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Sixers have eyes on both LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard this summer

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Sixers have eyes on both LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard this summer

It appears that the Philadelphia 76ers, fresh off a breakout season of 52 wins and a second-round playoff appearance, are thinking big entering this summer.

A new report from Philly.com ties the Sixers to pretty much a who's-who of the best players available this offseason. They have the cap space to chase free agents like LeBron James and Paul George, as well as interest in trading for Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs.

According to Keith Pompey, the Sixers have already reached out about Leonard:

Don’t be surprised if they also try to acquire San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard in a trade.  Sources have said the Sixers have expressed interest in the two-time all-star. While he is eligible for a five-year, $219-million “super-max” extension with the Spurs this summer, there are reports that Leonard wants out after staying away from the team for most of the season with a quad injury. He played in only nine games.

The Sixers can't land all of those guys, of course. But if they even got one of the three, it would be a major development in the Eastern Conference. If they signed James, they would be the favorites next season to at least reach the NBA Finals and the same may happen if they get Leonard or George.

If James leaves Cleveland, Philly makes as much sense as anyone for the landing spot. They are in the East, so they don't have to see the Warriors for the first three rounds of the playoffs, and they have two young stars that could help James compete for championships for the foreseeable future.

Those same things could technically be said about the Wizards, but Philly has upwards of $30 million to spend on the open market. They could load all of it up for James.

The Sixers are well-suited to make a major addition this summer with cap room and trade assets, and they are clearly planning to be aggressive in going after another star. The question is whether they can pull it off.

Teams have been in this position before and have swung and missed. The Wizards had all the pieces in place to sign Kevin Durant as a free agent in the summer of 2016, but he went to Golden State. Many teams have lined up for James before, only to lose out.

The bright side for Philly is that there appear to be plenty of stars available this summer. If they miss on James and Leonard, but end up with George in free agency, they will still be in good shape. 

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George Washington's coaching hire reunites the Christian brothers in D.C.

Ben Standig/ NBC Sports Washington

George Washington's coaching hire reunites the Christian brothers in D.C.

The basketball-minded Christian Brothers, Jamion and Jarell, studied like coaches as teenagers.

Their parents surrendered usage of their 1990’s era VCR so their kids could record one NBA or college game after another. They loved the players, but kept a close watch on the men roaming the sideline.

After playing stints on the college level, the South Kent County, Va. natives successfully pursued that passion. Both elevated to head coaching jobs. They were now in a position to analyze opposing coaches live. They did, with one notable exception: Each other.

“I’ve never actually been to a game where he was the head coach,” said Jarell, who just completed his first year as the head coach for the Wizards’ G-League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go. “He’s never seen me coach.”

The same goes for Jamion, 36 and four years older than Jarell. The notable omission isn’t a case of sibling rivalry. Jarell humbly admits Jamion was the better basketball player “hands down. I was more aggressive, but he was more athletic, a better shooter.”

Brotherly love is real between the two. So are the life obstacles from their nomadic coaching lives.

That’s about to change now that Jamion is the new men’s basketball coach at George Washington.

“Just fired up to be here with my brother,” Jamion told NBC Sports Washington following Monday’s introductory press conference. “Be able to watch his success, his growth. He’s grown so much as a coach in the last four to five years, but it’s been at a distance. I haven’t had a chance to watch him as much.”

Forget watching each other’s in-game strategy or demeanor from the stands. Other than a brief time when both were at Division III Emory & Henry – Jamion served as an assistant, Jarell one of the team’s guards – the two haven’t lived in the same city since Jamion left home in 2000 to play for Mount St. Mary’s.

“Just doing the things most siblings do often we haven’t been able to do for quite some time. Even having our family come up and watch us both in the same weekend will be kind of special,” Jarell told NBC Sports Washington.

The entire Christian clan attended Monday’s event on the Foggy Bottom campus. Jarell’s connection to the Colonials before Jamion’s hire came from Capital City general manager Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who was one of the best players in GW’s history. The two helped lead the expansion Go-Go to a 25-25 record this season.

Jamion’s coaching résumé includes reaching the NCAA Tournament twice during his six seasons coaching his alma mater before taking over at Siena for the 2018-19 season. He led the Saints to a nine-win improvement in his lone season. Then GW came calling.

“It was a tough decision,” Christian said of leaving Siena. He ultimately could not pass on the opportunity to coach in the Atlantic 10 and specifically the D.C.-based school.

During his introductory comments and press conference, Jamion showed the traits that drew interest from George Washington. There will not be a viral video of Jamion screaming at a player. His vibe is closer to a high-energy motivational speaker than a stodgy basketball coach.

“I think this synergy and this connectivity is what really makes the difference. I don't necessarily think it's the coaching strategy like some people might want to believe,” Jamion Christian said of his program-building mindset. “I think it's just about getting your group to play close together, to believe in one another and fight through adversity and love the process of doing it.”

There’s more to this Christian brother’s rise up the coaching ranks beyond inspiring words.

“[Jamion’s] work ethic is something I always noticed,” Jarell said.

When the two grew up outside of Richmond, Jamion often woke Jarell up at 7 a.m. to drag his little brother to the basketball court. “At that time it was just for me to rebound for him,” Jarell joked, but those early rising moments helped trigger his love of basketball.  

Jarell knew he wanted to try coaching somewhere around eighth grade. He turned on the family VCR to watch college point guards like Mateen Cleaves and Khalid El-Amin. Specifically, how they controlled the game as extensions of their respective head coaches.

Pigeonholing one brother as a motivator and the other a strategist doesn’t paint a complete picture of either. It does perhaps explain why one landed in the pros and the other remains in the college game.

“I like the college system. I value education and what it gives to them, and I like recruiting,” Jamion said. “I think that’s the biggest difference (between us). Recruiting is something you really have to love and I do love it. I think [Jarell] loves more of the coaching and the time with the guys. We’ve got two different personalities in that way, but are both pretty good in our own regard.

Now the coaching brothers have the chance to watch the other at work in person, not to mention offer advice and drop a playful jab along the way.

“We’ve got an opportunity here and we don’t know long this opportunity will present itself so I’m going to try to take full advantage of it,” Jamion said. “I just hope his team stops giving up 120 points a game. Play a little better defense.”


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Wizards at Lakers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Wizards at Lakers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards make the trek to Southern California Tuesday evening to play LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers to start a four-game road trip. 

Losers of four in a row, the Wizards are now well removed from a playoff spot and are facing the lottery. Fortunately for them, the Lakers are a for-sure lottery bound franchise completely eliminated from the postseason. 

Losses for the Wizards have come against the Utah Jazz, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, and Miami Heat, three of which are potential playoff teams. Those were must-wins for anyone hoping for a fairytale run to finish the year. Any faint playoff hopes for Washington are now quickly fading. 

Los Angeles is in a free fall. They've dropped 10 of their last 12 and 16 of their last 20. Sounds like a perfect chance for the Wizards to compile a win over one of the league's most storied franchises. 

The Wizards and Lakers game takes place on Tuesday, March 26 at 10:30 p.m. at Staples Center and will be broadcast on TNT. 


What: Washington Wizards vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
When: 10:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Lakers game will be broadcast nationally on TNT. Pregame and postgame coverage is on NBC Sports Washington Plus.
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards at Lakers on TNT's live stream page, WatchTNT.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM


9:30 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE - NBC Sports Washington Plus)
10:00 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE - NBC Sports Washington Plus)
10:30 PM: Wizards at Lakers (LIVE - TNT)
1:00 AM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE - NBC Sports Washington)


Wizards: Dwight Howard (OUT, Back), John Wall (OUT, Achilles), Ariza (DAY-TO-DAY, Groin)
Lakers: Lonzo Ball (OUT, Ankle), Brandon Ingram (OUT, Shoulder), Josh Hart (DAY-TO-DAY, Knee), Reggie Bullock (DAY-TO-DAY, Foot), Mike Muscala (DAY-TO-DAY, Ankle)


Bradley Beal, Wizards (25.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 5.6 apg): Beal is averaging 26.5 points, 6.6 assists and 6.0 rebounds over the month of March. He is  the clear mainstay and star for the Wizards as their 2018-19 season is coming to a close. 

LeBron James, Lakers (27.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 8.1 apg): James is reportedly on a minutes restriction, although they have not followed it over the past two weeks. Still in a more limited role than he is accustomed to he leads the team with 29.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 9.4 assists per game. 

Troy Brown Jr., Wizards (3.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.4 apg): Following the first two starts of his NBA career, Brown is finally getting a real taste of the association. The past five games have marked the only times this season that he received more than 20 minutes of playing time on the court. In his two starts, a combined 20 points on 8-for-19 shooting. 


Number of All-Time Meetings: 192 regular season games (no playoff games)
Regular Season Record: Lakers lead 118-74
Playoff Record: N/A
Last Meeting: Wizards won 128-110
Last 10: Wizards lead 8-2