John Wall

John Wall says Wizards need to win for him to become an All-Star

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John Wall received a max contract extension from the Wizards this summer that will see him earn $80 million over the next five years.

Now that he’s being paid like an All-Star, it’s time for him to go out and actually perform well enough to deserve the honor.

Wall was limited to just 49 games a season ago due to injury, but managed to put up better scoring numbers in less minutes than he had in either of his two previous seasons.

The talent and the potential are there, and that’s what the Wizards were paying for. But Wall believes that the team needs to show significant improvement before he’ll be in line to receive an accolade like an All-Star appearance that recognizes his individual contributions.

From Michael Lee of the Washington Post:

On his chances at being an all-star next season: “I feel like if I’m winning games and I have my team in the playoffs and I’m doing okay, leading my team, I feel I have a great shot at that. But if you’re not winning. It’s very rare if your team’s not in the playoff race or one of the top teams. It happened last year for two guys [Kyrie Irving and Jrue Holiday], but it happened because other guys were injured. But those guys were deserving.”

Wall won’t have to worry about Holiday this season, as he’s now in the West playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. Rajon Rondo was voted in as a starter last year, but he’s not expected back until December, making his return to the midseason exhibition unlikely, at best.

Derrick Rose is back, however, and is a virtual lock to take Rondo’s place in the starting lineup. Irving should make the squad again too, which leaves Wall competing with someone like Deron Williams for the final guard spot on the Eastern Conference roster.

Winning helps, certainly. But if Wall has a breakout season and the Wizards are simply improved, he’ll have as good a chance as anyone to earn himself that All-Star appearance.

Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)

Gordon Hayward (20), del Jazz de Utah, intenta un enceste ante Thon Maker (7) y Michael Beasley (9), de los Bucks de Milwaukee, en el duelo del viernes 24 de febrero de 2017, en Milwaukee. (AP Foto/Benny Sieu)
AP Foto/Benny Sieu
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Are we obligated to call Gordon Hayward “deceptively athletic”?

The Bucks have something special in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and they think they have something special in Thon Maker.

But Hayward jammed all over those two in the Jazz’s 109-95 win last night.

First, he got Antetokounmpo:

Then, he got Maker:

Report: Lakers working toward buyout with Jose Calderon; Warriors, Rockets interested

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18:  Jose Calderon #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a called foul during the second half of a game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on November 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.

As was expected, the Lakers are now talking about buying out the Spanish national and letting him head to a playoff team for a stretch run, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….

Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.

Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.

Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.

Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.

There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.

Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)

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Bobby Portis didn’t enjoy getting blocked by Marquese Chriss. And Portis sure didn’t appreciate how Chriss fell on him.

But it was all worth it (for me, at least) just to see the Bulls forward make a face that reminded me of this:

Dwyane Wade with dagger dunk to seal Bulls win vs. Suns (VIDEO)

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The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.

The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.

The Bulls won 128-121. Devin Booker led the Suns with 27.