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Wizards not buying Paul Millsap's MMA critique after Game 1 win vs. Hawks

Wizards not buying Paul Millsap's MMA critique after Game 1 win vs. Hawks

For the first time this season, a team has accused the Wizards of being too physical. Paul Millsap fired those shots after his Atlanta Hawks lost Game 1 despite a 39-17 edge in attempted free throws, accusing them of "playing MMA."

"We just came out ready to play. We were physical," said Marcin Gortat, who battled Dwight Howard in the low post in Sunday's 114-107 victory. "We had a few possessions where we hit them during boxouts, fighting for the ball. We were pushing harder. I'm not going to get into what he said. It is what it is. That's our job. We're going to go out there and fight to get a win."

On more than one occasion the Wizards lamented the lack of foul calls and free-throw attempts. The Jan. 11 loss to the Boston Celtics stands out the most. They only were called for 10 fouls in beating Washington 117-108. 

[RELATED: Millsap thinks trash talking by Morris, Wizards a trap for Hawks]

John Wall was so ticked off he set a career-high with 15 technical fouls in the regular season. Millsap drew the first foul on Markieff Morris just 17 seconds into the game but couldn't get him in any serious trouble.

"It wasn't even close to MMA. That's what he said. I'm not going to get into what he said. I truly don't pay attention to what they say," Gortat said. "I don't pay attention to what media say. I don't pay attention to what my friends and my mom and my dad is going to say because they have no idea about basketball."

It's an about-face to the Wizards first playoff run in 2014 when players were irate over how many national media picked against them in a first-round series with the Chicago Bulls. 

Wizards coach Scott Brooks probably has a lot to do with them avoiding giving the Hawks any bulletin board material going into Wednesday's Game 2 at Verizon Center. They don't want to create any drama up 1-0 in the series.

"I did see that," Brooks said of Millsap's MMA remark. "I don't really get too much involved with what other teams and players say about the referees. Just focus on what we do. It's a physical game. I don't see anything we did out of the ordinary that would make anybody think differently. It's the playoffs. We did what we needed to do, win our home game. I don't get involved in any of that stuff."

After Gortat threw down a dunk on Millsap with 3:08 left in the fourth quarter, he was hit with a technical foul for screaming and giving the Polish Hammer sign in his face.

"You can get rid of the hammer," Brooks said. "When he finishes with dunks, I like that. The hammer? That's his thing. It's fun. You just don't want to do it in front of a guy."

[RELATED: Wizards hold out two from practice due to injury]

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How Al Horford opting out could affect Bradley Beal

How Al Horford opting out could affect Bradley Beal

NBA free agency madness has started early this year. Just hours after it was reported Tuesday that Al Horford would opt out of his current contract to negotiate a more cap-friendly one for the Celtics, he's had a charge of heart. 

If Horford leaves, would it make it more or less likely that the Celtics make the Wizards an offer for Bradley Beal? 

According to Sports Illustrated NBA Insider Chris Mannix, who appeared on NBC Sports Boston this week, made the possible case for Boston to pursue the two-time All-Star in a trade.

Ted Leonsis, the owner in Washington, loves Bradley Beal, but a new GM could walk in there and say look, I've got John Wall probably not playing next season. Bradley Beal has three years left on his contract. He is an enormously valuable trade asset. Can you get a Bradley Beal without throwing a Jayson Tatum in a trade? I don't know. But Bradley Beal is the next big star, I think, that could be available.

The Wizards are reportedly reluctant to part with Beal, but that doesn't mean there's a lack of buzz. In fact, they plan to offer him a three-year, $111 million extension when he's eligible in July, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The Pelicans have shown sincere interest, according to NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig, and there is speculation surrounding the Knicks, yet the Wizards have stood pat.

When it comes to the NBA offseason, however, Kevin Garnett said it best: anything is possible. 

The Celtics have the assets to make a realistic offer. They own three first-round selections in the draft—14, 20 and 22—along with two blue-chip prospects in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

But much of it could hinge on Horford's decision.

The Celtics' most consistent player over the past three years, losing Horford would be a poor start to what looks like a possibly dreary offseason for the Celtics. If the Celtics strike out in free agency and Washington decides to move Beal, perhaps a trade would be Boston's big swing.

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Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

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USA Today

Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

This summer is shaping up to be lucrative for NBA free agents and big man Bobby Portis is well-positioned to cash in. After spending the final three months of the 2018-19 season with the Wizards, Portis is already seeing a healthy market develop ahead of the June 30 start of the league's negotiating period, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

The Wizards are likely to first extend a qualifying offer on June 30 to make him a restricted free agent. According to Spotrac.com, it will be about $3.6 million and that will give the Wizards the right to match an offer sheet from another franchise.

But teams are already indicating they want Portis, who is just 24 and coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in 50 games. That market includes 5-10 teams and could grow once free agency opens.

Portis is expected to draw interest from the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks, Magic and Knicks among others, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Despite restricted free agency, Portis has a few things working for him. For one, there are a lot of teams with cap room. Spending won't reach 2016 levels, when the new CBA spiked the salary cap, but there will a lot of money to go around.

Also, guys in Portis' tier will only be helped if the top free agent options continue to dwindle. Klay Thompson looks more likely than ever to stay in Golden State after tearing his ACL. Winning a title could increase the odds Kawhi Leonard re-signs in Toronto, according to reports. And Kevin Durant's torn Achilles has thrown a wrench into the plans of teams with the most money to spend.

There is also the possibility Kemba Walker stays in Charlotte. And Kyrie Irving signing with Brooklyn, if it happens, would leave others exploring backup plans.

Portis isn't directly competing with any of those players, but could benefit if the top options are off the market. His name will only move up the list if that is the case.

Portis also has a unique selling point going for him. He shot 39.3 percent from three this past season and held a 40.3 percent clip to close the year in his 28 games with the Wizards. Three-point shooting is more valuable than ever and he brings that to the table at 6-foot-10.

Portis, who averaged 3.8 three-point attempts per game this past season, was one of only six players 6-10 or taller to shoot at least 39 percent on 3.5 attempts or more (min. 50 G). 

The question for Portis will be whether he gets the money he wants. He turned down an extension with the Chicago Bulls last fall just hours before the deadline to sign one. According to the Chicago Tribune, the deal was worth about $50 million and he wants to be paid in the range of $16 million annually. His asking price was partly why the Bulls traded him to the Wizards in February.

Even if the Wizards clear money, and they are expected to free up some by declining Jabari Parker's $20 million team option by the June 29 deadline, Portis could price himself out of Washington. It might not even take $16 million per year for that to happen.

The Wizards are set to operate through free agency with interim team president Tommy Sheppard at the helm, as the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. Sheppard making the call increases Portis' odds of staying, but that doesn't mean the price will match for both sides.

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