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Markieff Morris wants to spend the rest of his career with the Wizards

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Markieff Morris wants to spend the rest of his career with the Wizards

The Wizards have a host of players entering contract years for the 2018-19 season, creating a wide array of possibilities for their upcoming summer. With one year left on their deals, Washington has to decide if those players are going to be part of their future, or whether it would make more sense to trade them and avoid the risk of losing them for nothing the following offseason.

Starting power forward Markieff Morris is in that category with his contract set to expire one year from now. He is due $8.6 million next season, a relative bargain for a starter with his skillset.

If Morris had it his way, he would not just stick around for next season but for many years after that.

"I would definitely want to finish my career here," Morris said. "I love playing here. I love being in the city that I was basically raised in and playing for this organization."

Morris, who will turn 29 several weeks before training camp opens, just finished his third season with the Wizards. Despite beginning the season sidelined following sports hernia surgery, he logged 73 games.

Though some of his volume numbers dipped - his 11.5 points per game were his lowest since 2012-13 - Morris was more efficient than ever in 2017-18. He set career-highs in three-point percentage (36.7) and effective field goal percentage (53.6).

Morris has proven able to play both power forward and center at times in small-ball lineups. He can stretch the floor, but is also big enough to initiate contact around the rim. 

When engaged, Morris can be an asset defensively. He did a strong job overall in the Wizards' first round playoff series against the Raptors in guarding Serge Ibaka. Ibaka is bigger and can shoot accurately from long range, making him a tough cover. But Morris seemed to figure him out after a few games and make a difference in the series.

Morris believes his future in the NBA involves more play at center and that will be a point of emphasis this summer.

“[I need to] be ready to set more pick-and-rolls. That’s tough," Morris said. "I know it was tough on Marcin [Gortat]. I think he led the league in picks. That’s a tough thing to do, setting pick and rolls every play. I think that’s the most important thing I need to play the five.”

Morris has adapted to playing small-ball and the Wizards have had success with him anchoring the middle. Their best lineup based on plus-minus rating had Morris at center surrounded by Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Tomas Satoransky. The Wizards saw similar results the year before with the same group and John Wall at point guard instead of Satoransky.

Morris has discovered what he believes is a key to making those lineups work. He has to take advantage of other teams switching smaller players onto him.

"One thing I need to do more is play more bully ball because the league has changed. The best teams are switching five. I need to get that part of my game to a T,” he said.

"You look at the better teams in the league, they all switch five. Not too many bigs bully especially at the four position... I've got to get to a point where teams are not allowed to switch on me and take advantage of it."

When the offseason began last summer, Morris was nursing a left ankle injury that altered his workout plans. He later had the hernia procedure that made him miss training camp and the start of the regular season.

Now he is healthy and able to operate the offseason under normal circumstances. Well, at least beyond the fact he has an infant daughter to care for.

"[My contract future] is not on my mind right now," he said. "I’m a full-time dad now. I have to figure that out."

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    Wizards vs. 76ers Preseason: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

    Wizards vs. 76ers Preseason: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

    The Wizards will take the court Friday night in Philadelphia as they wrap up their 2019 preseason slate. While there are still roster spots to be won and roles to be carved out, the biggest storyline surrounding the Wizards this week comes from their biggest star.

    Bradley Beal, the face of the franchise and Wizards' only All-Star while John Wall rehabs from his Achilles injury, signed a two-year contract extension with the Wizards Thursday morning.

    The focus of the season for the Wizards will clearly be on their younger players, but fans will be most excited to see the team's remaining star this season.

    It's unclear which 76ers stars will be on the court for the preseason finale, but the game will serve as the final tune-up for two franchise going in opposite directions. 

    The Wizards vs. 76ers preseason finale wil tip off Friday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington Plus.

    WIZARDS vs. 76ERS PRESEASON HOW TO WATCH

    What: Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers, 2019 NBA Preseason Game 4

    Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

    When: Friday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m. ET

    TV Channel: The Wizards at 76ers preseason game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington Plus (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

    Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards at 76ers on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

    Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

    WIZARDS vs. 76ERS TV SCHEDULE

    3:00 PM: The Daily Line (LIVE)

    7:00 PM: Wizards vs. 76ers, NBA Preseason (LIVE)

    WIZARDS vs. 76ERS INJURY REPORT:

    Wizards: John Wall (OUT, Left Achilles rehab), Isaiah Thomas (OUT, Left thumb rehab), Isaac Bonga (OUT, Left knee soreness), Troy Brown Jr. (OUT, Left calf strain), Ian Mahinmi (OUT, Right Achilles strain), C.J. Miles (OUT, Left foot rehab)

    76ers: James Ennis (DAY-TO-DAY, calf injury)

    WIZARDS vs. 76ERS PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Bradley Beal, G, Wizards: Beal just signed a contract extension to keep him in Washington for a few more years. With John Wall out, the Wizards are solely his team, and this will be his first time on the court since agreeing to the new deal. 

    Thomas Bryant, C, Wizards: The Wizards' best big man has enjoyed a strong preseason, and will look to solidify himself as Washington's number two option behind Beal with John Wall out. His outside game remains a work in progress, but Bryant has flashed a lot of potential inside for a Wizards team desperate for secondary scoring.

    Matisse Thybulle, SG, 76ers: The rookie guard filled the stat sheet in Philadelphia's previous preseason game, and appears to have earned a significant role as a defensive specialist and the first wing off the 76ers' bench.  

    WIZARDS vs. 76ERS SERIES HISTORY 

    Number of all-time Meetings: 303 games

    All-time Record: 76ers lead 181-122

    Last Meeting: Wizards won 123-106 on 1/9/19

    Streaking: Wizards have won 9 straight home games against the 76ers, and  22 of last 29 at Capital One Arena

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    Bradley Beal excitedly tweets reaction to signing two-year extension

    Bradley Beal excitedly tweets reaction to signing two-year extension

    ICYMI, Bradley Beal finally signed a contract extension with the Washington Wizards. The two-year, $72 million deal begins in the 2021-22 season and includes a four-year player option available in 2022-23.

    After a career year for shooting guard we know and love to call Panda, as well as a tumultuous year for the Wizards, Beal faced many options, like requesting a trade or holding out. Instead of requesting a trade, he put the pen to paper with a deal that's flexible for what's to come Washington's way over the next five seasons. Making this happen is a huge win for the Wizards front office and is a significant success for general manager Tommy Sheppard to add to his resume.

    With all of that said, Bradley Beal is pretty excited about the extension, too.

    We're doing the same dance moves over the good news, Brad! The Wizards' future looks bright and filled with panda swag.

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