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Ian Mahinmi offers some heartfelt advice for Daniel Ochefu after getting cut by the Wizards

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Ian Mahinmi offers some heartfelt advice for Daniel Ochefu after getting cut by the Wizards

Due to added depth to the Wizards' roster this preseason, center Daniel Ochefu became the first casualty as Washington continues to narrow down its roster ahead of opening night against the Sixers next week. Ochefu was waived by the team on Monday, allowing the Wizards to shift their focus to the final spot, which is expected to go to one of two veteran guards between Carrick Felix and Donald Sloan.

Ochefu, 23, now finds himself at a crossroads. After going undrafted last summer out of Villanova, Ochefu caught on with the Wizards and signed as a free agent. He spent the entire season at the NBA level, in part because of Ian Mahinmi missing most of the year due to injury. Now Mahinmi is healthy and there just isn't much room behind him.

Ochefu's locker was right next to Mahinmi's at Capital One Arena and the two had grown close over the past calendar year. Mahinmi offered some heartfelt advice to Ochefu when asked about the move on the Wizards Tipoff podcast this week:

"D.O. is a great guy. I treat him as a little brother. I took him out a lot of times. He's one of the guys I kept in touch with [in the summer]. Obviously, when I heard the news I texted him right away. This is the nature of our league. This is the nature of our business. Decisions like that have to be made. I told him to not take anything personally. Don't get into that negative mindset of 'I did everything I could for this team, I can't believe it.' It's not like that. Obviously, it's a tough decision for the Wizards and it's a tough time for D.O. But I told him don't get into that," Mahinmi said.

"Now it's all about how you're going to bounce back. You have to keep a positive mindset and more importantly, you've gotta get better. Whatever you did is good, but not good enough, so you've gotta work more. You've gotta find different things to do to get yourself better and get yourself ready for that next opportunity. So, I told him that 'it's going to be you.' Throughout careers, we are all going to have stuff like that and times like that. It's how you bounce back."

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Mahinmi's career began as a first round pick and he's now a nine-year NBA veteran. But he has had tough times along the way, including when he was Ochefu's age of 23. 

He has shared his story with Ochefu in hopes it can help.

"I was with the Spurs for three years and at some point they have to pick up my fourth year option. They didn't pick it up. I felt like I had done everything I was supposed to. I played well in the minutes that [Gregg Popovich] gave me. I was on a veteran team. I was like 'man, what could I have done better?' They sent me to the D-League and I did everything I could. I played very well in the D-League. I took the team to the championship game. I was like 'man, it's still not enough. What do you guys want me to do?' This was kind of a tough blow, but just like D.O., I had to look at myself. It was like 'alright, man, you weren't good enough and you have to do better.' I did that and I got a chance with the Mavericks and I bounced back. I never looked back after that," Mahinmi said.

Mahinmi also talked about himself on the podcast. He discussed the early returns of his offseason training program in which he lost 10 pounds and revamped his diet. Listen to the full episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Spurs trading Kawhi Leonard to Raptors in deal involving DeMar DeRozan, per report

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Spurs trading Kawhi Leonard to Raptors in deal involving DeMar DeRozan, per report

The NBA offseason has been nothing short of entertaining.

Overnight ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Toronto Raptors have agreed to a deal to acquire forward Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs in a trade package that includes guard DeMar DeRozan. 

Leaving San Antonio with Leonard is Danny Green, while the Raptors are dealing DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick, according to the report

As of early this morning, only DeRozan had been informed of the trade. This trade has reportedly been in talks for several weeks, almost falling through multiple times. 

According to sources of ESPN's Chris Haynes, Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto while DeRozan was told he would not be traded by members of Toronto's front office during summer league in Las Vegas. 

Leonard was open early into the offseaosn about wanting to be traded away from the Spurs and there were even talks of the Wizards being interested in him. 

DeRozan, a four-time All-Star, has three years $83 million left on his contract that includes an early-termination option for the 2020-21 season. .

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John Wall knows the decision between loyalty and money is a tough one for Bryce Harper

John Wall knows the decision between loyalty and money is a tough one for Bryce Harper

In just a few months, Nationals star Bryce Harper could become one of the biggest free agents not just in baseball history, but sports history. He will decide whether to stay in Washington with the team that drafted him and oversaw his development as a young player, or to leave for another city.

Wizards guard John Wall has twice faced the prospect of free agency and twice has decided to sign contract extensions to stay in D.C. Though the salary structures of baseball and basketball are different, there are some parallels between the two. 

Wall has a unique perspective on the call Harper has to make and gave his opinion on the matter in a 1-on-1 interview on the latest episode of our Wizards Tipoff podcast.

"Well, it’s kind of tough. It depends on if you want to do it off of loyalty, or if you want to do it to make sure you make the most money you can make. That’s the toughest decision that you can have. I have the opportunity here where I have loyalty and I can also make the money, so that was a bonus and a plus for me in both situations," Wall said. 

Wall noted how as an NBA player he can have the best of both worlds. The league's collective bargaining agreement allows teams to pay players they drafted significantly more money.

That, however, has not stopped NBA stars from changing teams. Wall in many ways is an outlier as many superstars have left money on the table to depart their original teams. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Paul George have all done that, to name a few. Kawhi Leonard could be next.

Harper, though, may also be able to make more money elsewhere. The Dodgers, Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox or some other team could conceivably offer more money than the Nats and there are some cities like L.A. and New York that could open up more endorsement opportunities.

There's no question it pays to be the best player on the Yankees. Look at Derek Jeter and how his stardom was boosted by that distinction.

Loyalty is also going to come into play for Harper and the past few days have shown he is a sentimental person, as he has talked about all the people he has connected with over the years and how much the Washington community means to him.

Wall took all of those things into account when he decided to stay in D.C. and not look elsewhere via free agency or trades, which have become commonplace for All-Star players in the NBA.

"It was how much what the city means to me is the reason I wanted to stay and what I want to bring here is a championship, it’s what I promise and I hope I can do that," Wall said. "My dad’s from here. Just the way they welcomed me from the first day I came here. Sticking with me through the tough times, when we wasn’t winning early on and then we started to win. The city just embraced me and I embraced the city back. It feels like home and I wouldn’t want to be nowhere else."

Though the difference in money likely won't be as drastic, Harper will have to choose how much loyalty and the human connection he has with people in Washington matters in his free agency decision. Wall knows the feeling.

Hear Wall's full 1-on-1 interview on our latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast: