Wizards

Quick Links

Former Army general and top military official Martin Dempsey advises Wizards on leadership

Former Army general and top military official Martin Dempsey advises Wizards on leadership

WASHINGTON -- Martin Dempsey has long rooted for the Wizards, living in the Washington area for years while working in the Pentagon. So Monday's visit to the team's practice facility in Southeast D.C. certainly stood out among the annual trips he makes to speak with NBA teams.

The former Army general and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is now a consultant to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and makes his rounds each year with five or six teams. He met with the Utah Jazz over the weekend while they were in town and then spent several days with the Wizards.

He had dinner on Sunday night with head coach Scott Brooks and his staff. And on Monday, he met with the players and other members of the organization. The purpose was to share his philosophy on leadership from his 41 years of experience working in the U.S. military.

"It's a good time for them to have the chance to ask questions to me that they might not be able to ask anybody else," Dempsey said.

"They have such a wonderful opportunity in their lives. How many young men and women in America want to be NBA and WNBA players? With that platform comes a responsibility to not just be the best athlete they can be. They have an opportunity to demonstrate what character looks like. So we talked about that balance in life, the life of a leader, of competence, hard skills, character and fabric. I'll tell you what. This group, they were into it."

The appreciation for Dempsey and his career was evident in the way Wizards players and general manager Tommy Sheppard interacted with the former military official. All-Star guard Bradley Beal took pictures with Dempsey to honor the occasion. Sheppard escorted Dempsey around to introduce him to members of the organization.

Dempsey says he has known Sheppard, who has children currently serving in the military, for a decade. 

"Tommy is about a team of teams," Dempsey said. "The best of organizations, be they military organizations or basketball teams, are inclusive. You're in an organization where everybody feels a sense of belonging; everybody... I know that's what Tommy thinks about this franchise. It has to achieve an extraordinary level of inclusiveness if it hopes to get back to the playoffs sooner rather than later."

As for the players, Dempsey wanted them to realize the influence they have in their communities, but also pass on lessons that could help them on the basketball court. He believes there are parallels to competing in a basketball game and the battlefield.

"I relate stories to them of the teams we build and send into places like Iraq and Afghanistan. We generally deploy our large force, but it usually comes down to 12-[person] squads out there, by themselves, trying to shape the future in terms of security," Dempsey said. 

"I ask them, what do you think causes 12 men and women being willing to walk out of the gate and put themselves at risk to accomplish a mission? The answer is trust. I challenge them to consider how much do you trust each other? If the answer is to that is you would trust each other with your lives then you're on the right track. Everything else that happens on that foundation will be positive. If the answer is we really don't trust each other or don't trust some of us, then you have to work through that because you will see that."

The Wizards are trying to build a strong culture from the ground up and are exploring all kinds of ways to do so. Dempsey speaking with the team was the latest tactic and you can bet his voice carried some weight.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

 

Quick Links

History shows how much the Wizards could get in a trade for Davis Bertans

History shows how much the Wizards could get in a trade for Davis Bertans

Indications both on the record and through back channel reporting remain that the Wizards would like to keep sharpshooting forward Davis Bertans beyond the Feb. 6 trade deadline and attempt to re-sign him in the offseason, once they are allowed to negotiate per CBA rules. The most recent story came from Sports Illustrated and it suggested the Wizards aren't entertaining offers.

Still, nothing can be ruled out. Things can change, teams could increase their offers and trade talks always ramp up as the deadline nears. And, if the Wizards do decide to trade Bertans, it would make sense if the return package was centered around draft picks, given the Wizards are in the middle of a franchise reset where those are at a premium.

So, what type of draft pick could the Wizards get for Bertans? For starters, it doesn't seem likely any collection of second round picks would get the deal done given the caliber of player he is. And while first round picks are most often dealt on draft night, there are still plenty of cases where they were sent in exchange for players at other points on the calendar.

With Bertans in mind, here are some examples of teams getting first round picks for players. You may notice a lot of them involved the Wizards being the team that gave up the draft pick. And a few of them ironically included players who are now in Washington.

February 22, 2017: Wizards traded lottery-protected 2017 first round pick (Jarrett Allen was selected), Andrew Nicholson and Marcus Thornton to the Nets for Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough

Takeaway: This may be the best comp for a potential Bertans trade because Bogdanovic was on an expiring deal and acquired by a playoff contender at the time looking for a bench shooter. Though Bogdanovic is now a better player than Bertans, at the time he was on the level Bertans is now.

This trade also offers an ideal scenario for the Wizards in that the Nets got a really good player out of it with their draft pick. Allen is one of the game's best young rim protectors.

February 14, 2017: Raptors traded 2017 first round pick (Anzejs Pasecniks was selected) and Terrence Ross to the Magic for Serge Ibaka

Takeaway: Though Ibaka was and is better than Bertans, this type of deal in a basic sense might appeal to the Wizards. The Magic got a first round pick and a quality bench player in Ross. The Magic then used that pick in a separate deal.

February 23, 2017: Rockets traded a 2017 first round pick (Tony Bradley was selected) and Corey Brewer to the Lakers for Lou Williams

Takeaway: Williams, though more accomplished than Bertans, was acquired for the same reason that may make Bertans attractive to teams right now. He is a proven bench scorer with the ability to change the momentum of games. And like the Ibaka deal, the Lakers got both a pick and a serviceable player. If the Wizards could get a first round pick and a player who could help them, that might be hard to pass up.

February 18, 2016: Wizards traded a top-9 protected 2016 first round pick (Georgios Papagiannis was selected), DeJuan Blair and Kris Humphries to the Suns for Markieff Morris

Takeaway: Morris had the pedigree of a recent first round pick with upside, but Bertans might be a more appealing trade piece at the moment. Morris had some off-court issues and a public dispute with an assistant coach and that affected his stock. The Suns getting a pick that was only top-9 protected was an impressive return, even if they didn't make much of it.

February 19, 2015: Three-team deal in which the Celtics traded a top-10 protected 2016 first round pick (Skal Labissiere was selected) to the Suns, the Suns traded Isaiah Thomas to the Celtics, the Celtics traded Tayshaun Prince to the Pistons and the Pistons traded Gigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko to the Celtics.

Takeaway: This one is complicated by the fact three teams were involved. Also, Thomas was a better player than Bertans. But the framework of this deal is worth examining given the potential for the Wizards to get another team involved if they decide to part with him.

October 25, 2013: Wizards traded a top-12 protected 2014 first round pick and Emeka Okafor to the Suns for Marcin Gortat, Shannon Brown, Malcolm Lee and Kendall Marshall.

Takeaway: Yet another trade where the Wizards dealt a first round pick in a win-now move. This one had some throw-in pieces, but Gortat could be seen as a similar level player relative to his position as Bertans is now. And a top-12 protected first round pick would arguably be a solid return for the Latvian Laser.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Elena Delle Donne has successful surgery, should be ready for 2020 season

Elena Delle Donne has successful surgery, should be ready for 2020 season

Elena Delle Donne had successful surgery to repair three herniated discs in her back, the team announced on Wednesday.

The "minor surgery" took place on Friday, Jan. 24 and was performed by Dr. Andrew Dossett in Dallas, Texas. Delle Donne's timetable is unknown but will be reevaluated around the Mystics training camp in May. She is anticipated to be available for the season opener on May 16.

The Mystics forward suffered the injury during the WNBA Finals. After only playing in the opening minutes of Game 2, she missed the rest of the game. An MRI revealed that she had a herniated disc in her back. It was her third injury in all of her three WNBA Finals appearances.

Still, through the pain, the 2019 WNBA MVP helped her team win their first title. 

Once the Mystics won the WNBA Championship, Natasha Cloud proudly announced that Delle Donne actually had three herniated discs

This surgery will likely limit her availability for playing with the U.S. Women's National Team as they begin their pre-Olympic training, exhibitions and qualifying events. She has yet to appear in any of the 2019-20 events due to her injury.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE MYSTICS NEWS: