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Wizards learn Las Vegas summer league schedule next month


Wizards learn Las Vegas summer league schedule next month

After the NBA draft opens later this month and free agency kicks off July 1, the Wizards will take the third step in reforming for the 2015-16 season with NBA Summer League play in Las Vegas as the schedule was released Tuesday.

Summer league play in Las Vegas runs July 10-20 at Cox Pavilion and Thomas and Mack Center on the campus of UNLV. There will be 23 NBA teams and a D-League Select team competing with rosters filled with rookies, players on rookie scale contracts and free-agent hopefuls trying to secure contracts.

The Wizards will play July 11 vs. the Phoenix Suns (6 p.m. ET); July 12 vs. D-League Select (4) and July 14 vs. the Dallas Mavericks (3:30). They'll also play at least two more games to be determined after first-round action of the tournament is completed.

Last year, with Otto Porter and Glen Rice, the Wizards advanced to the final game of the tournament. But this event was best known what happens in free agency around it. Soon after Trevor Ariza decided to leave for the Houston Rockets, the Wizards signed Paul Pierce as a free agent -- during the course of a game.

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Porter made the all-tournament team last year and Rice was named the most valuable player. Rice was released by the Wizards by the midseason point and has remained in the D-League since then.

Coach Randy Wittman typically stays behind the scenes during summer league and allows his assistants to coach the team. That'll likely fall to Don Newman who had shared the role with former Wizards assistant Sam Cassell. The Wizards have to secure their roster in the coming weeks, will hold a minicamp at Verizon Center with the group and then will leave for the tournament.

The New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks will be the first game to start summer league play on July 10 at 6 p.m. ET. In the second game, the teams with the top two draft picks later this month, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers, will square off.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Fallout from the Kawhi/DeRozan trade; Kevin Love questions

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Fallout from the Kawhi/DeRozan trade; Kevin Love questions

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hugheswas joined by Nick Ashooh to break down the fallout from the trade involving Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan.

They looked at what it means for the Wizards and the East, as well as the Lakers and LeBron. Plus, they took fan questions, many of which centered on Kevin Love and the possibility of a trade to Washington.

You can listen to the episode right here:

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Jeff Green hopes NBA Finals experience with Cavs can rub off on Wizards

Jeff Green hopes NBA Finals experience with Cavs can rub off on Wizards

Jeff Green's basketball résumé got a significant boost this spring and summer as his Cleveland Cavaliers marched all the way to the NBA Finals before they were swept by the Golden State Warriors. It was Green's first time going past the second round of the playoffs and the experience, he says, was invaluable.

Green has come about as close to winning a championship without actually winning one and he certainly hopes to get back in that position. Green believes his new team, the Washington Wizards, have the tools to make a deep playoff run and it's one of the reasons why he signed a free agent deal to join them.

"Being there last year myself with Cleveland, I know it takes a lot. It takes a lot of pieces. I feel like this team has them," he said. "We can get back to that point. When I got the call, I felt like it was the best opportunity for myself to get there."

The Wizards' franchise has not been past the second round of the playoffs since 1979, when they were known as the Bullets. That was before anyone on their roster was born.

But Green pointed to the open Eastern Conference and the talent on the roster as reasons to believe they can accomplish some things that they haven't in decades. They may be capable, but putting it all together is easier said than done.

Green hopes to be one of the glue guys necessary for the Wizards to reach their potential, in part by sharing the lessons he learned.

"Never take it for granted. There are a lot of greats that have never been there," he said. "Getting to the Finals and being part of that was beyond amazing. With the experience and seeing what it took, I can bring that here and get everybody on the same page of knowing what it takes and the sacrifices that you have to do to get to that point."

Green over and over mentioned how it takes a collective effort to go to the conference finals and beyond, but he did show some self-awareness and a sense of humor about his own experience in Cleveland. All teams are different and the one he just left was a unique situation.

"You can’t get there individually. I mean, you can, we did last year. I mean, LeBron [James] carried us all the way there," he joked. "But there’s only one LeBron, but to get there you have to have team unity. You all have to be on the same page and sacrifice to make sure you’re doing what it takes to get the team there. I think that’s the biggest key. It’s not an individual thing… unless you’re LeBron."

If the Wizards are to reach their goals and go to the conference finals or the NBA Finals, they will have to do it differently than the Cavaliers did. They do not have a player on the level of James who can do much of it by himself. But Green said the process of imparting his wisdom has already started.

"I talked to John [Wall]," Green said. "Knowing that he wants to get to the Finals, I was just picking his brain and what he thinks is needed to get there. And me sharing my experience of getting to the Finals and what it takes."

The Wizards have reached a point as an organization where they have the urgency to reach new heights. Green believes he can help them get there.

Listen to our full interview with Jeff Green on the Wizards Tipoff Podcast: