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Subtle thumbs up for Wizards offseason around the NBA

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Subtle thumbs up for Wizards offseason around the NBA

The Wizards didn't sign a high-end free agent like LaMarcus Aldridge.

They didn't hand out a large contract to a mid-tier player like the Pelicans keeping center Omer Asik for a Marcin Gortat-like five-year, $60 million deal.

They didn't give away a major contributor just for the sake of moving on like the Pacers dealing Roy Hibbert to the Lakers for a future second-round pick.

In other words, the Wizards haven't really been part of the flashy headlines since free agency opened on July 1. They haven't been one of these team that ends up in many  "Winners and Losers" column. That doesn't mean some haven't had things to say about what's been going on in Chinatown.

Granted, they did lose Paul Pierce, who chose a return home to his native Los Angeles - and a possible title run with the Clippers - over a return to Washington. Yet the Wizards reacted quickly to Pierce's departure without overreacting with the additions of Jared Dudley, Gary Neal and Alan Anderson. Keeping Drew Gooden ensures the bulk of last season' big man rotation remains, though the possible if not apparent loss of Kevin Seraphin weakens the backup center slot. None of these moves involved guaranteed money for next summer, meaning the hunt for Kevin Durant remains. 

As for what others thought about the Wizards' moves in free agency, here's a look from around the league, though with an admitted small sample size. Just not that many league-wide right about those smaller and understated transactions.

Washington: Paul Pierce called game so many times during the postseason that it was easy to overlook a bigger development: The Wizards’ young core was developing and getting better. To be sure, last season was too often a struggle but through the cracks real strengths began to show. John Wall is an elite point guard and he and Bradley Beal are a dynamic backcourt. Otto Porter is ready to assume a larger role and the big man combination should be good enough to compete against the other frontcourts in the East. The Wizards smartly replaced Pierce with three veterans in Jared Dudley, Alan Anderson and Gary Neal. Taken individually none of them can match Truth’s track record, but they signal a necessary change in direction toward a smaller, more versatile team. The Wizards just might be the second best team in the East. Now they need to prove it.

 

 

Washington Wizards: There’s nothing fancy here, but they got Jared Dudley for nothing and Gary Neal for the biannual exception — just over $2 million. Dudley did great work in Milwaukee as a small-ball power forward, but he’s not a full Paul Pierce replacement. He doesn’t have a legacy of big-balls shot-making, and he can’t create shots off the dribble or from the post when a possession is dying.

 

 

But these are smart signings for a team making them on the regular these days. They are one of the few teams left who might realistically spend the full midlevel, and with West off to the Spurs, they have to move on to their second choice.

 

The Wizards didn't ultimately use the full midlevel, but did add Anderson, one of the better free agents remaining at the time of the deal.

 

  • Bobby Marks, a longtime member of NBA front offices and recent Twitter star for his insight into the free agency process appears to like the short and long-term aspects of the Wizards' maneuvers.

 

 

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Fallout from the Kawhi/DeRozan trade; Kevin Love questions

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Fallout from the Kawhi/DeRozan trade; Kevin Love questions

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hugheswas joined by Nick Ashooh to break down the fallout from the trade involving Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan.

They looked at what it means for the Wizards and the East, as well as the Lakers and LeBron. Plus, they took fan questions, many of which centered on Kevin Love and the possibility of a trade to Washington.

You can listen to the episode right here:

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Jeff Green hopes NBA Finals experience with Cavs can rub off on Wizards

Jeff Green hopes NBA Finals experience with Cavs can rub off on Wizards

Jeff Green's basketball résumé got a significant boost this spring and summer as his Cleveland Cavaliers marched all the way to the NBA Finals before they were swept by the Golden State Warriors. It was Green's first time going past the second round of the playoffs and the experience, he says, was invaluable.

Green has come about as close to winning a championship without actually winning one and he certainly hopes to get back in that position. Green believes his new team, the Washington Wizards, have the tools to make a deep playoff run and it's one of the reasons why he signed a free agent deal to join them.

"Being there last year myself with Cleveland, I know it takes a lot. It takes a lot of pieces. I feel like this team has them," he said. "We can get back to that point. When I got the call, I felt like it was the best opportunity for myself to get there."

The Wizards' franchise has not been past the second round of the playoffs since 1979, when they were known as the Bullets. That was before anyone on their roster was born.

But Green pointed to the open Eastern Conference and the talent on the roster as reasons to believe they can accomplish some things that they haven't in decades. They may be capable, but putting it all together is easier said than done.

Green hopes to be one of the glue guys necessary for the Wizards to reach their potential, in part by sharing the lessons he learned.

"Never take it for granted. There are a lot of greats that have never been there," he said. "Getting to the Finals and being part of that was beyond amazing. With the experience and seeing what it took, I can bring that here and get everybody on the same page of knowing what it takes and the sacrifices that you have to do to get to that point."

Green over and over mentioned how it takes a collective effort to go to the conference finals and beyond, but he did show some self-awareness and a sense of humor about his own experience in Cleveland. All teams are different and the one he just left was a unique situation.

"You can’t get there individually. I mean, you can, we did last year. I mean, LeBron [James] carried us all the way there," he joked. "But there’s only one LeBron, but to get there you have to have team unity. You all have to be on the same page and sacrifice to make sure you’re doing what it takes to get the team there. I think that’s the biggest key. It’s not an individual thing… unless you’re LeBron."

If the Wizards are to reach their goals and go to the conference finals or the NBA Finals, they will have to do it differently than the Cavaliers did. They do not have a player on the level of James who can do much of it by himself. But Green said the process of imparting his wisdom has already started.

"I talked to John [Wall]," Green said. "Knowing that he wants to get to the Finals, I was just picking his brain and what he thinks is needed to get there. And me sharing my experience of getting to the Finals and what it takes."

The Wizards have reached a point as an organization where they have the urgency to reach new heights. Green believes he can help them get there.

Listen to our full interview with Jeff Green on the Wizards Tipoff Podcast:

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