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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Marcin Gortat on his season and life after basketball

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Marcin Gortat on his season and life after basketball

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller talk about the Wizards' recent slump and the minutes piling up for Bradley Beal. They also break down what the Ramon Sessions contract means for their potential playoff roster.

Plus, Wizards center Marcin Gortat joins the show to talk about his season, the development of Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Tomas Satoransky and what he plans to do after his career is over.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Bradley Beal thanks D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for new Black Lives Matter Plaza, matching mural on 16th street

Bradley Beal thanks D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for new Black Lives Matter Plaza, matching mural on 16th street

Washingon, D.C. Mayor Murial Bowser had "Black Lives Matter" painted Friday on a street that leads up to the White House, an effort to honor those who have peacefully protested throughout the week following the death of George Floyd.

Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who has been active off and on social media in the fight against racial injustices, took to Instagram on Friday to thank Bowser for her act.

"There are people who are craving to be heard and to be seen, and to have their humanity recognized, and we had the opportunity to send that message loud and clear on a very important street in our city," Bowser said during a press conference Friday, via NBC News.

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Bowser posted a video to her own Instagram account on Friday, officially naming that section of 16th street 'Black Lives Matter Plaza.'

Earlier this week, the Wizards released a strong, unified statement on social media condemning social injustice, racism and police brutality. Multiple players, including Beal, reposted the statement on their respective Instagram story.

The message had four different statements:

"We will no longer tolerate the assassination of people of color in this country."

"We will no longer accept the abuse of power from law enforcement."

"We will no longer accept ineffective government leaders who are tone-deaf, lack compassion or respect for communities of color."

"We will no longer shut up and dribble."

Beal's Instagram post on Friday should not come as a surprise to anyone. In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wizards guard John Wall explained that Beal was the one who led the charge regarding the team's statement.

"We got a group chat that we have with our team,” Wall said. "Brad [Beal] started off with, like, this is what he was going to post, so we all agreed to it. We all agreed to it. We felt like it was a powerful message. We wasn’t going to force the organization or anybody to join us; this is the players coming together, and the organization came and did their thing."

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Drew Gooden says NBA plan will be 'tough' on Wizards, Trail Blazers

Drew Gooden says NBA plan will be 'tough' on Wizards, Trail Blazers

The NBA’s return-to-play proposal was approved by team owners Thursday, putting the wheels in motion for 22 teams to finish out the regular season in Orlando beginning July 31.

Although fans, players and owners alike will all be excited to see the NBA return in some form more than four months after the season was put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak, the structure of the salvaged season and health protocols surrounding it will each present their own sets of challenges for players to overcome.

Fourteen-year NBA veteran and NBC Sports Washington’s Wizards color commentator Drew Gooden appeared on Lunch Talk Live with Mike Tirico on Friday to discuss the approved format. His first reaction was similar to that of many: excitement for basketball to start back up again.

“As a player, I’m excited especially if I’m with the Wizards,” Gooden said. “Losing John Wall beginning of the season and Bradley Beal had a great season with an All-Star snub. Hopefully he will be an All-NBA player. This is the second season. They are having second life.”

However, Gooden admitted that it’s going to be challenging to start back up again after months of inactivity. For two teams, however, there are a set of mental hurdles to overcome as well.

“As a fan you’ve got to be happy with the structure,” Gooden said. “I think it’s a great situation. The season was on the brink of being canceled. As a player it’s tough. It depends on which situation you’re in as a player and what team you’re on…With winning teams it’s easy to stay in shape because you have the eyes on the prize.

“The Wizards and Portland [Trail Blazers] have it tough because of having to stay in shape. The uncertainty of the outcome of the regular season. As a player you can have three mindsets: in the playoffs on the cusp of the playoffs or out of the playoffs. That’s how you have to take on and train and prepare for these games.”

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The eight teams that didn’t make the cut for Orlando already have their lottery odds locked in, while the Wizards, who currently have the ninth-best odds, cannot improve their chances of landing a top pick. The Trail Blazers were the lone team to vote against the 22-team proposal, reportedly citing “more competitive and innovative formats on the table.”

But the plan is set and 22 teams will have to start training again in order to prepare for the July 31 start date. With everyone playing in a healthy-conscious neutral setting, things are going to feel very different than normal for the players involved.

“There’s no easy way to cut it,” Gooden said. “If you want the season to continue you can’t be picky. I think this setup is going to be great. Partnering with Walt Disney and having a place to stay with your family outside of the team hotel is great. There will be a lot of protocol on the maintenance in care of the players. To protect them and the staff. It’s not just the players but the personnel around the players. The biggest thing is the safety of players and people that work around the NBA and media personnel.”

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