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Wizards are nearing important decision involving Jordan McRae's two-way contract

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Wizards are nearing important decision involving Jordan McRae's two-way contract

The Washington Wizards return to action after the All-Star break with their next game on Friday against the Hornets. Not long after that, they could have an important roster decision to make.

Guard Jordan McRae is nearing the end of his 45-day two-way clock. Players signed to two-way contracts are allowed a maximum of 45 days at the NBA level and McRae has only nine remaining, according to a person familiar with the situation. 

Once those nine days are up, he will not be allowed to play for the Wizards until the regular season ends for the Capital City Go-Go, their G-League affiliate. The Go-Go play their final game on March 23.

After those 45 days, the Wizards would also have the option to convert McRae's two-way deal to a standard NBA contract. But it appears unlikely they will do that based on the fact they have just $153,433 separating them from the luxury tax threshold (estimate via Spotrac). They just made a pair of trades to get out of the luxury tax and have no plans of going back in.

The 45-day clock has some specific rules that could help the Wizards' cause. Travel days do not count against the 45-day limit and neither do off-days on the road. Five of the Wizards' first eight games out of the break are away from Washington.

The 45 days are also not counted until G-League training camp, which generally begins about a month after NBA camps open. So, the 45-day maximum can technically be stretched to around 70 over the course of a full NBA season.

McRae, 27, has appeared in 19 games for the Wizards after joining them as a free agent last summer. He is averaging 4.3 points in 9.1 minutes at the NBA level.

He has been a star for the Go-Go, averaging 29.9 points (most in the G-League), 5.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He was named a G-League mid-season All-Star.

Surely, McRae would like an NBA contract, but it's worth noting he gets paid more money the more time he spends with the Wizards. Two-way players can earn roughly $300,000 more by playing out their 45 allotted days in the NBA.

Also, the Wizards would like to keep him beyond this season, according to someone with knowledge of their plans. They see him as part of a growing group of players they would like to retain that is headlined by Tomas Satoransky and Thomas Bryant. To keep McRae, they can make him a restricted free agent.

If the Wizards don't convert his contract, however, McRae will not be eligible for the playoffs this spring, if Washington is to qualify.

At this point, it appears likely the Wizards avoid McRae's 45-day clock from expiring. In order to do that, they may have to keep him down with the Go-Go for much longer than they would prefer to.

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Wizards' defense, playoff hopes falter in loss to Bulls

Wizards' defense, playoff hopes falter in loss to Bulls

The Washington Wizards lost to the Chicago Bulls 126-117 on Sunday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. As good as the Wizards played going into the All-Star break, they have been terrible coming out of it.

Washington squandered a strong start and watched the Bulls run away from them in the second half, as they lost their second straight game to fall to 20-35 on the season. The Wizards have not only lost two straight, but to bad teams, as they fell to Cleveland on Friday.

Though they were only two games, they should be enough to quiet down any talk about the Wizards and the playoff race. Yes, they are ninth in the East, but playoff teams don't lose games like this.

The Wizards have bigger fish to fry at the moment, like what happened to their defense which had been showing promise. The Bulls poured 126 points on them, including a season-high 73 in the first half.

Granted, Chicago didn't play particularly well, either. It had 26 turnovers and the Wizards had 24.

2. The Wizards caught the Bulls at a time when Coby White might be the hottest scorer in the NBA. He dropped a career-high 33 points the night before against the Suns, then turned around and torched the Wizards for the same amount.

White had 16 points in the first quarter alone and 26 by halftime. He ended the first quarter with a buzzer-beating three-pointer that bounced in on a shooter's roll.

White has had some nice moments as a rookie so far, but has yet to find the consistency as a scorer that made him so good in college. Maybe he's in the process of turning a corner.

3. The Wizards did not play well, but Bradley Beal did drop a career-high 53 points and he made history in the process. Beal moved into second place all-time on the Wizards/Bullets franchise scoring list, passing Jeff Malone. 

The only guy ahead of him now is Elvin Hayes, who at 15,551 career points has a 4,448-point lead. Beal would likely pass him in two or three seasons, if he remains in Washington.

Beal bounced back from a poor shooting night against the Cavs by going 15-for-27 overall and 5-for-11 from three. However, he had seven turnovers after having six against Cleveland.

This was Beal's eighth 40-point game of the season. Only James Harden (17) and Trae Young (10) have more. It was his second career 50-point game, which ties him for the second-most in Wizards/Bullets history with Bernard King. Only Gilbert Arenas, who scored 50 points three separate times, has done it more in a Washington uniform.

4. Rui Hachimura got going early once again with eight points in his first six minutes. But he slowed down after his hot start and finished with 10. That continues to be a pattern for him.

What stood out positively in this game, though, was his aggression on the fastbreak. Hachimura has clearly been told recently he has the green light to take the ball up the floor once he gets a rebound. Hachimura did it several times in this game and to great effect. In the first quarter, he finished with a layup on one play then got fouled on another.

5. White's teammate Tomas Satoransky was also a problem for the Wizards and that has become a theme already in his short tenure since he left Washington. Now through four games, Satoransky has given his former team quite a bit of trouble.

He had 15 points and 13 assists on Sunday and is now averaging 17.3 points against the Wizards since leaving them in free agency. And in just about every game he's played against them, he's thrown down a big-time dunk.

In this game he got Davis Bertans with an and-one poster slam. Remember, he rarely utilized that skill in Washington. His teammates would tease him as a 'practice dunker' because he could throw down crazy slams, but never in actual games. It looks like that is no longer the case.

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WATCH: Bradley Beal achieves multiple scoring feats vs. Bulls

WATCH: Bradley Beal achieves multiple scoring feats vs. Bulls

As the Wizards' one-man show this season, Bradley Beal has achieved a number of personal and franchise milestones already this season. On Sunday night in Chicago, he added two more to his resume. 

First came the 25-point streak. Entering the game, Beal had been on a tear scoring the ball and had a career-high 13-game streak of 25-point performances. 

It didn't take Beal long to get to 25, extending his streak to 14 games with a tough finish through contact. 

Beal now has the second-longest streak of 25-point games in the NBA this season, surpassing Giannis Antetokounmpo (13), and now only trails James Harden (19). 

Shortly thereafter, Beal etched his name higher on the Wizards' all-time scoring list. He needed 34 points to move past Jeff Malone for second place in franchise history for points. 

Beal managed to get there with two unceremonious free throws, but his recent scoring surge has been sparked by his relentlessness attacking the basket and getting to the free-throw line.

Next up, Elvin Hayes. 

The Wizards needed a furious comeback to even get close to the Bulls in the second half, so Beal took it upon himself to score just about every point for Washington down the stretch. 

In doing that, he notched his eighth 40-point game this season, breaking the career-high he set last year for 40-pieces. 

Only Harden (19) and Trae Young (10) have more 40-point games this season. He'll need nine more to set the franchise record. 

And wait, there's more!

Beal set a new career-high for total points scored in a game, putting in 53 points on 15-of-27 from the field, 5-of-11 from three and 18-of-20 from the free-throw line. 

As the Wizards' inconsistencies this season may as well prevent them from a playoff spot, the one constant fans can enjoy on a nightly basis is Beal's production scoring the ball. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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