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Wizards working on early chemistry


Wizards working on early chemistry

Over the years the Wizards have tried several different venues for their annual training camps.

Who can forget Michael Jordans return to the University of North Carolina as a Wizard back in 2001? Or the annual weeklong training camps in Richmond?

For the second time in three years, the Wizards are making George Mason University their early October home. For the next six days, when they are not pounding the Patriot Center hardwood with two-a-day practices, the Wizards can be seen hanging around their nearby hotel and eating in Fairfaxs finest restaurants.

Wizards coach Randy Wittman, who began his NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks in 1983, says its the perfect setting for a team with eight new players -- forwards Trevor Ariza, Earl Barron, Shavlik Randolph, guards Jannero Pargo, Bradley Beal, A.J. Price, Steven Gray and Martell Webster, and center Emeka Okafor.

Im old school, Wittman said Wednesday after running his players through a 2-hour, 10-minute morning session. We lived in dorms back in those days instead of nice hotels. No room service and we had a roommate.

Coming here is great because we dont have to get on an airplane or drive three hours somewhere. Its far enough away where we have total concentration on one thing and thats camp.

Second-year forward Chris Singleton laughed at the suggestion the Wizards are getting way from it all in northern Virginia.

This is away from everything? he asked. Were 15 minutes away. If you know people, you can get out of here. Wittman has given us freedom. But we eat together, train together, its good. The chemistry is a lot better than last year. Everybody loves it.

Pargo, who was signed on Monday as a temporary replacement for John Wall, said hes happy to get the chance to meet his new teammates in a college-type setting.

Guys want to get together and hang out in their rooms, play games and just get to know each other on a personal level, he said. I think its very important. When you build that friendship and that camaraderie it shows out there on the court. If my guy gets beat, thats my guy and Im going to be there for him and I want him to be there for me.

That camaraderie is something Singleton says was missing last year and in the early part of the season the disconnect showed. The Wizards opened the season by losing 15 of their first 17 games.

Last year, at the beginning of camp, more people were out for numbers, Singleton said. This season, we want to win. We want to try to get people into the Verizon Center. I think were really gelling together. Were actually hanging out together off the court. And youll see us together all the time in the community.

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Elena Delle Donne the favorite to win WNBA MVP, according to league GMs

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Elena Delle Donne the favorite to win WNBA MVP, according to league GMs

Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne is one of the best players in the WNBA, and thus is always in the discussion for MVP honors. 

And heading into the 2019 season, league GMs give her the best chance of anyone to actually hoist the trophy when it's all said and done. 

In a WNBA.com survey of general managers, 42 percent picked Delle Donne to win MVP in 2019. Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury had the second-most votes at 25 percent, followed by A’ja Wilson of Las Vegas Aces at 17 percent then Las Vegas' Liz Cambage and Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun at eight percent. 

Delle Donne won her first and only WNBA MVP award in 2015 as a member of the Chicago Sky when she averaged a career-high 23.4 points per game. And with the Mystics set to make another run at the WNBA title (58 percent of GMs predicted Washington to have the most regular season wins in the Eastern Conference), she has a great opportunity to get her second this season. 


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Explained: What is an NBA supermax contract and how does it work?

Explained: What is an NBA supermax contract and how does it work?

As All-NBA teams are announced and franchises have to make decisions about contract extensions, fans will see the term "supermax contract" thrown around a lot. 

Here's a quick primer with everything you need to know about the NBA's most lucrative player deals. 

What is a supermax contract?

Officially known as the "Designated Veteran Player Extension," this rule allows teams to re-sign qualified players to maximum five-year contracts worth up to 35 percent of the salary cap with eight percent escalation in each subsequent year.

The length of the supermax deal depends on the player's years of NBA experience and years remaining on his current contract. 

  • A qualified player who has completed seven or eight years of service and has two years left on his contract is eligible for a four-year supermax (keeping the player with the same team for a total of six seasons)
  • A qualified player who has completed seven or eight years of service and has one year left on his contract is eligible for a five-year supermax (keeping the player with the same team for a total of six seasons)
  • A qualified free agent who has completed eight or nine years of service is eligible for a five-year supermax 

Furthermore, teams cannot trade a supermax player for the first year after he signs the contract.  

How much is a supermax contract worth?

Valued up to 35 percent of the salary cap in the initial year and subject to eight percent escalation in each subsequent year, these deals are mammoth money.

For example, the Wizards signed John Wall to a four-year supermax in the summer of 2017 when he had two years left on his contract. The supermax money begins in 2019-20 and pays Wall $38.15 million that year. With annual escalations, his supermax is worth $170.912 million over the four-year lifetime of the deal. 

According to a report by Yahoo's Chris Haynes, Damian Lillard—who has two years remaining on his current deal with the Trail Blazers and is expected to be named to an All-NBA team—will be offered a four-year supermax extension worth roughly $191 million this summer. 

Who is eligible to sign a supermax contract?

Very few players qualify for a supermax contract. First, only a player that has (or will have) completed eight years of NBA service by the end of his current contract is eligible to sign a supermax deal, which can only be offered by the team that drafted him or traded for his rookie contract. 

Then, a player must meet one of the following three criteria.

  • Be named to an All-NBA team in the most recent season or both seasons before it
  • OR, be named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the most recent season or both seasons before it
  • OR, be named NBA MVP in any of the three previous seasons

Which players have received supermax contracts?

  • Stephen Curry - Golden State Warriors
  • James Harden - Houston Rockets
  • Russell Westbrook - Oklahoma City Thunder
  • John Wall - Washington Wizards

Who could receive a supermax contract this summer?

Anthony Davis is already eligible for a supermax offer from the Pelicans. And depending on the All-NBA, DPOY and MVP selections, the following players also could receive supermax offers:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo - Milwaukee Bucks
  • Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers
  • Klay Thompson - Golden State Warriors
  • Kemba Walker - Charlotte Hornets
  • Andre Drummond - Detroit Pistons
  • Bradley Beal - Washington Wizards 

What are the drawbacks to supermax deals?

The supermax contract was designed to help teams retain their players by allowing them to offer significantly more money than the competition; however, teams that offer such contracts are squeezing themselves in terms of salary cap room to fill out their rosters. 

No franchise can carry more than two supermax players at 35 percent of the cap each. Functionally, though, it's difficult for a team to have more than one.

Two supermax players would account for 70 percent of a team's salary in any given year, leaving the club virtually unable to sign a competitive supporting cast.