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Wizards' Markieff Morris to be a father soon with training camp right around the corner

Wizards' Markieff Morris to be a father soon with training camp right around the corner

Wizards forward Markieff Morris has a lot to look forward to next month besides the start of 2017-18 training camp in Richmond. Morris and his girlfriend are expecting a baby daughter, their first child, with a due date of Sept. 6. Morris has some time, but it will certainly require an adjustment.

Morris feels ready for the challenge.

"It’s just real chill right now. I try to keep her off her feet as much as possible and try to stay by her side," he said. "I'm getting ready for the kid and staying up all night... I'm a laid back-type of guy. I know she’s going to be chill and laid back like me. It can’t be too much."

Morris has been spending much of his offseason back home in Philadelphia along with his twin brother Marcus. They have been training for the new season, a regiment that has included boxing at a local gym. In Philly he recently held his second annual basketball camp and sixth annual backback giveaway.

[RELATED: PODCAST - Morris on Celtics rivalry, NBA video games preview]

Morris was in D.C. over the weekend for another backpack drive, his second annual giveaway in Southeast Washington. Morris arrived at the Ridge Road Community Center and exited a black Range Rover with fellow NBA player Thomas Robinson to a long line of kids and their parents. Inside were tables and tables of backpacks for all ages and both boys and girls. Morris, Robinson and Morris' family members each wore shirts and hats that read F.O.E. (Family Over Everything).

That's a fitting motto for what Morris was trying to accomplish with his charity venture.

"This is like a home to me. My mom is from here. My entire family is from the D.C. area. So, once I got here I knew right away that I had to get in the community," he said. "I just want to give back to the kids. They’re the future. I’m making sure they know that anything is possible. The city needs stuff like this, guys giving back and coming to the city.

"What we try to do is to try to do everything from the inside. We don’t look for sponsors, we aren’t looking for people to broadcast it. We do it on our own. My mom and my uncle actually run the whole thing. Everyone here running the camp is from the community here at the rec center or my family. We just try to keep it that way. We really don’t even want cameras here. We just do it for the kids and the community."

[RELATED: Morris sees Irving's situation with Cavs as 'unfortunate']

Morris, 27, recalls going to Rasheed Wallace's basketball camp when he was a kid. He knows firsthand how meeting an NBA player can inspire a child with basketball dreams.

"I always remember it. I was at Rasheed Wallace’s camp. I think I was about 10 or 11 and I got to interact with him. That’s something that will stick with kids forever. They will never forget that when they get older," he said.

Morris has a lot on his mind these days, but he is heavily focused on getting back to work with the Wizards. He said their Game 7 loss to the Celtics still bothers him and that "I still feel like we're the better team." He thinks "every game is going to be like Game 7" against the Celtics, who now have his brother Marcus on their roster, this upcoming season.

As for what Morris hopes to improve on himself, he's got a few areas in mind.

"Just keep improving on the 3-point shot, scoring more and staying more consistent. I was a little up-and-down this year, but it’s a long season. You have to forget about the 20 games before and just be more consistent. Rebound the ball more and get a little bit more edge on my bones and muscles. I’m a pretty stiff-type guy, so I’ve gotta figure out how to get loose," he said.

[RELATED: Keef and Dolph: an odd couple friendship within the Wizards' organization]

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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. 

 

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?