Wizards

Quick Links

Dwight Howard trade a step toward resetting Wizards' culture

Dwight Howard trade a step toward resetting Wizards' culture

The Wizards are attempting to change the culture of their organization and few things symbolize that better these days than trading Dwight Howard.

By now, he is used to it. This is the third straight time a new front office architect has promptly traded Howard soon after taking over their post. It happened to him in Atlanta, then Charlotte and now Washington with Tommy Sheppard, who is currently running the Wizards with an interim tag.

The Wizards shipped Howard to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday for veteran forward C.J. Miles. It was yet another move that signals the Wizards are undergoing a significant makeover, one that is showing all the signs of a franchise rebuild.

Howard could have helped them this upcoming season, at least in theory. They need rebounding and defense and those are his two best selling points. Even coming off a back injury, he could have been of use.

But now Howard exits after playing only nine games with the Wizards. They are tearing their roster down to the studs and Howard makes that process nearly complete.

The Wizards now have a team headlined by John Wall and Bradley Beal that is flush with young players and veterans on short-term contracts. They have financial flexibility moving forward and cheap players with upside.

The roster has been overhauled and it's notable that Sheppard remains in charge. Owner Ted Leonsis continues to let Sheppard guide the Wizards through the meat of the offseason while he is conducting a search that could lead to his replacement.

At this point, given all he has already done this offseason, it seems like Sheppard is either going to be given the job long-term, or he's being tasked with cleaning the slate for someone else to take over. The latter would be an unusual route to take.

Regardless, the direction of the franchise is becoming clear. The Wizards are favoring their long-term outlook over competing next season. They appear to see Wall's injury as reason to take a step back in hopes of taking two steps forward.

By getting Howard out of town, they will pave the way for Thomas Bryant to start. He re-signed this week on a three-year deal. At 21 years old, he is the future and will have a good opportunity to develop.

All of this, though, makes one piece of news from this week even more interesting. The Washington Post reported the Wizards have spoken to free agent DeMarcus Cousins. It was described as a casual conversation, but quickly ignited Wizards fans who have long called for the team to sign him.

Signing Cousins would flip much of what the Wizards have done in recent weeks on its head. He is someone who would make them better in the short-term, get in the way of Bryant's development and raise questions about their culture. Though he was by all accounts on good behavior in Golden State, he has a reputation for contributing to locker room dysfunction, fair or not.

The Wizards had been trying to move on from Howard for weeks. On Friday, they made it happen.

Their goals this offseason are becoming increasingly obvious. But will they stay the course?

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: 

Quick Links

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey makes huge donation to John Wall's coronavirus charity

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey makes huge donation to John Wall's coronavirus charity

John Wall is getting some major help in reaching his fundraising goal to provide rent assistance to residents of Ward 8 amid the coronavirus, as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has pledged $200,000 to the cause.

Dorsey, who has the handle @Jack, tweeted his plans Wednesday evening. His donation is two-thirds of Wall's goal to raise $300,000.

It is a very generous donation and also a testament to the work Wall is doing to help others during this time. He picked a cause, used his platform to get the information out there and has caught the attention of someone with the money to help.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

Wall's intention is to help those in the D.C. area who have been affected most by the coronavirus and the toll it has taken on the economy. Wall said residents in need will receive rental assistance for as long as possible and necessary as the country works to eradicate the virus.

For more information, go to the website for Wall's foundation called '202 Assist.'

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

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.”

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

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."

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: