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Eastern Conference

Wizards’ Players-Only Meeting Backfires



When a team holds a players-only meeting the expectation is that issues will be discussed, resolved and the players will come together to move forward.

That’s what the Washington Wizards anticipated when a players-only meeting of their own was held, but it didn’t exactly go as planned.

In fact, it may have backfired.

“At our team meeting, I think a couple guys took it in a negative way,” Wizards guard John Wall said of the meeting, via Cam Ellis of NBC Sports Washington. “It hurt our team. Instead of using it in a positive way like we did in the past and using it to build our team up, it kind of set us back a bit.”

Bradley Beal was a bit more harsh with his analysis of the meeting.

“It was tough. I try to keep all our stuff as personal as possible but I think in a way not everybody got a chance to speak whenever they wanted to,” Beal said, via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.

“They didn’t want to bring up an issue or something they had a problem with on the team. Regardless of what may be going on, as men we’ve got to be able to accept what the next man says, be respectful about it and move on from it. I think it was one of those situations where we didn’t necessarily get everything that we wanted to get accomplished.

“Honestly, it was probably — I won’t say pointless, but we didn’t accomplish what we needed to accomplish in that meeting.”

The Wizards (26-20) are not performing as many expected them too and head coach Scott Brooks has openly questioned their effort.


Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs’ Rodney Hood Hoping for Long-Term Deal



Cleveland Cavaliers guard Rodney Hood is hoping that he can work out a long-term deal with the team after formally accepting his one-year $3.4M qualifying offer from the Cavaliers earlier this month.

“I believe strongly in myself that after this year, I’ll be able to make Cleveland my home and we’ll get a better deal next summer,” Hood said, according to Joe Vardon of

“Just because he signed the qualifying offer, he’s not on the first train out of here,” Hood’s agent Travis King said. “He plans to stay in Cleveland.”

Hood didn’t mesh with the Cavs roster last year after coming over in a trade with the Utah Jazz, and he was seeking $10-$12 million annually on the free agent market, which didn’t materialize for him.

“At first I kind of felt bad for myself, but then it was like I don’t want to feel this feeling again, sitting on the bench, or playing 8-10 minutes a game,” Hood said. “I want to be a big part of a really good team, so that was my focus this whole summer.”

“My twins were born here,” Hood said. “I like the community, even though I haven’t been out there a lot. I want to make this a home. It’s just didn’t happen this summer. That’s how I look at it.”

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Boston Celtics

Celtics’ Gordon Hayward Says He’s ‘Basically 100 Percent’



Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward says that he is “basically” 100% eleven months removed from his gruesome 2017-208 season opening-night ankle injury, and has been playing 5-on5 games with teammates to prepare for training camp in October, according to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.

“I would say I’m basically 100 percent,” Hayward said. “There’s certain things that I think are going to take time — even if I was 100 percent healthy, I’m not 100 percent as far as basketball-wise, just because I haven’t played in a year.

“I’m trying to figure those things out. The last step for me as far as from a physical standpoint is a little explosion, that little last juice bounce that you get. So that’s going to take me the longest time. But like I said, for the most part, I feel very good.”

Hayward discussed the latest milestone in his recovery, playing with his teammates again.

“It’s so much fun being able to play again, and play with my teammates,” Hayward described. “Using these past two weeks, and the next month or so, will be good to kind of get back into the game, feel the rhythm, the timing, different things like that. But it feels pretty good.”

“I think when you go through a process like this, you just find out that, if you want to get back to the player that you were, it takes a lot of effort,” said Hayward. “I think you find the fight within yourself because there’s so many days where I wake up and it’s like, ‘Man, here we go again.’ Another day I’m driving in, it’s freezing cold weather here in Boston, below zero, going into the facility, and the team’s in L.A., or they’re in Miami or whatever, and they’re playing, and I’m picking up marbles and putting them into a bucket. I’m standing on one leg and doing balance drills. I’m shooting from a chair.

“Like, all that stuff, to be able to get up and do it every day, and do it a little bit better the next day, and slowly work off getting out of the chair, and getting out of the boot, and now I can stand and shoot, and now I can do one dribble and shoot — and just the long process. I mean, it was a process and a journey. I’m still not there yet, but it just helped me find kind of a fight in me.”

Hayward is ready for the new season and expects to be on the court for the Celtics when the season tips off.

“Yeah, 100 percent I expect to be out there [on opening night],” Hayward proclaimed. “This is what this time is for me — to kind of find my groove a little bit. Like I said, you can do all the drills you want, all the cardio, the jumping [and] agility stuff. But there’s nothing like playing 5-on-5, so when I play out here with my teammates, when we get into practice situations, that’s going to be the best — playing in the preseason games, that will be the best work I can get.”

“Watching the guys last year just gave me a lot of confidence in our team and what I think we have the ability to do,” said Hayward. “I’ve been playing with some of them these last two weeks, and we have a lot of talent on this team. We have a lot of depth, and it’s going to be a fun year.”

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Eastern Conference

Knicks to Target Kyrie Irving Next Summer



The New York Knicks have their eyes on the summer of 2019 when they could have the opportunity to court their top free agent target, current Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, according to NBC Sports’ A. Sherrod Blakely.

“I’ve spoken with people within [the Knicks] organization. They have made it absolutely crystal clear to me that—if they had their pick of guys that are going to be in the free-agent market [next] summer—Kyrie would be their first, second, third and fourth choice,” Blakely said.

Irving, who is believed to be willing to give the Knicks “consideration” in free agency, is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract and will make $20.1 million with a player option of $21.3 million in 2018-2019.


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