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Wittman ready to take on old pal Rivers


Wittman ready to take on old pal Rivers

The friendship between Wizards coach Randy Wittman and Celtics coach Doc Rivers goes back nearly 30 years, but it hasn’t been enough to dampen their competitive fires.

“I want to kick his ass,” Wittman said with a laugh prior to tonight’s home opener against the Celtics at Verizon Center. “And you can tell him that, because I want to tell him that.”

Wittman and Rivers entered the NBA as rookie teammates with the Atlanta Hawks in 1983 and spent five years together as a backcourt duo, leading the Hawks to three straight division titles from 1984-87.

The two parted ways in 1988 when the Hawks traded Wittman and first-round pick Ricky Berry to the Sacramento Kings for Reggie Theus and a third-round pick.

Wittman, 53, went on to play nine seasons in the NBA, finishing with 4,034 points and 1,201 assists. Rivers, 51, played 13 seasons and finished with 9,377 points and 4,889 assists.

Both went into the NBA coaching ranks after their playing days. Wittman has coached parts of seven seasons with the Cavaliers, Timberwolves and Wizards and owns a career record of 118-239 in 357 games.

Rivers began his coaching career with the Orlando Magic in 1999 and has spent the past nine seasons in Boston, leading the Celtics to an NBA title in 2008 and a conference title in 2010. He has a career mark of 546-435 in 981 career games.

The Celtics already have a pair of losses to open their season with their next two games against the Wizards. They face each other again Wednesday night in Boston.

 “We’re great friends and it’s always fun [to face him],” Wittman said. “Doc’s a great coach, obviously. The success he’s had there -- Boston has made the kind of remarkable run you dream about having with the type of players he’s had there. We talk pretty much once a week to see how everybody’s doing.

“But we’re not talking this week.”

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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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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.