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Wizards kept Davis Bertans because they feel he's a perfect for John Wall and their future

Wizards kept Davis Bertans because they feel he's a perfect for John Wall and their future

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards pulled the trigger on two trades before Thursday's trade deadline, but the most notable move was one they didn't make.

Despite fielding calls for months regarding sharpshooting forward Davis Bertans, the Wizards held firm and denied every offer. According to general manager Tommy Sheppard, nearly every playoff team in both conferences placed a call.

"There was never a doubt in my mind that we wanted to keep him. But I promise you that the more you say you want to keep somebody, the more teams don't want to believe you and they keep calling," Sheppard said.

There are two main reasons why the Wizards kept Bertans. One is they feel they can re-sign him in the summer. Bertans, 27, is on an expiring contract and will be an unrestricted free agent. The Wizards, though, have his Bird rights, which allow them to exceed the salary cap with his contract.

"I think just that overall we both agree this has been a great situation for us and it's been a great situation for him. When somebody tells me this is where they want to be, I take them at face value for that," Sheppard explained. 

"Davis and I have had a great relationship, [same with] his agent. From Ted Leonsis on down; everybody in our organization has made it clear to Davis 'this is a great place for you and you've been great for us."

Another reason why Bertans is still in Washington is that he fits perfectly into the direction they want their roster to go. Bertans has emerged as one of the best 3-point shooters in the NBA, this year shooting 42.9% on 8.4 attempts per game from long range.

Sheppard envisions Bertans running the floor with guards John Wall and Bradley Beal with Rui Hachimura carving up the midrange and their centers running to the rim.

"The shooting is the big aspect that is so exciting for us. That just opens up the floor when John Wall comes back," Sheppard said. "Fifty three-point field goal attempts a night will probably be the norm in the next two years or three years. That's where the game is going."

Sheppard also believes the benefits could be mutual for Bertans. Bertans was known as a shooter during his first three seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, but he never averaged more than 4.4 attempts per game.

In Washington, Bertans is taking more shots yet he's still making them at the exact same rate he did last season.

"There is something to be said that this is a good system for him and he recognizes that," Sheppard said.

Both sides are a natural fit on the court, but whether the same is true in the negotiating room will be determined this summer when Bertans can sign a new contract. Because his last extension was for two years and not three or more, he has to wait until the offseason to negotiate a new deal.

And this year's free-agent class happens to be a thin one. Bertans is going to get paid a lot of money, whether it's from the Wizards or another team. Sheppard has bet on the fact he and the Wizards can find an agreement.

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2020 NBA Draft: Isaiah Stewart would give Wizards rebounding, but overall fit is questionable

2020 NBA Draft: Isaiah Stewart would give Wizards rebounding, but overall fit is questionable

The Washington Wizards are likely to have a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2020 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Isaiah Stewart

Team: Washington
Position: Forward/center
Age: 19
Height: 6-9
Weight: 250
Wingspan: 7-4

2019/20 stats: 32 G, 32.2 mpg, 17.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.5 spg, 2.1 bpg, 57.0 FG% (6.0/10.5), 25.0 3PT% (0.2/0.6), 77.4 FT%

Player comparison: Jae Crowder, DeJuan Blair

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 21st, Sports Illustrated 16th, Ringer 27th, NBADraft.net 26th, Bleacher Report 26th

5 things to know:

*One of the strongest built players in this draft class, Stewart is a bruiser on the boards and on the block. He was a force in college, bullying his way to the rim with little resistance. His game is currently best-suited for the interior, as he lacks an outside shot. But he has been effective at every level of basketball so far playing that style, and his high motor will help his chances in the NBA.

*Stewart is one of the best rebounders in this class, averaging 8.8 per game including 2.8 on the offensive end. He was a bit inconsistent in that area, however. Seven times he grabbed five or fewer rebounds in a game, while 10 times he had 11 or more. He had 19 boards in a game against Oregon in January.

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*Stewart was also a standout rim-protector, averaging 2.1 blocks per game. Whether that will translate to the next level, however, is unclear given his height and the fact he does not appear to be an explosive leaper. He would have to rely on his length and instincts. Draymond Green makes that work, but few others have been able to.

*He hasn't shown many signs he can become a reliable outside shooter, but there are some. The fact he made 77.4 percent of his free throws is a positive. Also, he displays solid touch in the midrange. But given he didn't make many outside jumpers at all in college, he will be docked for his shooting in the pre-draft process.

*Stewart was a big-time recruit just one year ago. A McDonald's All-American and the high school player of the year, Stewart was ranked second in his class by Rivals and third by ESPN. The only player rated higher than him by Rivals was James Wiseman of Memphis.

Fit with Wizards: There are some things to like about Stewart's fit with the Wizards, especially the fact his two biggest strengths - rebounding and rim protection - happen to be arguably their most glaring weaknesses. His high energy and physical style of play would also be a nice change of pace on their roster.

If the Wizards drafted Stewart, he would likely slide into their bench as a back-up to Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant. He could play the four alongside Moe Wagner or the five in small-ball lineups, perhaps with Davis Bertans at the four, if Bertans indeed re-signs.

The fact Stewart is a committed rebounder and rim protector would give head coach Scott Brooks some lineup flexibility, though it's questionable how Stewart would fit alongside Hachimura given neither would be able to stretch the floor consistently. If Hachimura develops a more potent three-point shot, then they could better co-exist.

Given where Stewart is projected to go in this draft, though, it seems unlikely he will be a fit for where the Wizards are going to pick. He doesn't have the athleticism or well-rounded game to be a top-10 selection. Unless he slipped to the second round, or the Wizards made a trade, the two sides probably won't line up on draft night.

But if he were to somehow slip to them in the second round, Stewart could make a lot of sense for the Wizards. Given his NBA-ready strength and motor, he could be a high-floor type of player with a good chance of becoming a solid rotation piece.

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NBA engaged in conversations for a late-July return at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

NBA engaged in conversations for a late-July return at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

The NBA appears to be on the path to a return.

The league is in significant talks with the Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 season in late July, with Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando as the lone site to resume the games.

News first reported that Orlando emerged as the clear frontrunner on Wednesday, and NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass confirmed such in a league statement.

"The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 NBA season in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing," Bass said.

"Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place," the statement concluded.

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The league was also considering both Las Vegas and Houston as potential sites to resume action, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. However, the NBA is reported to prefer the Orlando location due to it's closed campus and ample hotel options. Commissioner Adam Silver has said he doesn't believe the NBA will need to have a closed-off, "bubble-like" environment at the resort when teams do return.

Earlier this week, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the NBA was expected to release guidelines near June 1 for how its teams can recall out-of-market players to return. Wojnarowski called this the "first step toward a formal ramp-up for the season’s resumption."

The NBA season has been paused since March 11 when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

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