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Sources: With Kevin Durant out of mind, Wizards set sights on Ryan Anderson

Sources: With Kevin Durant out of mind, Wizards set sights on Ryan Anderson

Now that Kevin Durant has dropped from the wish list for the Wizards with free agency set to open at the end of the week, Ryan Anderson is their next priority, multiple league sources tell CSNmidatlantic.com on Monday, and they'll make an aggressive move in hopes of securing the three-point shooting forward.

Anderson, a 6-10 free agent from the New Orleans Pelicans, averaged 17 points and six rebounds in 66 apperances last season. He shot 36.6% from three-point range and is the type of stretch option that could work better than Jared Dudley and Kris Humphries did in a disastrous 41-41 season.

The Wizards will have a lot of competition for Anderson's services. He may command in the range of $17 million in the open market, one league GM projected in an interview with CSN recently. At that number, however, it could be problematic for the Wizards' front office.

Anderson, 28, made $8.5 million last season and the salary cap is rising by $24 million, up to $94 million, for 2016-17.

At Februrary's trade deadline, Anderson was in the conversation -- he did have interest in being moved to D.C. -- but the Wizards opted to make a deal using their 2016 first-round pick with the Phoenix Suns for Markieff Morris instead. Morris is under contract through 2019 and making an average of $8 million. Anderson was not under contract and the Pelicans were demanding a first-round pick for him. 

Anderson, sources tell CSN, likely won't make a decision until Durant makes his on whether or not to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder. Some of the teams that have their sights on Durant have Anderson high on their radars, too. This is why the price for Anderson is projected to rise but the Wizards will have about $30 million in cap room.

CSN reported earlier Monday that the team had interest in forward Darrell Arthur of the Denver Nuggets. They'll have about eight roster spots to fill so there are a lot of moving pieces in play. Their interest in Anderson, however, is much greater.  

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Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard out against Wizards

Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard out against Wizards

The Wizards will catch a break on Saturday night when they host the Toronto Raptors in the second game of their regular season, as Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard is being held out due to rest.

Leonard, who has been dominant so far for the 2-0 Raptors, is being limited in back-to-backs after he missed 73 games last season due to a quadriceps injury. The Raptors played the night before against the Celtics.

With Leonard out, the Raptors will likely rely on C.J. Miles and O.G. Anunoby at the small forward position. Shooting guard Delon Wright is also out with a shoulder injury.

Though Leonard and Wright are out of the mix, Toronto still has plenty of talent including All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry is averaging 21 points, seven assists and 3.5 rebounds through two games. 

Serge Ibaka has been their third-leading scorer with 15 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds. They also acquired Danny Green in the Leonard deal and he's off to a strong start with 12.5 points and five rebounds per game.

Leonard's absence may be noticed more on the defensive end, as he is one of the best in the NBA on the perimeter. That could make things a bit easier for Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr.

The Wizards and Raptors next play on Nov. 23. That game is in Toronto.

 

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Three things to watch for in Wizards' first matchup with Raptors

Three things to watch for in Wizards' first matchup with Raptors

John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

Here are three things to watch...

Will Howard play?

Once again, we await word from head coach Scott Brooks on the status of Dwight Howard. Howard, who missed all of the Wizards' preseason with a piriformis injury, was a gametime decision for the opener on Thursday. He ended up not playing, but appeared very close to finally making his debut.

Saturday night could be a different story, though we won't know until shortly before gametime. The Wizards' training staff will evaluate him pregame and make the call. If he can't go, Ian Mahinmi will get the nod as starter like he did against Miami.

Need more Otto

Though it wasn't the reason why the Wizards lost to the Heat, it certainly stood out in the box score how Otto Porter Jr. went without a three-point attempt in the opener. Porter finished third in three-point percentage last season with a 44.1 clip. He simply has to be more involved in the offense.

It will be interesting to see what adjustment the Wizards make to create more opportunities for Porter, and how Porter responds. All parties involved insist it is a mix of several factors, including a need for Porter to simply be more aggressive. That won't be easy against a tough Raptors defense, but expect Porter to get up plenty of threes in this one.

Leonard is out

This game was set to be the first matchup between the Wizards and the revamped Raptors, who added perennial All-NBA selection Kawhi Leonard in the biggest trade of the offseason. But it turns out, Leonard will not play.

Toronto is resting Leonard, who played in only nine games all of last season due to a quadriceps injury. It's understandable, given the Raptors played the night before against the tough Boston Celtics.

With Leonard out, All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry will be a big focus. They also got guard Danny Green in the Leonard deal and he's off to an excellent start. He's averaging 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals while shooting 50 percent from three so far. Getting him in the trade was a very underrated move by Toronto.

 

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