Dan Feldman

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John Wall calls spending entire career with Wizards his ‘ultimate goal’

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Remember when John Wall complained about having no billboards in Washington?

The Wizards’ best season (49-33, reaching Game 7 of the second round) in nearly four decades plus a super-max contract extension projected to be worth $169 million over four years have Wall singing a different tune.

Wall, via Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports:

“I think a lot of players want to be in a certain place. Who wouldn’t want to be in L.A.? Who wouldn’t want to be in Miami? Those are amazing cities. Well, I’m in one of the best cities you want to be, in D.C. So I’m fine,” Wall told The Vertical

“You never know where you can be, anything can happen. I’m just glad I can be one of those guys that can say, ‘I’m still here.’ My ultimate goal is to try to be one of those guys that play my whole career with one team.”

“I know where I want to be. I know who I’m committed to,” Wall told The Vertical. “I could see if they did something disloyal to me, where I could be, ‘I got something on them, I’m going to pay them back.’ They have done nothing to me but been loyal to me. They stuck with me. They could’ve been, ‘Oh, he’s injury-prone, he’s not doing this, we’ve got to get rid of this guy.’ They’ve stuck with me through those tough times. And the player and the person that I’ve become now, is the same reason why I stuck with those guys.”

The Wizards have been extremely loyal to Wall. They’ve offered him two max contract extensions without fuss. His name never comes up in trade rumors. These are the types of things that fly under the radar until he brings up how much he appreciates them.

Wall will be in Washington at least another year, as the super-max extension prohibits a trade for that period. The Wizards are too far along building a team around Wall’s talents to deal him anytime soon anyway, anyway. He can’t become a free agent again until 2022, and that would require declining a player option projected to be worth about $47 million.

So, it appears Wall will be in Washington for a while. The rest of his career? It often doesn’t work out that way, but he has already spent seven years with the Wizards and is under contract for another six. That’s a big head start.

For now, it’s just nice Wall seems so happy in Washington.

Saturday Night Live mocks LaVar Ball (video)

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LaVar Ball presents comedians what has become a growing problem: It’s hard to eclipse the absurdity of reality.

At least the father of Lakers Lonzo Ball is getting the attention he seeks.

Ray Lewis: Michael Jordan told me he regrets playing for Wizards

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In a discussion of whether Aaron Rodgers should ever leave the Green Bay Packers, former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis brought up Michal Jordan.

Lewis on Fox Sports 1:

This is the honest goddamn truth. M.J. – I’ll never forget this – said to me, “The only thing I regret is putting on another uniform.”

Lewis seems to be implying Jordan regretted playing for the Wizards, because it tarnished his legacy as exclusively a Bull. And maybe, while Jordan was still in Washington and shortly thereafter, that was true. But, by now, he’s overwhelmingly remembered for his time in Chicago.

Jordan probably wanted to spend his entire career with the Bulls, but they had moved on. If he hadn’t come out of retirement with another team in order to preserve his status of having played for only Chicago, I think he’d regret not scratching that itch.

Besides, we don’t even know what Jordan meant. Maybe he regretted playing for the Wizards because they went 37-45 and 37-45 in his two seasons in Washington.

Dion Waiters on Kyrie Irving-Heat trade possibility: ‘Just know there’s an alpha male over there too in myself’

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Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers, apparently to escape LeBron James‘ shadow.

Though a trade with the Heat appears unlikely, they made Irving’s list of preferred destinations. They have a replacement point guard (Goran Dragic) and several wings (Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson, Wayne Ellington, Rodney McGruder and Okaro White) who could help Cleveland.

Miami also has Dion Waiters, Irving’s former Cavs teammate and sometimes-nemesis.

What would Waiters think of Irving getting traded to Miami?

Waiters in an interview with HipHopSince1987 (hat tip: Ryne Nelson of Slam):

It would help. I’m not against that. Just know there’s an alpha male over there too in myself.

I think that’s my biggest thing with everybody. Just, “Oh he got irrational confidence.” Man, I tell everybody, if I can make it from here, I can make it from anywhere. My mom got shot. My dad got shot. C’mon bro. There ain’t nothing that I haven’t seen. Why not? I need that confidence to get through. Every day, I need that confidence to get by. Every day. It ain’t got nothin’ to do with ball. It’s who I am. It was instilled in me, man.

But you know, there’s an alpha male over there already. If you come there, we can boogie together.

First of all, there’s introspection from Waiters I haven’t always heard from him. It’s hard to be irrationally confident if you can take a step back and logically evaluate your own confidence.

Waiters also denied a rift with Irving (which both players always have and was never believable) and said he’s unsurprised by Irving’s trade request. It wouldn’t surprise me if Waiters resents how he was always the villain in the dynamic between himself and Irving when they both share similar mentalities. Nobody would have been surprised by Waiters wanting to leave a winning LeBron-led team to lead his own team. Irving’s trade request shocked the masses.

Of course, perception isn’t the only difference between Waiters and Irving. Irving is way better, which is why most expected Waiters to get in line behind Irving.

There’d be the same expectation in Miami, which seems miserable for everyone involved – even if Waiters says he’s ready to boogie.

Danny Ainge: Cavaliers don’t affect Celtics’ roster plans

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Lakers coach Luke Walton admitted what we could already see: Teams are timing their rebuilds to occur during the Warriors’ reign.

What about in the Eastern Conference, where LeBron James‘ teams have dominated? Do the Cavaliers affect team-building strategy?

Celtics president Danny Ainge on The Dan Patrick Show:

It doesn’t, nope.

It doesn’t matter. We have our own problems and our own challenges and trying to find, put players together that can win and compete in the league today is very difficult. Obviously we’re competing to try to get the same players that everybody wants in the league, but other than that, we’re not reacting to things that they’re doing right now. They have a great team. When you have LeBron James on your team, you’ve got to find some players that can compete against him, and that’s tough to do. He’s been the best player in the league for the last five or six years.

I don’t believe Ainge. If he’s telling the truth, he’s not doing his job as well as he could.

LeBron is an overwhelming force right now. He’s also 32 and can become a free agent next summer. Whether it be age-related decline or leaving Cleveland, LeBron could radically change the Cavaliers’ ability to win within a year.

A challenger like the Celtics should absolutely account for that.

And it seems they have.

Though there are obviously other factors, Boston didn’t trade for Paul George, Jimmy Butler or DeMarcus Cousins. The Celtics have hung onto to high first-rounders. This looks like a team waiting out LeBron.

Of course, Ainge wouldn’t want to admit that. The Celtics and Cavaliers met in the playoffs two of the last three years. A conference finals rematch is commonly expected. Ainge wouldn’t want to tell his players – or the Cavs, for that matter – Boston was deferring to Cleveland.

The Celtics look like a team concerned by Cleveland. They swim like a team concerned by Cleveland. They quack like a team concerned by Cleveland.

Maybe, no matter how Ainge frames it, they’re a team concerned by Cleveland.