front of us and be developed by us.”

In the past, if a player was sent from his parent NBA team to the D-League during the season – the Wizards shipped Sheldon Mac (formerly McClellan) to the Delaware 87ers on multiple occasions and Chris McCullough to the Northern Arizona Suns -- the team didn't gain an open roster spot. That player would still occupy a roster spot among the 15 and get paid their NBA salary while playing in the second division.

Two-way players earn higher salaries than D-League players without these gateway deals. But a two-way player only can be in NBA training camp and with the NBA team for a maximum of 45 days during the regular season. If he reaches the limit and they want his services beyond that, his contract has to be converted to a full NBA deal.

[RELATED: Wall hopes for new shoe deal this summer]

In his first season with the Wizards, Brooks has put significant emphasis on developing undrafted rookies Mac, Daniel Ochefu and Danuel House before the latter was released. And that can be done with an eye to the future without being forced to choose between them and a veteran for a short-term run.

And for a 49-win team like the Wizards this season, and their teams that won 44 and 46 games in 2014 and '15, they usually can't wait if they hope to advance in the playoffs. A 35-year-old such as Rasual Butler, for instance, is a greater need than a 22-year-old second-round pick who is loaded with question marks.

Not having their own D-League team is a major part of that equation as the Wizards are one of five teams without their own affiliate or a one-to-one relationship. When a new practice facility is opened in 2018, that loophole is expected to be closed by majority owner Ted Leonsis.

“I think it’s an interesting concept," Brooks said. "I don't know how it's going to work yet."

The Wizards sold their second-round draft pick in 2014 and dealt theirs in 2016 to move up to get Kelly Oubre the previous season.

The next one is June 22. 

[RELATED: New cover athlete for NBA 2K18 named]

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Wizards vs. Knicks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Wizards vs. Knicks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards have traveled across the pond and will take on the New York Knicks in London, England Thursday (3 pm, NBC Sports Washington) as part of the NBA Global Games slate. 

Washington has brought some momentum with it on its journey to the United Kingdom, the Wizards winning five of their last eight. 

The Knicks, meanwhile, have lost three straight, and are just a game and a half above the basement-dwelling Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference standings.

Here's is what you need to know for Thursday's game.

WIZARDS vs. KNICKS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks, Game 45 of the 2018-19 NBA season
Where: The 02 Arena, London, England
When: 3:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Knicks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Knicks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the new MyTeams App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. KNICKS TV SCHEDULE

2:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
2:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)
3:00 PM: New York Knicks @ Wizards (LIVE)
5:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)
6:00 PM:Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. KNICKS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Dwight Howard (Back, Out), Markieff Morris (Neck, Out), John Wall (Heel, Out)
Knicks: Tim Hardaway Jr. (Hamstring, Day-to-day), Mitchell Robinson (Ankle, Day-to-day), Enes Kanter (Personal reasons, Out), Kristaps Porzingis (Knee, Out)

WIZARDS vs. KNICKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, Wizards: With John Wall out for the season, Beal has played like a true superstar, averaging almost 30 points per contest in his last eight games. Can he put on a show for the London crowd Thursday? 
Emmanuel Mudiay, Knicks: Mudiay has been a bright spot for the Knicks during a troublesome season. The 22-year old is scoring a career-high 14.5 points per game, second on the team only to Tim Hardaway Jr.'s 19.8.

WIZARDS vs. KNICKS SERIES HISTORY

Number of all-time Meetings: 335 games (36 playoff games)
Regular Season Record: Knicks lead 169-130
Playoff Record: Knicks lead 23-13
Last Meeting: Wizards win 110-107 on 12/3/18
Last 10: Wizards lead 9-1

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Wizards set to represent NBA on global stage, hope to keep momentum rolling in London vs. Knicks

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USA TODAY SPORTS

Wizards set to represent NBA on global stage, hope to keep momentum rolling in London vs. Knicks

The Wizards enter Thursday's matchup with the New York Knicks, set for 3 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington, with several factors working in their favor. For one, they have been playing quite well lately and have some momentum. Also, they are facing the Knicks, whom they have dominated for years, winning 17 of 19 meetings going back to 2013.

It's also technically a home game and the Wizards have been much better in those (13-8) than they have in road games. The problem is that this game is not actually at home, it's in London, England where many of the advantages the Wizards would otherwise hold are out the window.

The Wizards' recent upswing of five wins in eight games, all since it was revealed John Wall will miss the rest of the season due to left heel surgery, will be put to the test due to an unorthodox schedule. They last played on Sunday, a two-overtime loss to the Raptors, meaning they will have three off-days in between games.

They have only had three days off in between games one other time this season and that wasn't disrupted by a 3,700-mile flight across the world. They will also be dealing with a five-hour time change that was compounded by a seven-hour flight.

This game will be the only one for the Wizards across a stretch of seven days. After playing the Knicks on Thursday, they return home to see the Pistons on Monday, Jan. 21. They then have two more off-days before hosting the Warriors on Thursday. Staying sharp through all of this could be a challenge.

The fact the Wizards have to burn a home game is not ideal, given they are so much better in Washington than elsewhere. The same factors road games provide like travel and hotel rooms will still apply. The crowd could also be neutral or even pro-Knicks, removing what is usually a benefit of playing at Capital One Arena.

Several things should still work in the Wizards' favor, however. Not only have they owned the Knicks in recent years, but they won't have to face Enes Kanter, who did not travel with the team due to a dispute with the Turkish government. He has been particularly good against the Wizards this season with averages of 14.0 points and 15.5 rebounds per game.

Tim Hardaway Jr. (hamstring) and Mitchel Robinson (groin) are also banged up and did not play in the Knicks' last game on Sunday, a loss to the Sixers.

The Wizards also have a host of guys playing their best basketball of the season. Bradley Beal is looking like an All-Star with averages of 29.8 points (41.4 3PT%), 6.6 assists and 5.3 rebounds during the Wizards' eight-game surge.

Otto Porter Jr. has averaged 16.0 points while shooting 45.7 percent from three during that stretch and Trevor Ariza hasn't been far behind with 15.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. 

The Wizards are fifth in the NBA in scoring (119.8), eighth in offensive rating (113.9) and 11th in defensive rating (109.4) in their past eight games. They are third in threes made per game (13.5) and seventh in three-point percentage (39.3).

Washington has reached a new level in recent weeks. Now they just have to keep it going despite all the unusual factors at play. They have a unique opportunity to represent the NBA on the global stage. Getting a win would make it all that much better.

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