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Wizards travel to Atlanta to court center/forward Al Horford

Wizards travel to Atlanta to court center/forward Al Horford

Silent for most of the opening of free agency, the Wizards took a trip to Atlanta to make a recruiting pitch to free agent forward/center Al Horford, league sources told CSNmidatlantic.com on Friday night. 

Horford, 30, will command a max offer when he decides. He averaged 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 blocks last season for the Atlanta Hawks, where he has played since 2007 when he was drafted No. 3 overall. 

Horford is a strong Plan B for Washington, which couldn't get a meeting with Kevin Durant, the hottest free agent in the league, but it would have decisions to make if Horford were to accept.

First, Markieff Morris is the starting power forward and Marcin Gortat starts at center. Horford can play both positions and would make significantly more than both. One of them, likely Morris ($7.4 million per year) in this scenario, would go to the bench and be the sixth man. Gortat ($12 million) is effective running pick-and-rolls with John Wall.

Having the 6-10 Horford next to Gortat keeps the Wizards really big but also keeps them flexible. If a team tries to match up with a traditonal power forward on Horford, he can use his quickness and stretch to the three-point line where he shot 34% this season on a career-high 256 attempts. In eight previous seasons, Horford had never taken more than 36 threes and that was in 2014-15. If a team goes with a small player, Horford has the post-up game to take advantage and is an excellent rebounder and passer. 

Morris isn't noted as a three-point shooter but has good mechanics and can double as a stretch option for the Wizards, who then could avoid shelling out $17 million for Ryan Anderson in free agency. That would allow them to save that money and use it elsewhere to retool the roster. These, of course, are all ifs. An answer from Horford won't come until Saturday at the earliest.

Anderson, CSN was told Friday by league sources, met with the Toronto Raptors.

 

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Wizards vs. Trail Blazers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Wizards vs. Trail Blazers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards head to the West Coast to open a road swing against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.

Wizards (0-2) are looking for their first win when the head into Portland to face Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers (2-0).

After this game, the Wizards have a tough stretch ahead of them before playing in D.C. again, playing at: Golden State, Sacramento, LA (Lakers) and Memphis.

WIZARDS vs. TRAIL BLAZERS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Miami Heat, 2018 NBA regular season Game 3
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Ore.
When: 10:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Trail Blazers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Trail Blazers on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the new MyTeams App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. TRAIL BLAZERS TV SCHEDULE

8:30 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

9:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

9:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

10:00 PM: Wizards @ Portland Trail Blazers (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Dwight Howard remains day-to-day with a back injury.
Trail Blazers: None

WIZARDS vs. BLAZERS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, Wizards: After becoming the Wizards franchise leader in 3 points on Saturday, it is likely Beal will have a lot to prove to help the team get its first win.

Otto Porter, Jr., Wizards: Porter has had a slow start, so will he take more shots in Portland?

Damian Lillard, Portland: The Blazers' star is leading the way this season averaging 28.5 ppg and 6.5 assists per game. 

WIZARDS vs. BLAZERS SERIES HISTORY 

Number of all-time Meetings: 111 games
Regular Season Record: Blazers lead 57-54
Last Meeting: Wizards won 106-92 in December 2017

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Dwight Howard 'out' for game vs. Trail Blazers, does not travel with team

Dwight Howard 'out' for game vs. Trail Blazers, does not travel with team

Due to an ongoing buttocks injury, Dwight Howard is listed as "out" for the Wizards' Monday night game in Portland against the Trail Blazers. Howard did not travel out west with the team for the five-game trip, according to NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller.

The news comes just four days after Wizards head coach Scott Brooks told the media that Howard would "definitely" make the trip. 

The veteran power forward was signed to the Wizards on a two-year free-agent deal in July worth $11 million, but has missed the Wizards' first two games of the regular season and all five of the team's preseason games. 

In Howard's absence, Brooks has turned to Ian Mahinmi, but his foul trouble has proved worrisome for the Wizards' lineup so far.

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