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Wizards have mixed feelings about how this season ended, but say next year must be different

Wizards have mixed feelings about how this season ended, but say next year must be different

There are so many factors to weigh in determining whether the Wizards' 2016-17 season was a success or a disappointment. The expectations were set and reset multiple times coming off a 2015-16 season where they missed the playoffs, then after a stunning 2-8 start and then throughout a magical run that ended with a second round playoff exit.

The Wizards' season was a mixed bag of various extremes. Because of that, the players have differing opinions in evaluating what happened.

"Overall, I think it was a good season," guard Bradley Beal said. "As disappointing as we can call it, we can still take a lot of good out of it... We were able to advance further in the playoffs than we've ever been."

"I feel like we could have gone farther. It was a disappointing season," forward Otto Porter said. "In our minds, we could have gotten to the Finals to contend for a championship."

The Wizards' season technically ended just like it did in the 2014 and 2015 playoffs, in the second round and just short of a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals. There were, however, many reasons to think this team was better than those teams and thus this year represented not only a step in the right direction, but brand new ground in the John Wall era.

[RELATED: Wall's All-NBA nod puts him among best in franchise history]

They got to 49 wins and won their division, both firsts for the franchise since 1978-79. They found considerable success under new head coach Scott Brooks, reaching a new level offensively. Most on their roster took noticeable steps forward in their development, everyone from Wall and Beal to Porter and Kelly Oubre, Jr. Wall's improvement earned him All-NBA honors for the first time in his career.

Still, the Wizards wanted more than what they ended up achieving. Especially towards the end of the season, as they battled for positioning in the East during the regular season, got past the Hawks in the first round and battled closely with the Celtics, they dreamt big. At one point even the Cavaliers looked vulnerable. Some wondered if this could be the Wizards' year to do some real damage in the playoffs.

Reality ultimately struck and the Wizards were left in a familiar spot. But here's what we know is different about this time around: next year a second round exit will almost certainly not be good enough. They want to go reach at least the conference finals and anything less will not do.

"I'm tired of being in this situation. I'm tired of losing in the second round," Beal said. "Next season it will be totally different. We have to remember the feeling we have right now and be better next year."

"Now our expectations are a lot higher," forward Markieff Morris said. "Especially having a year under our belt with this group."

Whether the Wizards can get to the conference finals or beyond next spring will depend on many things between health, improvement from within and the roster adjustments they make. But the goal is clear and the Wizards will have to wait a full calendar year to get their next shot at it.

[RELATED: Wall should have been All-NBA 2nd team over Isaiah Thomas]

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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. 

 

RELATED LINKS: 

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? 

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

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USA Today Sports Images

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.

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