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Why Wizards ultimately targeted Bojan Bogdanovic at trade deadline

Why Wizards ultimately targeted Bojan Bogdanovic at trade deadline

The Wizards went into the trade deadline intent on making their bench better, and they were more aggressive than usual as they brought in two solid players from the Brooklyn Nets in Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough on good flexible contracts but had to ship out what likely will be a late first-round 2017 draft pick and two non-rotation players in Andrew Nicholson and Marcus Thornton.

Nicholson signed a four-year, $26 million deal but couldn't stay in coach Scott Brooks' rotation. Expected to be Markieff Morris' backup at power forward, he only appeared in 28 of 55 games games and posted averages of 2.5 points, 1.2 rebounds, 39% field-goal shooting and 19% three-point shooting in 8.3 minutes.

Thornton was in the rotation early and even started once when Bradley Beal was out. But he was so erratic that Brooks opted for rookie Sheldon McClellan despite him being raw and thrust into duty earlier than anticipated.

Thornton was on a one-year veteran minimum contract after re-signing in the summer. He averaged 6.6 points in 33 appearances but after a disastrous start to 2017, in losses at the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, Thornton disappeared. Brooks hadn't used him since, a stretch of 21 consecutive games without a minute on the court. 

MORE WIZARDS: INSIDE THE WIZARDS' MINDSET AT THE TRADE DEADLINE

Why Bogdanovic?

He's a 6-8 small forward in his third NBA season. He averages 14.2 points and shot 35.7% from three-point range on a nine-win team in Brooklyn. His efficiency should improve now that he's playing with better pieces around him in John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Given how problematic Otto Porter's right hip can be, Bogdanovic also is more than capable as a starter. The Wizards have flourished when they've gone to small-ball lineups. How this cuts into Kelly Oubre's time, if at all, is unknown. They're two different players.

Plus Bogdanovic is on a good contract that pays $3.6 million in the final year of his three-year deal. The risk is that there's no long-term committment but the Wizards made this move, CSNmidatlantic.com was told, with "an eye toward the future." Meaning, they're optimistic that they can re-sign him. Because they gave up a first-round pick, they're almost obligated to do so to make it worth the expense.

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76ers' Ben Simmons diagnosed with partial dislocation of the left kneecap

76ers' Ben Simmons diagnosed with partial dislocation of the left kneecap

After exiting the 76ers-Wizards matchup early Wednesday night, Ben Simmons was diagnosed with subluxation of the left patella on Thursday.

Simmons left the game during the third quarter and did not return. The injury occurred after he grabbed an offensive rebound and dribbled to the corner to pass to Al Horford in the post. Following the play, he began flexing his left leg and left for the locker room. Simmons was seen walking gingerly in street clothes minutes later.  

Before leaving the game, Simmons recorded eight points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in 23 minutes.

Simmons’ diagnosis of a partially dislocated kneecap leaves him out indefinitely as he and the team consider treatment options. He has already been ruled out of Philadelphia’s game against the Orlando Magic on Friday. However, his MRI showed no ligament damage in the knee, which leaves him optimistic to return later in the playoffs.

His knee injury is not the only injury Simmons has had to overcome this season. He also missed the final eight games before the NBA’s hiatus with a nerve impingement in his lower back, but fully recovered before the restart began.

Playing without an All-Star player will be a challenge for Philadelphia, but the team has proven successful thus far in Orlando. The Sixers have gone 2-1 in the bubble and currently trail the Indiana Pacers by one game for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and are two games behind the Miami Heat for fourth. 

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Kevin Durant gives his NBA Finals predictions

Kevin Durant gives his NBA Finals predictions

While a number of teams are fighting to be the favorite heading into the NBA Playoffs, the Los Angeles Clippers picked up a key endorsement from Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant.

When asked who he thought will win it all this year, Durant chose the Clippers defeating the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals and upsetting the No. 1 seed Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. 

"They're just so deep," Durant said of the Clippers on “Play For Keeps” podcast. "They haven't had their whole team together at once for a long period of time yet, and that talent is just undeniable. When you have [Paul George] and Kawhi [Leonard] at the wings, that's what you need to win is wings. You got those two at the wings, arguably top three, top four at the wing position on one team."

So far in Orlando, the Clippers have gone 1-2 after defeating the New Orleans Pelicans and falling to the Lakers and Phoenix Suns. As of now, they hold the two-seed in the Western Conference playoff picture and would face the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. However, they are currently just a half a game ahead of the Denver Nuggets with five seeding games remaining.

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The Lakers clinched the one-seed last week and are up six games in the standings over their cross-town rivals.

ESPN’s playoff odds gave the Clippers a 10% chance of winning it all. They ranked third behind the Bucks with a 49.7% chance and the Lakers at 18.7%. 

Durant chose Los Angeles over his own team, the Brooklyn Nets, who are also in a good position to make the playoffs as the current seven-seed in the East Conference. However, the Nets are playing in Orlando without eight players including a number of starters like Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie and Durant, who missed the entire regular season after tearing his Achilles during the 2019 NBA Finals.

If his team retains the seven-seed heading into the playoffs, they would likely face the Toronto Raptors, who Durant projected would fall to Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference Finals.

But regardless of seeding, Durant acknowledged it’s still anyone’s game.

“I hate doing that s---,” he said about predicting a winner. “You never know what could happen – you seen that with us last year.”

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