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Report: John Wall, Marcin Gortat met to discuss growing tension

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Washington Wizards guard John Wall is going to miss the 2018 NBA All-Star Game thanks to knee surgery. Meanwhile, his team is playing well without him and the tension between the All-Star guard and his teammates has been apparent.

The rest of the team has made it a point to push the mantra of “everybody eats” with Wall out, it has been seen by many at a dig at the ball-dominant Wizards star. Marcin Gortat sent out a tweet following a recent win that many — including Wall — interpreted as pointed criticism for the injured star.

Speaking with ESPN, Wall openly dismissed Gortat, saying that he “spoon fed” the big man buckets. As you might imagine, that probably didn’t sit right with Gortat or folks inside the Washington organization.

Now, it appears both Wall and Gortat have tried to rectify things.

According to a report from ESPN’s Chris Haynes, the two sat down to try and discuss the tension growing between them.

Via ESPN:

The meeting, which didn’t last long, facilitated the airing of grievances, but sources say there is still more work to be done to fully repair that relationship.

Those close to the franchise suggest these are natural altercations from the rigors of such an emotional season.

After a 122-119 win over the red-hot Toronto Raptors on Feb. 1, the team’s third consecutive victory with Wall sidelined as he recovers from knee surgery, Gortat tweeted:

Soon after, Wall, sources say, reached out to Gortat via a text message and essentially stated that if there’s a problem, direct it to him instead of using social media to spew backhanded insults, sources with knowledge of the conversation told ESPN.

Gortat has explained that his tweet was never intended as a jab to Wall, and reiterated that he was genuinely praising the team for a big win.

Wall is slated to be back before the playoffs start, and he will need to be able to play alongside Gortat if the Wizards want to make a run into the postseason.

Washington currently sits in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

Victor Oladipo’s practice dunk better than anything he – or maybe anyone – did in dunk contest (video)

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Victor Oladipo has grown into far more than just a dunker.

In fact, in Saturday’s dunk contest, he didn’t look like a dunker at all.

The Pacers star missed all three attempts of his first dunk, and a Black Panther mask was by far the biggest draw of his second. Oladipo was eliminated after the first round.

Maybe Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t the only eliminated dunker who left something in his bag. This Oladipo dunk – 180 degrees, throwing ball off the backboard with his left hand while in mid-air, dunking with his right hand – while preparing in Los Angeles was awesome.

Larry Nance Jr. had the contest’s best dunk. This would have rivaled it.

Pelicans owner Tom Benson hospitalized with flu symptoms

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has been hospitalized with flu symptoms.

A statement released Wednesday by the NFL and NBA clubs says their 90-year-old owner is resting comfortably at Ochsner Medical Center, a hospital which also serves as a major sponsor and which owns naming rights to the teams’ training headquarters.

Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012.

In recent years, Benson has overhauled his estate plan so that his third wife, Gayle, would be first in line to inherit control of the two major professional franchises.

 

Report: Seattle hosting Kings-Warriors preseason game

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Kevin Durant spent his rookie season in Seattle, before the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. He has said Seattle fans deserved to see him grow up in the NBA after supporting his promising start.

They’ll get their chance.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

The Kings and Golden State Warriors have scheduled a preseason game next season in Seattle, according to multiple league sources.

The Oct. 6 meeting between Northern California teams will be the first NBA game in the Key Arena since the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City after the 2007-08 season and became the Thunder.

This game will be loaded with storylines. Not only Durant, but the Kings considered moving to Seattle a few years ago. And of course, the return of NBA basketball to Seattle.

At some point, Seattle will get its own team again. For now, this preseason game creates intrigue there.

Report: Kawhi Leonard cleared medically, seeking second opinion

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard played again this season, a stark reversal from just a month ago. Back then, even while announcing Leonard was out indefinitely with a quad injury, the San Antonio coach said Leonard wouldn’t miss the rest of the season.

What’s going on?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.

Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said.

The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.

At first glance, this sounds like Derrick Rose five years ago. Even after he was cleared to play following a torn ACL, the then-Bulls star remained mysterious about when he’d suit up. His confidence in his physical abilities seemed to be a major issue, and he was never the same player since (suffering more leg injuries).

But the Spurs famously favor resting players to preserve long-term health. They seem unlikely to rush back Leonard. They might even sit players who want to play more often. And Leonard isn’t Rose.

Still, it’s clear something is amiss in San Antonio. Maybe not amiss enough to end Leonard’s tenure there, but the longer this lingers, the more time for tension to percolate.