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Haberstroh: Keep an eye on the possibility of DeAndre Jordan to the Wizards

Haberstroh: Keep an eye on the possibility of DeAndre Jordan to the Wizards

The NBA trade deadline is always one of the most exciting and hectic times of the season. While this year's deadline will be largely focused on whether the New Orleans Pelicans trade Anthony Davis or not, there are several other players and teams to watch.

For instance, last week, Kristaps Porzingis, the former face of the New York Knicks franchise, was suddenly dealt to the Dallas Mavericks in a blockbuster trade.

But one of the players on the other side of the trade may interest the Wizards, according to NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh.

"One name to watch is DeAndre Jordan," Haberstroh said. "He just went to the Knicks and he might be bought out before the trade deadline. You have to wonder, would the Wizards be interested in him?"

Jordan, who spent the first decade of his NBA career as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, could be a part of his third different team of the season in just a few days, should he be bought out and sign elsewhere. Jordan is averaging 11.0 points and 13.7 rebounds on the season.

While the Wizards may show some interest in the 11-year veteran, there is another team in the East that could have interest in Jordan, according to Haberstroh.

"Maybe the Charlotte Hornets, who are above the Wizards in the standings, maybe they look at DeAndre Jordan as their center this season," he said. "That would make it a lot more difficult for the Wizards to move up into the playoffs."

The Wizards have already made two trades this season, both coming within two weeks of each other. They acquired Sam Dekker on Dec. 7 in  a five-player, three-team deal, with Jason Smith heading to Milwaukee and a 2022 second-round pick to Cleveland. On Dec. 17, Washington traded Austin Rivers and Kelly Oubre, Jr. to the Phoenix Suns for Trevor Ariza.

The Wizards have had plenty of roster turnover throughout this season, but Haberstroh doesn't expect them to make any more significant moves before Thursday's 3 p.m. deadline.

"At this point, I think it's going to be a quiet deadline for the Washington Wizards," he said.

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Charity event at All-Star weekend crossed paths between Bradley Beal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON

Charity event at All-Star weekend crossed paths between Bradley Beal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

CHARLOTTE -- Wizards guard Bradley Beal was packing boxes with canned goods on Friday at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina in Charlotte, North Carolina when one of the greatest players in basketball history ducked through the door and made his way down the warehouse aisles, shaking hands and taking pictures. 

Beal is an NBA All-Star and was one of the headliners of an All-Star weekend charity event. And he had found himself in the presence of a legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. As Abdul-Jabbar passed Beal's table, the Wizards guard imitated his famous sky-hook with a big smile on his face.

Beal, 25, is carving out a standout career for the Washington Wizards. He is also continuing to grow off the court with various charitable efforts and an affinity for giving back.

Abdul-Jabbar has set the standard in both realms. He won six NBA championships, made 19 All-Star teams and is widely considered among the very best athletes of all-time. He is also a longtime philanthropist with an admirable history of using his platform to help others.

Abdul-Jabbar was there to greet citizens of Charlotte and also promote his Skyhook Foundation and its involvement with Goldin Auctions. He is auctioning off many pieces of memorabilia from his playing career, including NBA championship rings and most valuable player award trophies.

Abdul-Jabbar is raising money to help elementary school kids in the Los Angeles area go to camps to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

"STEM is where all the good jobs are going to be in the 21st century," Abdul-Jabbar said. "We want to get to them before peer pressure and popular culture get them to thinking that; so many think that they have to be Beyonce [Knowles] or Denzel [Washington] or LeBron [James] to be successful. We're trying to show them that 'hey, if you pay attention in math class or science class, you can be an engineer.'"

Abdul-Jabbar took notice of Beal and his efforts in Charlotte. He was proud to see a young NBA star giving back.

"I just had the opportunity to talk to him. He seems like a classy young man," Abdul-Jabbar told NBC Sports Washington. "Certainly, you look at his stats, he's taking care of business on the court."

Abdul-Jabbar believes the NBA is in good hands with Beal's generation. He cited James' opening of a school in Akron, Ohio and how today's stars use their large contracts and platforms to make a difference in their communities. 

"I'm really happy to see what's going on. So many of them, they care about what's happening back home. They go out of their way to make sure that they do something with what they've been blessed with. I've got a lot of respect for them and it's something I'm really happy to see," Abdul-Jabbar said.

Beal had a few options for events to attend at All-Star weekend and chose the Second Harvest Food Bank. He spent hours putting together food packages for families in poverty and interacting with local volunteers. 

Beal said he would have stayed longer if he had the choice.

"I don't get tired of helping people. I could literally stand here all day," he said. "If I didn't have other events, I would be here all day, no matter how many boxes we have to stack up, until there is no more food left to put into the boxes."

Beal was grateful to do his part in helping those who don't have homes or food, especially during the cold winter. And he was proud to help out alongside Abdul-Jabbar, who has set a high bar for he and other NBA players off the court.

"It's humbling, man," Beal said. "That's just motivation for me and a lot of people to just constantly do what is right and do what it takes to help other people."

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What to expect: Urgency and the unknown headline Wizards' return after the All-Star break

What to expect: Urgency and the unknown headline Wizards' return after the All-Star break

The 2019 NBA All-Star weekend is in the books. Now, where were we?

Ah, right, the Wizards in pursuit of an Eastern Conference playoff berth. Washington returns to practice Wednesday and to game action Friday at Charlotte. Before all that, a quick reset and look ahead. 

Yes, things were bumpy before the weeklong break – Washington lost its final two games and seven of 10 to match a season-worst record 10 games under .500. Fortunately, the Wizards (24-34) play in the Eastern Conference which means those postseason hopes remain within arm’s reach (though having Giannis Antetokounmpo’s cartoonish wingspan would help).

Sitting in 11th place, the Wizards must pass three teams to reach the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons. Five teams – Charlotte, Detroit, Miami, Orlando, and Washington – are effectively vying for the final two playoffs spots. The Wizards are 2.5 games back of the Magic, which entered the break winning five in a row, three behind eighth-seeded Pistons, and trail the Hornets by 3.5.

Based on projections from the research website Basketball-Reference, the Magic and Pistons seize the final two berths with 38 wins. For 39 wins, the Wizards must finish 15-9 over their last 24 games. That would become their best stretch of the season considering Washington’s longest winning streak of the season is only three.

Good news: The Wizards have the sixth easiest remaining strength of schedule.

Related news: The Magic has the third easiest, Pistons seventh.

Potentially uh-oh news: Washington, a dismal 7-23 on the road this season, returns with three of four games away from home. 

That’s a lot working against the Wizards. There is where it would be cool to show a stat that provides additional confidence. That’s not happening. There won’t be numbers reflecting downside either beyond the current slide. 

That’s because with John Wall undergoing season-ending Achilles heel surgery, Otto Porter and Markieff Morris playing elsewhere, and several new players on the roster, season-long statistics no longer apply.

Consider the Wizards’ current nine-man rotation based on recent usage. Of those nine, only two-time All-Star Bradley Beal remains in the same role as when the season began. 

Tomas Satoransky and Thomas Bryant moved up the depth chart because of injuries elsewhere. That’s somewhat the case with Jeff Green, though only Beal could rival the veteran’s forward consistency this season. Chasson Randle, now the primary backup point guard, bounced back and forth between the NBA and the G-League for chunks of the season.

The others – Trevor Ariza, Jabari Parker, Wesley Johnson, and Bobby Portis – were not on the team for the opening six weeks of the season. The non-Ariza’s arrived less than two weeks ago. This is effectively a new team, which adds additional challenges for Brooks. 

The unknown is perhaps also Washington’s best hope. 

We could assume plenty, namely that this core is less talented than the one that included Wall, Porter, and Morris. Of course, that group struggled significantly when the season tipped, losing six of seven. 

Meanwhile, the Wizards’ record since Dec. 28 is just a tick underwater (11-12), which isn’t bad when considering the overall record and recent stumbles. Yes, we just explained that many of the current players are new. The enhanced focus and consistency displayed during this stretch should remain with Beal, Ariza, and Green in primary roles. 

We can also note the Wizards are 2-2 in the four games since the pre-deadline deals that brought Portis, Parker, and Johnson to Washington. The last two games, both losses, were without Satoransky, who was away from the team for the birth of his first child. His absence led to several quirky lineups as Brooks tried making do without his lone proven point guard. 

There’s also the notion of the Wizards receiving a more extended look at Portis, a 2019 restricted free agent and possible starting power forward of the future. Portis is averaging 19 points per game while shooting 54.5 percent on 3-pointers. That accuracy isn't sustainable, but it's unclear his overall ceiling after only four games with his new team. 

Additional depth may come in the form of rookie Troy Brown. Washington’s 2018 first-round pick missed the prior six games after suffering a grade-2 sprained ankle against Milwaukee Feb. 2. Before the break, Brooks stated he anticipated Brown returning after the break, though without a specific timeline.  Whether the head coach uses the 6-foot-6 wing regularly as long as Washington remains in the playoff race is another story. 

Future thinking receives headliner status for the remainder of this season. We at least know big decisions lie ahead. Whether this new-ish group finds a playoff groove is part of the unknown.

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