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Dwight Howard had setback with back injury, saw specialist

Dwight Howard had setback with back injury, saw specialist

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks shared some ominous news about injured center Dwight Howard on Monday while addressing reporters in New York. Howard, who has yet to participate in practice since the start of training camp, experienced a setback in his recovery from back soreness over the weekend.

Brooks said Howard saw a specialist in New York and will be given an injection to alleviate the pain. Howard was with the team on the road, but has been sent back to Washington to continue his rehab.

This is a tough development for Howard and the Wizards, who are 10 days away from their regular season opener and have only two preseason games remaining. Howard, 32, signed a free agent deal to join the team this summer and his tenure is not off to a good start.

Howard has had a history of back issues, but has been able to stay durable in recent years. He has played at least 71 games in each of the past three seasons and last year missed only one game with the Charlotte Hornets.

If Howard ends up missing time in the regular season, the Wizards will likely go with Ian Mahinmi as their temporary starter. They can also go small by sliding power forward Markieff Morris over to play the five spot.

They can make do in the short-term, but any absence from Howard will be felt, as he was signed to be their starter and replace Marcin Gortat. Howard is also missing valuable time that could be used to develop chemistry with his new teammates.

Howard is entering his 15th NBA season. He signed a two-year deal worth $11 million to join the Wizards in July.

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2019 NBA Draft Simulation: How Duke's Cam Reddish could fall to the Wizards

2019 NBA Draft Simulation: How Duke's Cam Reddish could fall to the Wizards

The June 20 NBA Draft is becoming ever so close, and we've reached our third and final simulation of Wizards draft night.

So far in the first two, Washington has taken Jaxson Hayes and then Jarrett Culver, who shockingly fell to No. 9 last week.

As for this week, here's how the first eight draft selections went:

1. New Orleans - Zion Williamson, PF, Duke 
2. Memphis - Ja Morant, PG, Murray State 
3. New York - RJ Barrett, SG, Duke 
4. Los Angeles - Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt 
5. Cleveland - Sekou Doumbouya, PF, France 
6. Phoenix - Coby White, SG, UNC 
7. Chicago - Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech 
8. Atlanta - De'Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia 

If this scenario ends up being reality, the big win for the Wizards is seeing Cleveland surprise the league take Sekou Doumbouya, who has a lot of upside, but also plenty of questions as an international prospect.

The big name still available here, that would be a perfect fit, is Cam Reddish. 

Coming into this past season at Duke, Reddish was another incredibly hyped prospect, but was mainly underwhelming in his only year with the Blue Devils. 

Pre-draft workouts are where players of Reddish's skillset tend to thrive and he's given the league a chance to see what he's capable of, garnering plenty of Paul George comparisons.

Reddish's 6-8 frame and a multitude of skills on the offensive side would be an instant shot of adrenaline to the Wizards' lineup this fall.

If he's on the board at nine, the organization and fanbase both would be more than happy to hear his name called by commissioner Adam Silver.

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Now that the Lakers got Anthony Davis, could the Knicks and others turn to Bradley Beal?

Now that the Lakers got Anthony Davis, could the Knicks and others turn to Bradley Beal?

With all but one of the brick-and-mortar movie stores closed down, there are really only two instances that you hear the word 'blockbuster' these days: when describing Marvel movies and for the type of trade we saw this weekend between the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers.

The Anthony Davis deal is a blockbuster trade in every sense. It is big in the number of pieces involved and because Davis is one of the best players on the planet.

It is important because it could immediately vault the Lakers into title contention. And it provides a new superteam for the league to revolve around and for people to loathe with the Golden State Warriors currently licking their wounds.

But it is also the type of deal that will have major consequences around the league, one that will affect far more than just the teams at the top. It will force a collection of other teams to redraw their blueprints.

The obvious ones are the Knicks and Celtics, the two teams most closely linked to Davis in trade rumors. Now, it is New York that has more urgency, if not desperation, to strike in free agency. Boston to regroup and will probably need to ponder other trades if they want to reassert themselves in the Eastern Conference.

The Davis trade would be a major deal no matter the year, but it is fascinating to evaluate in the context of Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson's injuries. The league went from being very predictable to a wide open pasture of possibilities.

Now, the Warriors are good still but are also a beatable team. A window of NBA parity is cracking open and surely the Lakers won't be the only team to pounce.

Houston, Philadelphia and Oklahoma City are always aggressive and will clearly be thinking big. Portland and Denver could see this as the year to go all-in.

Not all teams looking to make a splash will have money to spend in free agency. That points to an aggressive trade market this summer, but there is arguably one big problem. After Davis, it doesn't seem likely many other stars will be available.

Teams seeking stars via trade have enjoyed plenty of options in recent years between Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Paul George and Jimmy Butler. The formula is generally fairly simple: an All-Star player on an underachieving team with the end of his contract in sight. Recently, the supply has met the demand.

But currently, few fit that description. There are some like Mike Conley Jr. of the Grizzlies, and Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside of the Heat. But none of those players are All-Stars in their prime.

All of that makes it easy to connect the dots to the Wizards and Bradley Beal. They are in an interesting spot, needing to decide whether to retool for playoff contention or take the long view and undergo some degree of a rebuild.

Beal, as their best player, is the catalyst. There are logical reasons to keep him or to trade him. He is one of the best players in franchise history, is only 25 and he's on a team-friendly contract in the era of the supermax. But the Wizards are going to have a tough time improving their roster with John Wall's Achilles injury and contract, which starts at 35 percent of the salary cap. 

The Wizards have held a stance of not wanting to trade Beal and still do. They also likely wouldn't make such an important decision without a long-term team president in place.

But that won't stop teams from calling and there is already speculation around the league about whether Beal will be dealt. One front office executive told NBC Sports Washington that Beal could be the top prize in the trade market if made available now that Davis is gone. 

For a lot of these situations, trades are more likely when a player is entering his walk year. Beal is signed through the 2020-21 season and, even if he grows unhappy, will say the right things.

He won't create necessary drama. And, if you take him at his word in a February interview with NBC Sports Washington, he wouldn't request a trade himself.

Also, there is a reason to believe keeping Beal wouldn't hurt their ability to rebuild through the draft. With the new lottery system, bottoming out doesn't offer the guarantees that it used to. And even with Beal playing all 82 games last season, the Wizards still lost 50 of them and finished with the sixth-best odds.

Just like some have argued the Wizards have reasons to trade Beal, they also have reasons not to. But that won't stop other teams from picking up the phone.

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