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Dwight Howard says winning with Wizards would mean more for his legacy than with Warriors

Dwight Howard says winning with Wizards would mean more for his legacy than with Warriors


While meeting with reporters following his introductory press conference in July, Wizards' center, Dwight Howard, dropped the news that the defending-champion Golden State Warriors had also reached out, and that he chose the Wizards in part because of John Wall's recruitment

This week, Howard shared some more details about why he liked Washington over Golden State. Howard believes winning with the Wizards would do more for his legacy than winning with the Warriors, who already have a title team in place.

"I just think Golden State, they've won a couple championships in the past couple of years. So, me going there and winning it's like 'well, you went to a team that's already won.'  In D.C., I think the last time the Wizards won they were the Bullets if I'm not mistaken. So, I think that impact would be bigger for the city," he said.

Howard was correct in saying the franchise has not won an NBA title since they were the Bullets. Their lone championship came following the 1977-78 season.

The Wizards/Bullets, in fact, haven't advanced past the second round of the playoffs since the year after that, when they lost in the 1979 NBA Finals. There is no question Washington is more starved for an NBA winner than Golden State, as the Warriors are in the midst of one of the most dominant dynasties in the league's history.

In comparing the Warriors' recent success to the past few decades in Bullets/Wizards history, there is certainly a major contrast. But Howard citing the potential criticism of winning with the Warriors is interesting, in that it's a departure from the stars who have joined them like Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins.

Durant has become vilified by many fans and even other players for his decision to join the Warriors after they were already a title team. Cousins is likely to be looped into that, if he gets a ring this season.

Howard, 32, hasn't won a championship in his career, but he has been to the Finals, having led the Orlando Magic there in 2009. He has already visualized what it would be like to have a deep playoff run in Washington, D.C.

"I saw what the Nationals did, the [Capitals] and the Mystics. I watched what they did for the city. For all of us who are on this team, it would be crazy," he said.

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Brian Windhorst: 'The vote tomorrow is not going to decide whether or not there is NBA basketball'

Brian Windhorst: 'The vote tomorrow is not going to decide whether or not there is NBA basketball'

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the next news to come out of the NBA world will not be if there's basketball - it will be if it's safe to play basketball.

“We’ve had a very long run of dark days, and this is a good moment. I don’t want to rain on that moment," he told Mike Tirico on NBC Sports' Lunch Talk Live. "The vote of owners tomorrow is not going to decide whether or not there is NBA basketball. I know that’s what it’s going to seem like. What is going to decide NBA basketball is if the virus continues to recede…I’m already sensing that people are forgetting the whole reason it is going on this way, and that is safety.”

While global riots in response to the murder of George Floyd have one-upped the coronavirus pandemic in major news cycles, Florida, where the NBA is reportedly planning to resume play, saw it's largest daily number of new COVID-19 cases since mid-April. 

Another health concern that has risen in return to play conversations is that of physical shape -- not all players have had access to personal basketball courts and training facilities during this time of nationwide quarantine. 

“Everybody that you talk to in the NBA on the training side are worried about these players who went cold turkey or vastly reduced their normal workout loads and haven’t been able to play any five-on-five basketball," Windhorst said.  

"They all have said you have to have time to build back up.”

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After reports with more details on the timeline surfaced, the next order of business will be to figure out how the eight-game schedule, prior to the play-in games/playoffs, would be assorted. Windhorst had a very strong opinion on the proposed idea of teams just finishing out the remainder of their schedule with the 21 teams eligible to play. 

"This schedule is going to be unfair," Windhorst said. "There’s 13 teams in the West playing eight games. Guess what? Not everyone is going to play the same schedule."

"There’s going to be an inherent unfairness and fans and teams are going to complain about it and they’re all going to be right, but they’re all going to have deal with it," he continued. "My expectation is that there will be five or six games per day…I think you could have afternoon playoff basketball."

Possibly the biggest takeaway from Windhort's appearance on Lunch Talk Live was the fact that Thursday's vote should go fairly seamlessly and unanimously. 

“Adam Silver has kept (President of NBAPA Chris Paul and Executive Director of NBAPA Michele Roberts) alongside the entire way here," Windhorst reported.

"Michele Roberts is so confident in the working relationship with Adam Silver that she said she doesn’t even think they’ll take a vote."

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No, John Wall will not play this season under the new NBA format

No, John Wall will not play this season under the new NBA format

The first question for a lot of Wizards fans hearing the news the NBA plans to return in late July and with a format that could put Washington in the playoffs may be how this affects John Wall. The season delay has allowed Wall more time to recover from his Achilles surgery, and now that the playoffs are seemingly more possible for the Wizards than they were previously, it's fair to ask.

But the answer remains the same. Wall, in fact, did a radio interview just this week on the Team 980 where he said he is not playing and the question was within the context of the new format.

Here's what Wall said:

"I won't play at all. I will wait until next season. The decision has been already made. No, I'm not," he said.

Wall was reiterating what he and the Wizards have said for months, including at different stops along the way as the NBA has floated other return-to-play scenarios. As he and general manager Tommy Sheppard have explained it, bringing Wall back after all this time off away from the team is just not as easy as it may sound.

They have a plan and are sticking to it. They are looking past this season for Wall, hoping the extra time will help him come back healthy and also preserve the investment they have made in him with a supermax contract.

There is also an element to this that isn't often being mentioned. If the Wizards made the playoffs and got past the eighth seed to qualify for the first round, they would play a Bucks team that was on pace for one of the best records in history. The Wizards would likely be knocked out quickly by them, if not easily.

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Is it worth bringing Wall back for that likely result? He would be thrown into the fire after 20 months off. Remember, he hasn't played since December of 2018.

Wall would have to, on a surgically repaired Achilles, get up to speed very quickly and then play in high-intensity games. If he waits until the 2020-21 season, he would get preseason games to work out the kinks, then essentially be in the same boat as everyone else at the beginning of the regular season campaign.

Also, it's logical to expect Wall to be on a minutes limit initially and be held out of back-to-backs. A truncated schedule of games would present a difficult scenario for him and the training staff. 

Add it all up and it just doesn't make much sense, beyond the fact the Wizards have been adamant he won't play. Unless it has all been a ruse, or something changes, don't expect to see Wall this year.

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