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Why Masai Ujiri could be the next Wizards GM

Why Masai Ujiri could be the next Wizards GM

Wizards fans received an inkling of hope for an otherwise despondent franchise on Tuesday morning's Sports Junkies. Greg Brady of Toronto's Sportsnet 590 The Fan called in and floated the possibility of GM Masai Ujiri leaving the Toronto Raptors for the Washington Wizards this summer. 

"I would not dispel those Masai rumors about the Wizards," Brady told The Sports Junkies Tuesday. "There's a lot of people here that are stuck in the moment, trying to enjoy the moment. But I think there's every chance that Masai Ujiri's running your team, the Wizards, next season. I think that's a reasonable possibility."

The Raptors are headed to the NBA finals for the first time in history, they have arguably the world's best player in Kawhi Leonard and Ujiri is beloved in Toronto. Since his arrival as GM in 2013, the Raptors have won at least 48 games every year; he's turned a perennial loser to a contender. Why would he leave such a cozy situation?

Although it's smooth sailing for the Raptors right now, there's uncertainty on the horizon. Kawhi Leonard is in the final year of his contract and although he's an absolute god in Toronto (see game seven against the Sixers), he's from Southern California and the Lakers and Clippers rumors loom large. If he leaves in the off-season, the Raptors will flip from title contenders to rebuilders. Keep in mind, to acquire Leonard last summer Ujiri had to trade All-Star Demar DeRozan, a massive risk considering Leonard's impending free agency and DeRozan's consistency. If Leonard leaves, the Raptors will have Most Improved Player candidate Pascal Siakam, but not much else. They'll have to squeeze everything they can out of the aging core of Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Danny Green. 

On April 30, NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig reported that Ujiri had expressed interest in Washington D.C. Ujiri is the director of the "Basketball Without Borders" program, and he believes he could do more for it in the nation's capital. Ujiri considers himself a global ambassador of the game, and there's no denying the platform is better in Washington, D.C. than Toronto. He's good friends with former president Barack Obama and his wife grew up in the D.C. area.

There are lots of roadblocks to Ujiri's path to Washington which Chris Miller, Adam Wise and Drew Gooden discussed on Wizards Talk. 

"Masai is going to come with a big price tag, I don't know what that budget is," Gooden noted. "You're going to have to pay to play basically for what is going on with the Washington Wizards right now."

Luring Ujiri means the Wizards couldn't hire anyone until Ujiri is ready to talk, which won't happen until Leonard makes his free agency decision. Free agency starts after the draft, meaning the Wizards would be without a GM when they select ninth come June 20. If that happens and Ujiri decides to stay in Toronto, whatever GM the Wizards do hire won't have time on their side.

There's no doubt that there are obstacles to bringing Ujiri to Washington, D.C., but this is a former Executive of the Year who's in contention this year as well. If anyone is worth the trouble, it's him. 

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Rui Hachmiura takes water break, uses real waterboy in NBA 2K20 Player Tournament victory

Rui Hachmiura takes water break, uses real waterboy in NBA 2K20 Player Tournament victory

He may have not been on an actual basketball court, but Rui Hachimura must have still broken a sweat during his NBA 2K matchup with Donovan Mitchell on Sunday.

He needed a real-life water break - and even had some help from a waterboy.

Hachimura, the 13 seed, took on four-seed Mitchell in the NBA 2K20 Player Tournament, and came out with a 74-71 victory. 

The winner of the tournament receives $100,000 to go to a charity in support of coronavirus relief efforts.

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Wizards continue win streak, beat Pacers in 2K simulation

Wizards continue win streak, beat Pacers in 2K simulation

The Wizards picked up their sixth-straight win in eight games in Sunday night’s NBA 2K simulation, beating the Indiana Pacers 67-51 on the road.  

Bradley Beal wasted no time getting things started, knocking down an early three to put the Wizards on the board.   

Later in the second, Beal proved just how difficult he is to guard. With an assist from Davis Bertans, Beal finished with a huge slam to lift the Wizards over the Pacers 30-28, closing out the half.

Beal finished the game with 23 points in 21 minutes. 

Here’s how the Wizards won: 

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Rui Hachimura shows off

The rookie set the tone with a big alley-oop dunk in the first quarter, extending Washington’s lead by seven. He had 12 points at the end of the first half with 10 in the paint. 

Hachimura came back fueled up in the third, knocking the ball loose from T.J. Warren with a steal and dunk. 

 

Hachimura finished with 20 points, four rebounds and three steals. 

Game of runs 

Washington took advantage of a set pace to take an early lead over Indiana. The Wizards started the game with both a 7-0 and 13-2 run in the first quarter. 

The Pacers used their defense to answer in the second, taking the lead on a 22-6 run before the Wizards followed with a 16-6 run to end the quarter 35-30 at the half.

It got pretty close early in the third when Indiana went on a 9-4 run to cut the lead to 39-38 but the Wizards were able to fully reload going on a 13-2 run.

The Wizards would go on to continue the run to 29-9 later in the fourth to extend the lead to 19 with 35 seconds left.  

Washington had 11 offensive rebounds, nine steals (eight of which came in the second half alone) and 21 assists on 27 made field goals. 

Big man in the paint

Thomas Bryant controlled the boards with 15 rebounds.

The 2K Wizards look to continue their winning streak as they return home to virtually host the Toronto Raptors, the reigning NBA champions on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. 

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