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Wizards' Bradley Beal accepts fine but calls choke of Evan Fournier unintentional

Wizards' Bradley Beal accepts fine but calls choke of Evan Fournier unintentional

A day after Bradley Beal was hit with the first fine from the league office for aggressive behavior -- grabbing Evan Fournier around the throat momentarily in a fracas during a game last week vs. the Orlando Magic -- he accepted it.

"He's a good player. Playing hard. It was just a scuffle, a bunch of people in the mix. Our hands were going places," said Beal, who was physical in defending the shooter in the Wizards' 94-91 win. "Not intentional. It is what it is. We have strict rules in the NBA so we got to abide by them no matter who you are."

It could've been larger than $15,000 but Beal quickly released his hand and didn't attempt to strike Fournier as both rallied to their teammates' side as the Magic's Bismack Biyombo and the Wizards' Kelly Oubre shoved each other after a foul. 

Fournier hurt the Wizards in their first meeting, an 88-86 win for Orlando, and Beal was intent on not letting him have space. He held him to 2-for-9 shooting, and game officials allowed both to be aggressive on one another. Fournier, however, took six foul shots. Beal didn't get any. 

"I didn't want Fournier to catch the ball. I didn't even want him to even breathe a little bit," Beal said about his defense in that game that coach Scott Brooks called his best effort of the season. "It's important. I have to step up. I have it tough every night so each night I got to bring it. It starts with John (Wall) and I. Once we set the pressure, set the tone it just motivates and gets everybody else going."

(Note: The first part of this last quote about not letting him breathe wasn't a joke or said in jest by Beal. Just accidental humor to those listening).

[RELATED: Wizards vs. Kings: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch]

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

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. 



John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

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