Odds & Ends: Wizards, Karasev, Sixers, West

Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld and coach Randy Wittman are both on expiring deals, and owner Ted Leonsis wants the team to show improvement this year, notes Benjamin Standig of The Associated Press

"I expect us to be a playoff-caliber team," Leonsis said. "I think our fan base expects that too and that's the pressure I've placed on our organization, that we have to meet the expectations of our fans — and it's time."

Leonsis also said that he believes upgrades to the team's facilities will help the Wizards attract free agents in future offseasons. While Washington strives to leave the lottery behind, here's more from around the Association:

  • The Cavs were sold on Sergey Karasev before the draft, and they tried unsuccessfully to trade up from the 19th pick this June, thinking it was necessary to land him, writes Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. Instead, Karasev fell to Cleveland at No. 19, and Lloyd believes that the Cavs' claim that they were surprised he dropped so low — an oft-repeated refrain about NBA draftees — rings true.
  • The Sixers' decision to keep Royce White at home for their trip to Europe raised a few eyebrows, but he's not the only player the team left off the plane, notes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • The pressure's on Delonte West to produce in China after he did little to woo NBA teams during his D-League stint last season, opines Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside.
  • The Suns have 16 players on fully guaranteed deals and Dionte Christmas on a partially guaranteed contract, so it's no shock that coach Jeff Hornacek says it won't be easy for the team to decide on the opening-night roster. Matt Petersen of Suns.com provides details.
  • The market squeezed plenty of productive veterans into bargain deals this summer, and Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM.com names six whom he thinks will be particularly valuable.
  • Mavs camp invitee Renaldo Balkman is trying to overcome the stigma of the violent outburst that led a league in the Philippines to ban him, as Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News examines.


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