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Dwight Howard signing with Wizards is proof of John Wall's power as a recruiter

Dwight Howard signing with Wizards is proof of John Wall's power as a recruiter

When Dwight Howard was given the floor to offer opening comments at his introductory press conference this week, he made a point to thank his new teammate, John Wall. The reason why, as Howard expounded on later, is that Wall was a pivotal reason for why Howard signed with Washington.

It wasn't just about their potential fit on the court. Wall helped bring Howard to D.C. and Howard wanted to make that clear.

"Shoutout to John for reaching out to me and asking me about joining this team," Howard said.

Howard, in fact, hadn't really thought about the Wizards much at all when he began contemplating his next step as he proccessed a trade by the Hornets and a looming buyout by the Nets. It was while he was considering his options that he received a message on Instagram from Wall.

"No lie, when I saw the message on Instagram, I really got so happy. I was like 'John just DM'd me, oh man this is crazy!' After that, I really just started to put on my thinking cap," Howard said. "I just thought about all the possibilities. I was like 'man, this could be the best spot for me.'"

If there is one thing clear about the Wizards' offseason so far, particularly their two biggest free agent signings in Howard and Jeff Green, it's that recruitment by NBA stars definitely works. It has been effective for other teams, most notably Draymond Green's recruitment of Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors, and now it has led to success for the Wizards.

Wall, interestingly enough, has been averse to free agent recruiting in the past. He has said on numerous occasions that he isn't a fan of doing it.

He even said it this past April in his exit interview with the media following the 2017-18 season.

"I think people understand what they'll get if they come here. They've seen our team. They kind of know what it is," he said.

Wall decided to change his tune and the results are undeniable. Howard admitted that it didn't even take much convincing.

"He just said 'do you want to come to D.C.?' It wasn't too much to be said. After he said that, I was like 'bro, I'm with it.' That conversation was like a confirmation for me," Howard said. "Him reaching out, I've never had a guy like John Wall as a point guard, so why lose that opportunity?"

Team president Ernie Grunfeld was surely appreciative of Wall's role in landing Howard. There are strict tampering rules for league executives for when and how they can contact free agents. Wall was able to have a conversation with Howard just player-to-player.

"We always talk to our players and who is available and who can help our team," Grunfeld said. "We realized it was a good opportunity for us to get [an athletic big man]. John did his part in it and he was very happy about it."

Howard liked the thought of playing with Wall and appreciated his communication so much that he says it helped sway him from signing with the Warriors. Golden State ended up doing well for themselves by signing DeMarcus Cousins, but they did reach out to Howard.

Howard, though, liked Wall's pitch better.

"Golden State called and I thought about them. But once John sent me that message, I was like, man. I couldn't tell him at first, but I was like 'man, I'm going to be a Wizard.' That was my mindset," he said.

Perhaps this experience will have an effect in the future on how Wall and the Wizards approach free agency, knowing this method worked out quite well for them.

Tyler Byrum contributed to this report

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Wizards release 2018-19 preseason schedule, including two games vs. Knicks

Wizards release 2018-19 preseason schedule, including two games vs. Knicks

The Wizards released their 2018-19 five-game preseason schedule on Tuesday and it looks quite a bit like last year's did.

Once again, they will play the New York Knicks twice, once at home and once on the road. And once again, they will host the Guangzhou Long-Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association.

It all begins on Oct. 1 when the Wizards host the Knicks. Three of their five preseason games will be played at Capital One Arena.

Here is the full preseason schedule:

10/1 vs. Knicks

10/5 vs. Heat

10/8 at Knicks

10/10 at Pistons

10/12 vs. Guangzhou Long-Lions

The preseason schedule release comes on the heels of the full 82-game regular season reveal. That came out last week. You can see it here.

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    2018-19 NBA over/under win totals from Las Vegas have Wizards lower than some many expect

    2018-19 NBA over/under win totals from Las Vegas have Wizards lower than some many expect

    The Westgate sportsbook in Las Vegas released their over/unders for NBA win totals for the 2018-19 season earlier this month and the Wizards were set at 44.5. That, of course, sparked some debates among fans and the media.

    Chase Hughes and Nick Ashooh gave their take on the matter in the video above. For reference, here are the win totals as set by Westgate:

    Atlanta Hawks - 23.5
    Boston Celtics - 57.5
    Brooklyn Nets - 32.5
    Charlotte Hornets - 35.5
    Chicago Bulls - 27.5
    Cleveland Cavaliers - 30.5
    Dallas Mavericks - 34.5
    Denver Nuggets - 47.5
    Detroit Pistons - 37.5
    Golden State Warriors - 62.5
    Houston Rockets - 54.5
    Indiana Pacers - 47.5
    Los Angeles Clippers - 35.5
    Los Angeles Lakers - 48.5
    Memphis Grizzlies - 34.5
    Miami Heat - 41.5
    Milwaukee Bucks - 46.5
    Minnesota Timberwolves - 44.5
    New Orleans Pelicans - 45.5
    New York Knicks - 29.5
    Oklahoma City Thunder - 50.5
    Orlando Magic - 31.5
    Philadelphia 76ers - 54.5
    Phoenix Suns - 28.5
    Portland Trail Blazers - 41.5
    Sacramento Kings - 25.5
    San Antonio Spurs - 43.5
    Toronto Raptors - 54.5
    Utah Jazz - 48.5
    Washington Wizards - 44.5

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