John Wall: Veteran teammates used to think ‘I was a joke’

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No moment encapsulates John Wall’s first few years in the NBA like JaVale McGee running back on defense with the Wizards still on offense. Wall was helpless to do anything but cup the ball and shake his head at his teammate’s ridiculousness.

Washington went 72-158 in the three seasons after drafting Wall No. 1, the NBA’s third-worst mark during that span behind only the Bobcats and Cavaliers.

But it wasn’t his fault they brought him in to play with players like McGee, Gilbert Arenas, Andray Blatche and Nick Young. Still, Wall’s reputation took the hit because of his lofty draft status.

There was a real worry the Wizards’ character would rub off on Wall and sabotage his promising career.

Abe Schwadron of Slam on Wall:

He remembers guys like Andre Miller, Drew Gooden and Marcin Gortat being skeptical when they first got to Washington. Until last season, Wall was known as nothing more than an exciting player on a laughable loser.

“They thought I was a joke and that I didn’t take basketball serious,” says Wall. “That’s what they thought looking in from the outside. They were looking at what I was around.”

Meticulously, the Wizards unloaded their clowns, and Wall thrived. He became an All-Star and led Washington deeper into the playoffs than its gone in decades.

Now, he’s routinely recognized as a star, not a “joke.”

Schwadron’s article is a quality look at Wall’s place in the league now, including:

Just listen to his five-year plan: “I see myself being the MVP of the League, being a Finals MVP, winning a Championship for DC, being a multiple All-Star, All-NBA team and hopefully signing another five-year deal in DC. I love playing in DC.”

It’s worth reading in full to learn why Wall’s veteran teammates came around to believing in him – and why he believes in himself.

WNBA suspends Riquna Williams 10 games for domestic violence

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NEW YORK (AP) The WNBA has suspended Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams 10 games for a domestic violence incident.

The WNBA handed down the suspension Tuesday. Williams was arrested on April 29 and charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving a threat to another person with a firearm. Her criminal case is ongoing.

The league conducted its own investigation and consulted with a panel of experts in the field of domestic violence. Among other factors, the WNBA said it took into account the nature and seriousness of the allegations, including the involvement of a gun.

The WNBA also will require Williams to participate in counseling.

Williams’ suspension will begin with Thursday’s game against the Dallas Wings.

Report: Bulls signing Luke Kornet for guaranteed $4.5M over two years

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Just three 7-footers have averaged 3.5 3-pointers per game and made 35% of them each of the last two seasons:

The Bulls will now have most of them.

Markkanen is Chicago’s top young player. Kornet will join him with the Bulls next season.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

I’m a little surprised Kornet got more than his minimum ($3,383,360 over two years). But it’s worth taking a flier on him.

In addition to his outside shooting, Kornet has shown good timing as a shot-blocker in two seasons with the Knicks. The 24-year-old must get stronger and improve as a rebounder to play major minutes.

But the Bulls won’t have to press him into action. They also have Thaddeus Young, Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford and Cristiano Felicio as bigs.

Pistons claim Christian Wood off waivers

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The Bucks waived Christian Wood late last season to ensure avoiding the luxury tax. The Pelicans claimed him. Wood had played well in limited minutes with the 76ers, Hornets and Bucks and in the NBA’s minor league since going undrafted in 2015.

New Orleans gave him his biggest opportunity yet. In 24 minutes per game over eight games, he averaged 17 points and eight rebounds.

But the Pelicans filled their roster for next season and waived Wood.

Detroit will take advantage.

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has claimed forward/center Christian Wood off waivers.

Wood’s $1,645,357 minimum salary is unguaranteed until the regular season. So, Detroit could still waive him before the season. But it seems he’ll at least go to training camp and get a shot at a regular-season roster spot.

The Pelicans also could’ve kept him through the preseason then waived him before the regular season. They seemingly did him a favor of allowing him to get somewhere he has a realistic chance of sticking.

Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond will start in the frontcourt for the Pistons. Markieff Morris and Thon Maker appear to be first in line is backups.

But don’t be surprised if Wood earns playing time. At minimum, the 23-year-old should provide nice depth at both power forward and center.

The Pistons have also now acquired four members of last year’s Bucks – Tony Snell, Thon Maker, Tim Frazier and now Wood.

Knicks: Reggie Bullock has spine injury

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Reggie Bullock had his agreed-upon salary cut by more than half with the Knicks. He’ll reportedly miss at least a month of the regular season.

All because of a mysterious health issue.

The Knicks have finally disclosed what’s happening.

Knicks release:

Reggie Bullock underwent successful surgery today at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York for a cervical disc herniation. The team will plan to provide an update on his rehab and progress around the start of training camp.

Bullock is a good shooter from the wing. New York could use him. Many teams could use him.

But Bullock must get healthy first.

At this point, we probably shouldn’t expect much from him any time soon. The best indication: how eagerly his agent praised the Knicks for their handling of this situation. Again, Bullock settled for less than half his initially agreed-upon salary.