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Wall, Beal expected for upcoming Team USA workouts?


Wall, Beal expected for upcoming Team USA workouts?

John Wall and Bradley Beal, based on previous participation, remain part of USA Basketball Men's National Team Roster. Therefore, both members of the Washington Wizards starting backcourt are expected to show in Las Vegas August 11-13 for Team USA's mini-camp -- along with approximately 39 other NBA players dreaming of playing in the 2016 Olympics. In less than three weeks we'll find out if they do, participate in the mini-camp that is.

Neither Wall nor Beal made the gold medalist 2014 World Championship squad headlined by Stephen Curry, James Harden and Anthony Davis. Kevin Durant was among those who withdrew their names from consideration. Pacers forward Paul George reportedly still wants to play for Team USA despite suffering a gruesome leg injury during an intrasquad exhibition ahead of the World Championships. 

USA Basketball extended invitation to seven new players ahead of July's mini-camp, including Orlando guard and former DeMatha product Victor Oladipo, ESPN's Marc Stein reported. Harrison Barnes, Trey Burke, Jimmy Butler, Mike Conley, Draymond Green and Tobias Harris also received invitations. 

That mini-group joins the much larger group of existing Team USA members: LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, Beal, Tyson Chandler, DeMarcus Cousins, Curry, Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Durant, Kenneth Faried, Rudy Gay, George, Blake Griffin, Harden, Gordon Hayward, Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Kyle Korver, David Lee, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, Kevin Love, Paul Millsap, Chandler Parsons, Chris Paul, Mason Plumlee, Derrick Rose, Klay Thompson, Wall, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams.

Seeing as other prominent names don't appear, including veterans Chris Bosh and Kobe Bryant, plus youthful options like Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor and D'Angelo Russell, don't assume this list is set in stone.

The 2014 roster included Curry, Cousins, Davis, DeRozan, Drummond, Faried, Gay, Harden, Irving, Plumlee, Rose and Thompson.  Even some of those players could struggle for a return if the likes of James and Durant want in for 2016. Durant and Irving are among the group of currently injured players expected in Las Vegas to be with the team, but not participate in practice or the "showcase" on August 13.

Wall was both a late invitation and among the final cuts ahead of the 2014 World Championships. Speaking with CSNwashington.com after a few days after learning his fate, the point guard wished Team USA the best in pursuit of a gold medal, but added, "You want to make every team you try out for. When you don’t, it’s more motivation for me. ...I guess I’m overlooked again." That motivation helped fuel his second straight All-Star berth as he finished the season averaging 17.6 points and 10.0 assists.

Beal, who turned 22 in June, didn't play at an All-Star level during the 2014-15 regular season, but shined in the playoffs against the Raptors and Hawks.

Three days of practices and scrimmages shouldn't be terribly taxing, but rest is something to consider for Wall and Beal considering both dealt with injuries last season. Wall missed playoff games against the Hawks after fracturing his wrist. Leg injuries for a third straight season limited Beal.

It's doubtful anything that whatever happens in Las Vegas next month makes a huge impact on the 2016 roster other than perhaps not showing in Las Vegas next month. While some on the roster are clear standouts, we're looking at a super deep group of talent. Essentially every player could justifiably make the roster, which makes projecting Wall and Beal among the final 12 dicey, though not impossible. 

Plenty of time for roster predictions remain. Let's first see who shows up.

UPDATE: Reports of those expected in Vegas started pouring out Sunday afternoon. This one has Beal participating.

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Wizards plan to introduce Dwight Howard Monday

Wizards plan to introduce Dwight Howard Monday

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 



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By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime? 

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks in three-team deal, but not likely to stay

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks in three-team deal, but not likely to stay

The stage has been set for Carmelo Anthony to hit free agency, as the 10-time All-Star was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday in a three-team deal, one that will lead to a subsequent buyout of his contract. ESPN first reported the news and noted that the Rockets are the favorites to sign him.

The full deal sends Dennis Schroder from the Hawks to the Thunder in exchange for Anthony and a protected first-round pick, and sends Mike Muscala from Atlanta to Philly. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will go to the Thunder from Philly and Justin Anderson will go from the Sixers to the Hawks.

That's a complicated deal, but it ultimately frees Anthony up to choose a new team. He was set to make $27.9 million from the Thunder next season, but the Hawks are footing the bill to let him walk.

Anthony's skills have declined now that he's 34 years old. Last season, he averaged 16.2 points on 40.4 percent shooting, way down from the 22.4 points he averaged the season before with the Knicks.

Still, Anthony could help a team looking for a scoring punch and the Rockets would like some more help in their quest to take down the Warriors. If he signs there, he will join friend Chris Paul and the 2017-18 MVP, James Harden. 

Houston has been the logical landing spot for Anthony ever since news broke that the Thunder were looking for a way out of his contract. If he doesn't go there, perhaps the Lakers would make sense. LeBron James is going to need a lot more help than the roster he currently has around him to make some noise in the crowded Western Conference.