Tag: Washington Wizards

Charles Barkley on Kevin Durant: “I hope he stays in OKC”


The Washington Wizards are going all-in on trying to convince Kevin Durant to come home next summer. They can offer a max contract, the chance to play with John Wall and Bradley Beal in the backcourt, plus a solid array of role players. On top of all that, they are in the East — Cleveland will be a challenge, but the West remains a gauntlet of top teams.

It’s a good offer.

And the sense around the league is it likely is not enough. Nobody knows for sure what Durant is going to do next summer as a free agent, there are far too many variables from this coming season that will impact his decision to say with any certainty what will happen. But the Thunder are the frontrunners.

Charles Barkley hopes he stays put in Oklahoma City. Barkley joined CSN’s SportsTalk Live in Washington D.C. and told the city most hyped to land Durant he hopes their efforts fall short.

“I hope he stays in OKC,” Barkley said. “I would love because he’s a terrific player and a terrific kid, I would love to see him stay in OKC his entire career.

“But you know, man, these guys do what they want to do. I wish them all the best, but for some reason they all want to play in big cities like you’re going to be more famous winning in a certain city. If you win a championship in Cleveland, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, you’re going to be just as big. So, I hope he stays in Oklahoma City. I wish him nothing but the best. I just hope he gets healthy.”

I’m not sure was paying full attention to the NBA this summer. The “they all want to play in big cities” theory suffered a pretty ugly beating — Greg Monroe chose Milwaukee over New York, LaMarcus Aldridge chose San Antonio over Los Angeles, Kevin Love chose Cleveland over Los Angeles or New York, and the list goes on. The world of social media has shrunk the marketing globe and shrunk the advantage big markets used to have in that regard.

That said, nobody knows if Barkley is going to get what he wants. Frankly, I doubt Kevin Durant himself knows what he will decide next summer. You can be sure he’s thought about it, but an NBA season is a lifetime for these kinds of decisions, and a lot of factors will come into play.

I believe we can all agree with Barkley on one thing: I just hope KD gets healthy and plays a full season again, too. The NBA is better with him on the court.

Jamal Crawford tweets he wishes he were a free agent

Los Angeles Clippers v San Antonio Spurs - Game Four

Jamal Crawford was the Clippers’ only reliable reserve last year.

Now, he’s on a suddenly loaded team that projects to start Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Paul Pierce, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and bring Crawford, Austin Rivers, Lance Stephenson, Wesley Johnson, Josh Smith and Cole Aldrich off the bench.

Is Crawford excited? Maybe.

But he also wishes he were a free agent.

Let’s not mistake Crawford’s desire to be a free agent for him being a malcontent.

If he were a free agent, he might re-sign with the Clippers. He’d probably get more than the $5,675,000 he’s owed next season – or at least more security with a long-term deal.

He’d also get the freedom to choose his team. He might see himself as somewhat superfluous with Rivers and Stephenson.

As is, the Clippers can trade him anywhere without giving him a say. (And they might.)

Most players probably wish they could be free agents now. John Wall certainly does, and that has nothing to do with him wanting to leave the Wizards. This is a summer to make money, and there’s the freedom of choice that always exists with free agency.

The Clippers present a good situation – just not so good that Crawford would reject the ability to explore the market on his own terms. That’s not only reasonable, it’s quite logical.

Gregg Popovich will coach Team Africa in exhibition against Team World featuring Gasol brothers

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Four

We already knew Luol Deng (Team Africa) and Chris Paul (Team World) would serve as captains in the NBA’s first exhibition game in Africa.

Who else will participate in that Aug. 1 contest in Johannesburg, South Africa?

NBA release:

Team Africa, comprised of players born in Africa and second-generation African players, will feature team captain and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng (Miami Heat; Great Britain; born in South Sudan), Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers; U.S.; parents from Nigeria), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece; parents from Nigeria), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets; France; parent from Cameroon), Bismack Biyombo (Toronto Raptors; Democratic Republic of the Congo), Boris Diaw (San Antonio Spurs; France; parent from Senegal), Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves; Senegal), Festus Ezeli (Golden State Warriors; Nigeria), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder; Congo)*, and Luc Mbah a Moute (Sacramento Kings; Cameroon).


Team World, comprised of players from the rest of the world, will feature team captain, NBPA President and eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers; U.S.), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards; U.S.), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets; U.S.),Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies; Spain), Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls; Spain), Jeff Green (Memphis Grizzlies; U.S.), Marcus Smart(Boston Celtics; U.S.), Evan Turner (Boston Celtics; U.S.) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic; Montenegro).

Five-time NBA Champion Gregg Popovich will coach Team Africa, with 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams serving as assistant coaches.  Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King and Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri are the Team Africa general managers, with Eric Waters (Washington Wizards) serving as the team’s athletic trainer.

Brooklyn Nets Coach Lionel Hollins will coach Team World, with Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens serving as assistant coach.  San Antonio Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford is the Team World general manager, while Keon Weise (Orlando Magic) will be the team’s athletic trainer.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will attend the game along with NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria).

There’s a good amount of talent on both teams and coaching staffs – which speaks to just how far basketball has come in Africa and how committed the NBA is to growing it further.

Exhibition games are always hit or miss, but I’m looking forward to watching this one.

Clippers sign Branden Dawson, get hidden savings

Branden Dawson, Willie Reed
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The Clippers entered the 2015 NBA draft without any picks, but they bought the No. 55 selection – used to draft Branden Dawson – for $630,000.

The former Michigan State forward has played well in summer league, so the Clippers aren’t letting their investment go to waste.

Clippers release:

The L.A. Clippers announced today the team has signed forward Branden Dawson.

Presumably, Dawson got a minimum contract, because that’s all the Clippers have to offer. They’ll get extra savings because they drafted him rather than hoping he’d sign as undrafted free agent.

Undrafted players making less than the minimum salary for a third-year player ($947,276) count toward the luxury tax at the minimum salary for a third-year player .

Drafted players making less than the minimum salary for a third-year player ($947,276) count toward the luxury tax at their actual salary.

So, Dawson – whose rookie minimum salary is $525,093 – will count just $525,093 toward the luxury tax as opposed to $947,276 if he had been undrafted but received the exact same contract.

Considering the tax bracket the Clippers project to reach, that’s a tax savings of $1,055,458 – more than they paid for the draft pick used on Dawson.

On the court, Dawson is a steady defender and rebounder with glaring holes in his game, mainly shooting and dribbling. He could find situational minutes behind Paul Pierce and Wesley Johnson.

John Wall: “I’m getting paid the same as Reggie Jackson”

James Harden, John Wall

Two years ago, John Wall signed a five-year, $80 million extension with the Wizards. It was the max he could sign for, and as the Wizards’ franchise player and one of the league’s best point guards, he was absolutely deserving of that deal. Since then, though, the league’s new TV deal and the influx of money have led to a lot more contracts that size. Wall’s a little annoyed at what now looks like a deal that’s below market value.

From CSNWashington.com’s J. Michael:

“People talk about me getting $80 million, now you got people getting $85 million that haven’t made the All-Star (Game) or anything like that,” Wall said Tuesday while watching his summer league team compete vs. the Dallas Mavericks at Thomas & Mack Center. “I guess they came in at the right time. That new CBA kicked in and they’re good now. Reggie Jackson gets five years, $80 million. I’m getting the same as Reggie Jackson.”

Wall has a point, and this has long been a gripe that the NBA’s top players have had with the concept of the maximum salary. The league’s superstars are artificially capped in the amount of money they can earn, while lesser players’ values get inflated because of the market. Surely this will be a topic of discussion in the CBA negotiations in 2017.