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February 18, 2019 | 6:00 am EST Update

Beal recruiting for Wizards during All-Star Weekend

The Wizards’​​ sole All-Star representative is looking three-and-a-half months ahead to the start of free agency — and maybe even beyond that. Beal joked to The Athletic on Friday that he may have to spend the weekend tampering with the other 25 All-Stars in Charlotte. Then again, maybe he wasn’t joking too much. The two-way recruiting has already begun, as he admitted following Sunday’s game. “It was really crazy,” Beal said. “A lot of guys were coming to talk to me and asking me how I feel. The recruiting process is really going all right. It’s going all right. I’m trying. This is new for me. So, I’m definitely getting some ears and seeing where guys’ minds are at.”
Still, the league does not enforce player-on-player recruiting as if it were tampering. So, in this case, Beal can “tamper” away. And opponents can return the favor. “Guys were, ‘So, what y’all doing in D.C.? How is D.C.?’ Or I’m asking, ‘What’s your situation? What you thinking about? How you feeling? Any changes need to be made?’” he said.
So, uhhh, who was it? “I can’t name no names. I’m not gonna name no names. I ain’t gonna name no names. You’re not gonna have me out here for tampering. I ain’t gonna throw no names out. I’m keeping them in my piggy bank, my back pocket right here,” Beal said. “But in July, hopefully we can do something.” Beal, who has two seasons remaining on his contract with the Wizards and says he wants to stick around, is a known shooter, but this is a halfcourt heave. Props to him for at least being the guy who chucks before the end-of-quarter buzzer sounds.
James said he’s healthy and focused on the stretch run. “I feel great,” James said. “Looking forward to the second half of the season. Looking forward to seeing what we can do to get back in this playoff race. That’s my only mindset. That’s the only thing that’s going to happen in my mental space for these next two months, pretty much on how I can get this team playing the type of level of basketball we were playing before my injury.”
Team LeBron defeated Team Giannis 178-164 in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game. Durant had a team-high 31 points and was named MVP, James and Leonard each had 19 and Lillard 18. Irving had 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and Thompson added 20 points. “We just started making shots,” Durant said during a televised interview. “Our second group got us going and we took off from there. It doesn’t matter, all these players are great and we are mixing up the conferences, and there are so many great players in the league. Being out here among so much greatness. I appreciate it.” It was the second consecutive year Team LeBron won the All-Star Game.
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