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Same NBA dream, yet different future paths for Wells, White

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Same NBA dream, yet different future paths for Wells, White

Aaron White lived the dream. Only 60 players had their names called during the 2015 NBA Draft. The Iowa forward with the perimeter game was one of them.

Dez Wells was not. Yet of the two Big Ten products, both members of the Washington Wizards' Summer League roster, it's the undrafted guard from Maryland with arguably the better chance of reaching the NBA this season.

White, Washington's second round selection, and Wells visited Verizon Center last month for pre-draft workouts. The pair returned Monday for the first day of mini-camp ahead of the upcoming Las Vegas Summer League.

Of the 16 players currently on this roster, only first round pick Kelly Oubre Jr. is a lock for the real Washington Wizards roster, which as of Monday night has but two open slots.

Clearly the Wizards have interest in White after selecting the senior forward 49th overall.

One week before the June 25th Draft, the 6-foot-8 White visited Chinatown.

"The first time I was here I didn't really know what to expect, if they liked me," White said. "Obviously, they see me as some part of their future. Definitely a good feeling. Just excited to get to work."

By virtue of drafting White, the Wizards own his NBA rights. Cold or not, his value as an asset arguably trumps his chances of making the 2015-16 roster. Washington could use another stretch-4 option. That's White's game, but if his game needs more seasoning, better for the Eastern Conference-contending Wizards that occurs overseas. His rights remain theirs and another player can join the club next season.

White understands the scenario, but hopes his performances during practices and Summer League changes minds.

"I know that they saw something in me that they liked," White said. "Depending on how the roster shakes out, I'd love to play for them this year. If not, I just want to become the best basketball player I can become. Whether that's taking a year overseas or whatever it is, I'm (up) to do (it). My goal coming in is to try and play (in the NBA) this year."

Wells has the same goal, but a different path. Because he wasn't drafted, John Wall's childhood friend could weigh different offers.

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"It's all perspective," Wells said about not being drafted. "Depends on if you just want to hear your name called just so you can celebrate with your family. At the same time, if you want to pick your team that you choose to play summer league with, it's better for you."

The Wizards, who received a closer look at Wells during a June 11 workout, made it clear they hoped the power-packed guard would choose them. 

"They were very interested in me. Even before the draft was over with they called me," Wells said.

After doing some homework in addition to consulting with his with his family and agent, Wells chose to stay in the DMV. The news broke shortly after the Draft's conclusion.

"I played around here. I know this area really well. Have good relationships with some of the players. I know the coaching staff," Wells said. "Just with the roster, I feel like my talents here, I can have a good impact this year if they pick me up."

Speaking with a certain friend who doubles as the Wizards' leading man helped with his decision.

"[John] reached out to me during the draft. He called me and we talked a little bit. I asked him what he thought about this fit here and he was all for it. That had something to do with my decision," Wells said.

The decision on whether White or Wells make the Wizards' regular season roster or even have a chance to attend training camp will not be up to White and Wells.

"Obviously that's in other people's hands," White said. "I'm going to work as hard as I can and prove I can be an asset on the floor and for the team."

The ex-Terp shares the same dream.

"I just want to play in the NBA," Wells said. "Show is not over. Still got a lot of chances left."

Notes: The Wizards expect to rotate their Summer League head coaching duties among their current assistance. Former assistant Sam Cassell,, now with the Clippers, served as SL coach in recent years.

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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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