Quick Links

Scott Brooks won't allow Markieff Morris to strong arm him into playing Game 2 vs. Celtics

Scott Brooks won't allow Markieff Morris to strong arm him into playing Game 2 vs. Celtics

BOSTON – Not a whole lot has changed in regards to Markieff Morris’ status for Game 2 vs. the Boston Celtics, but coach Scott Brooks isn’t going to allow his starting power forward to scare him into letting him play with a sore left ankle.  

“He’s going to play tonight if he feels comfortable along with our staff, our medical staff, and myself. (If he doesn’t), he won’t play,” Brooks said after shootaround Tuesday morning. “He’s not going to play no matter how many times he punches me in the face. It’s not going to happen. He is pretty intimidating, but I’m not going to allow him to intimidate me.”

Morris, who rolled his left ankle in the first half of Game 1, got up shots and tested the ankle at a light, 30-minute shootaround but didn’t make any sharp cuts. He rolled it after Al Horford stuck his foot underneath him on a jump shot in Game 1 that Boston seized 123-111.

“I’m feeling cool. Going to talk to my coaches. Game-time decision,” Morris said. “It’s sore but I feel like I can push through it.”

Morris has had a long history with ankle injuries, and he eventually missed time after going down in November in a game with the Miami Heat.

“The swelling has gone down. He’s been diligent along with our staff to get treatments around the clock. You have to factor he has a toughness about him. He has an edge,” Brooks said. “He wants to play. I still don’t know. I’ll find out more probably 65-70 minutes before the game.

“We’re going to do what’s best for him. Every competitive athlete wants to be out there with their team. It’s the playoffs. We’re down 1-0 but with all that being said we’re going to do what’s best for him long-term.”

[RELATED: Celtics' Horford on whether he intentionally hurt Morris]

If Morris isn’t able to go, Kelly Oubre will start in his place. Oubre began the third quarter of Game 1 when Morris didn’t return.

“At this stage, you have to play through some soreness and pain. But you’re not going to play through an injury. We’re not going to allow that. There’s a big difference,” Brooks said. “If you’re hurt you’re going to sit down and get ready to play when you’re ready to play. If you’re sore you’ve got to take a look and test it.

“We don’t want him to be out there (like) Willis Reed, make two shots and sit on the bench, emotional lift. We want him to be able to play and be effective for us.”

Morris will get treatment throughout Game 2 when playing and ride an exercise bike to keep it loose and warm.

He doesn’t know how it will respond unless he’s in real-time action. He said the ankle feels better after he estimated his pain was at a 5 on a 1-10 scale on Monday.

“It went down some,” Morris said of the swelling, “but you don’t really get the full effect unless your adrenaline is going. Me being out here shooting with a little bit of pain won’t be the same as a game when my adrenaline is on 100 so that’s just basically where we’re at right now.”

Morris’ mother wants him to play. His twin, Marcus, wants him to play, too.

Though he respects Brooks’ authority, Morris wants it to be his decision.

“It’s my career isn’t it?” he said.

[RELATED: Morris wants face-to-face meeting with Horford after injury]

Quick Links

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

USA Today Sports Images

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.


Quick Links

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

USA Today

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.