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Wizards training camp notebook: Wittman in no rush


Wizards training camp notebook: Wittman in no rush

On day three of training camp and with the first preseason game fast approaching, Wizards coach Randy Wittman gave his players their first real "extended minutes" of the week, scrimmage style. The Patriot Center scoreboard kept count, refs made calls and several hundred season ticket holders watched from the stands inside the Patriot Center as the "white" team downed the "blue" squad.

The meaningless result - 32 to 14, for those keeping score - had some notable moments, like Cartier Martin draining bomb after bomb and Jordan Crawford receiving extended minutes at point guard due to another playmaker besides John Wall watching the proceedings from the sideline.

One of the players potentially in line to replace the injured Wall. guard A.J. Price, turned in a solid if not at times impressive performance playing largely with those expected to start at Cleveland on opening night.

That's not to say he will be in the same scenario during practices on Friday or Saturday as overall no discernible lineup or rotation pattern was evident. The coach confirmed the observation.

For a team with several new pieces and two main cogs - Wall and Nene - out of action, trial and error is part of the plan.

Wittman, directing his first camp as Wizards head coach, was also quick to point out after practice that he's not rushing the game planning process simply because the semi-real game on Sunday at Charlotte is fast approaching. There is a big picture to ponder. Implementing the offensive plays sets and the defensive plays the team hopes will carry them throughout the season will come when the time is right.

"Sunday is too quick, five days (from camp opening)," Wittman said. "I'm not going to rush getting everything in where they can't get comfortable doing one thing and have 20 things in (the game plan) because we're playing a game. We're going to do it the right way with these guys, how much they can handle, how far how along we are in the next couple of weeks."

Along with Martin, who drained at least two 3-pointers and another long jumper during the 30 minutes of action, the winning side included Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal, Trevor Booker, Price, Earl Barron and Brian Cook.

Booker, known as an energy player, often served as one-man press, consistently slowing down the "blue" squad's attempts to push the ball or at times even to complete an inbounds pass.

With Jannero Pargo limited after he, according to Wittman, "got his ribs banged a little bit," Crawford often moved over to the lead guard role with Martell Webster and others playing alongside. As evidenced by the lopsided score, his side rarely found its way to offensive success. That led to the occasional frustration-fueled yelp, though the squad's limited production is not a reflection on Crawford's combo guard potential.

His reputation is that of a volume shooter, a reputation Crawford built on during Monday's media day on when in reference to the Wizards numerous injuries last season he said, "If you go in an arena with eight players, who else is gonna shoot?"

Yet Crawford has shown flashes of being a viable distributor. In fact, it may come as a surprise to some that he averaged 3.0 assists last season and nearly four a game following the trade with Atlanta during his rookie season.

The rising third-year guard's game has continued to evolve during the early stages of camp.

"He's made a concentrated effort to get to that next step so far, there is no question about it," Wittman said. "It's been a positive seeing what he's done. Now he just has to continue to grow. He's going to have nights of frustration. How he handles that, does he regress back or does he move forward... He's been a real positive this camp."

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Pelicans reportedly trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a huge haul including Lonzo Ball

Pelicans reportedly trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a huge haul including Lonzo Ball

According to a report from ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired Pelicans' forward Anthony Davis in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and multiple first-round draft picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

The announcement comes less than 48 hours into the NBA offseason, although the rumors and speculation of the deal has been a prominent storyline for months.

The much-anticipated deal gives the Lakers the star they've been trying to pair with LeBron James for some time and gives the Pelicans a young nucleus to build around the presumptive No. 1 pick Zion Williamson. 

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Boston Celtics refused to part ways with promising forward Jayson Tatum in a potential trade with New Orleans.

The Celtics had been in the mix for Davis, but with Kyrie Irving likely headed for the exits, Danny Ainge was unwilling to part with his young assets in exchange for the one year remaining on Davis' contract.

Before the Davis domino fell, NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes wrote about how a Davis trade could impact Bradley Beal's value

The Lakers, Knicks and Celtics all appear to want Davis and only one can get him, if he is even traded at all.

If the quest for Davis comes down to those three teams, there will be at least two that lose out.

The Knicks or Celtics now must determine whether trading for Beal is their next-best option behind Davis. 


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Report suggests Barack Obama is trying to recruit Masai Ujiri to Wizards

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Report suggests Barack Obama is trying to recruit Masai Ujiri to Wizards

The Wizards are reportedly preparing to make Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri a massive offer to run Washington's NBA franchise. And they may have some big-time help recruiting him to D.C. 

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, is trying to persuade Ujiri to leave the NBA champions to join the Wizards, according to The Athletic's Ethan Strauss. 

"I hear Barack Obama's a part of that whole Masai recruitment to D.C.," Strauss said on a recent episode of the "Back To Back" podcast. "I've heard Obama wants Masai in D.C. Obama wants to do something with basketball."

Obama and Ujiri are close friends. Obama was in attendance at Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Toronto, while Ujiri attended the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2015 when Obama was in office. 

The Wizards' potential offer for Ujiri is reportedly for six years, $60 million, and could possibly include an ownership stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment and other responsibilities within the company, sources have told NBC Sports Washington. 

And hey, it doesn't hurt to have the former Commander in Chief making your sales pitch.