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Kevin Durant thinks anyone who believes the Wizards are better without John Wall is mistaken

Kevin Durant thinks anyone who believes the Wizards are better without John Wall is mistaken

Since John Wall went down with a left knee injury in late January, the Washington Wizards have enjoyed a surprising run of 10 wins in their last 13 games.

Tomas Satoransky has filled in well and others like Bradley Beal and Otto Porter have stepped up to compensate.

Some have observed the Wizards' surge and suggested they might be better off without Wall in the mix.

Warriors superstar Kevin Durant thinks that is ridiculous.

"That's from a bunch of people that don't understand basketball," Durant said on Wednesday morning, just a few hours before the Wizards host the Warriors at Capital One Arena.

"If you say you don't need one of the best point guards in the league on your team, then I don't know if you should be in this game as a front office executive."

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Durant thinks Wall's value will be shown over time. Thirteen games is a growing, but still relatively small sample size. It's one thing to beat the Cavs or Raptors in February. It's another deal facing them in a seven-game series.

"They need John Wall once they get to the playoffs. The regular season is a different dynamic than the playoffs, obviously," he said. "You definitely need a guy like that."

Durant, though, is impressed with how the Wizards are playing while Wall recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery. He was on a Oklahoma City Thunder team that had seasons greatly affected by injuries to star players, including himself.

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"To see how they're playing without him, it shows that they have a lot of pride. I know Coach [Scott] Brooks. When I was playing for him [in OKC], we were in the same situation. The way he coached the team throughout that time showed that we had a lot of pride and you see it in this team as well," Durant said.

The Wizards have notched some big wins with Wall out. In addition to Cleveland and Toronto, they beat the Thunder, Bucks and Sixers.

Now comes the ultimate test in the defending-champion Golden State Warriors.

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Wizards new GM Tommy Sheppard called Dwight Howard trade 'quickest trade I've ever done'

Wizards new GM Tommy Sheppard called Dwight Howard trade 'quickest trade I've ever done'

In early July, the Wizards dealt Dwight Howard to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for C.J. Miles. According to an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, new Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard didn't need much time to move on.

The Howard deal was "the quickest trade I've ever done in my life," Sheppard told Wojnarowski.

It was also a proving ground for Sheppard to show owner Ted Leonsis he could lead a new regime for the Wizards.

"I like [Sheppard's] dexterity to be able to deal with the existing NBA, but to also really look at it as a global enterprise," Leonsis noted.

Howard was signed to the Wizards in 2018 to a two-year, $11 million free-agent deal, and immediately made a lasting impact, including jokes about how he learned to be a Wizard after a circuitous NBA career.

Trading him away was a signal that Sheppard was trying to reset of the Wizards culture.

But since then, Tommy Sheppard has had his interim tag removed to mark him as the new GM of the organization. 

Sheppard's moves before he was named GM included not only the Howard deal, but also leading the Wizards' draft night where they selected Rui Hachimura and Admiral Schofield, as well as signing Isaiah Thomas to a one-year deal.

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Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard plans to offer Bradley Beal 3-year max contract extension, per report

Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard plans to offer Bradley Beal 3-year max contract extension, per report

Tommy Sheppard isn't wasting any time. The Washington Wizards' new general manager said the team will offer All-Star Bradley Beal a three-year, $111 million maximum contract extension Friday, when the guard becomes eligible to sign, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday

Once the offer is made, 26-year-old Beal will have until October 21 to sign the extension, which would begin with the 2021-22 season. He is coming off the best season of his career, averaging 25.6 points, 5.5 assists and five rebounds. 

More from Wojnarowski and ESPN:

There are moments in a career where there are big decisions to make, and Brad will work through everything and figure out the right thing to do," [agent Mark] Bartelstein told ESPN. "There are nothing but great feelings for Ted [Leonsis], Tommy and Scott [Brooks]. They've treated Brad wonderfully.

The news of the planned offer comes three days after NBC Sports Washington confirmed the Wizards are planning to announce Sheppard as the official new GM after months of working under the interim tag. 

The Wizards are also willing to offer Beal a one- or two-year extension as well, and if he passes altogether, the team does not have current plans to trade him, Sheppard told ESPN. 

Beal has two years and $55.8 million left on his contract. Should he be an All-NBA player in the 2019-20 season, he could become eligible for a five-year, $254 million supermax extension at this time next year. Without that stipulation, he's still eligible for a four-year, $155 million max extension next summer.

More per ESPN:

He's got two years left on his deal, and he's from Missouri and we are going to have to show him," Sheppard told ESPN. "We need to show him that we are about building this the right way, that we aren't going to have character-deficient guys around him. We are going to surround him with guys he wants to play with. He saw that right away in free agency with us bringing back Thomas Bryant.

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