Momentum is building in Washington, where the Wizards have won their last seven home games. A palpable sense of excitement surrounds the team, which is closing in on its goal. Though achieving the feat seemed unlikely as recently as weeks ago, the players openly talk about it now. Against all odds, the Wizards might somehow do it.
Via J. Michael of CSNWashington.com:
“That’s what we’re shooting for,” point guard John Wall said of ninth place. “We know we gave a game away in Orlando. … We’re approaching (the last nine games) like a playoff team, like we are fighting for the seventh or eighth seed.”
Perhaps, the Wizards – tied with the Raptors at three games back from the No. 9 76ers with nine games left – will appreciate this approach if they’re healthy and fighting for an actual playoff spot next season. It might be more likely, they’d rather have Shabazz Muhammad playing for them at that point rather than Alex Len – the difference between the draft 9th-best player and 11th-best player according to DraftExpress.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.
The Wizards are getting a new practice facility.
For some reason, the Wizards have to pay just $4.46 million for it. Washington D.C. will cover the rest.
How much is the rest?
Jonathan O’Connell of The Washington Post:
The District”s sports and convention arm, Events DC, is proposing a series of upgrades to a planned Washington Wizards practice facility and entertainment center in Southeast that would likely reduce the total number of seats but add $10 million to the original $55 million price tag.
The new spending would be paid for by Events DC, which is funded by a percentage of hotel occupancy taxes. It does not require approval by the D.C. Council but will have to be voted on by the Events DC board Aug. 11.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis pledged to move the team’s practices there as well as home games for the Washington Mystics and a future Wizards’ NBA D-League affiliate team. His company, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, agreed to pay $4.46 million — or 8 percent of the original $55 million cost.
But in a July 26 letter to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive of Events DC, wrote that the original $55 million budget was “based on a preliminary estimate, as development and analysis of the program and concept design had not yet been performed.”
So, the District agreed to pay for a project without knowing how much it would cost and got the primary beneficiary — Leonsis — to kick in a share based on a low early estimate? It’s almost as if politicians are inept or have ulterior motives.
At least Wizards practices and WNBA games will bring plenty of new money into the community.
As Leonsis said, “There’s never been a better time to be an owner of an NBA franchise.”
The Bulls reportedly believe Jimmy Butler has changed as he has emerged into stardom.
Where would they get that idea?
Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:
This is mostly semantic. If Butler — who began his college career at a junior college and was drafted No. 30 — feels he no longer has a chip on his shoulder, that’s how he feels. What is he supposed to do about that? As long as he continues to work hard and finds new sources of motivation, he’ll be fine.
It’s just an unconventional approach. Most players, even once they find success, talk about continuing to be motivated by earlier slights.
Having a chip on his shoulder got Butler far, so it’s a little unnerving to see him switch from a mindset that worked. But people change — sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Chicago has little option but to ride it out as Butler finds himself.