Wizzzzards (when said team already has a ‘z’ in its name, adding additional ‘z’s reflects the dysfunction being discussed): No team has been accused of falling short of expectations for longer than Washington, and a 5-11 start was enough to spark a no-punches-pulled practice session on Nov. 20 in which players’ frustrations flew all over the floor. Yet while the Wizards’ front office has been open to discussing any and all members of their core, their Dec. 16 trade with Phoenix for Trevor Ariza signaled (once again) a pivot toward prioritizing playoff contention rather than rebuilding (and no, we’re not going into even bother getting into the tale of two Brookses). For all the focus on the idea of John Wall (too expensive) or Bradley Beal (too good) being traded, it’s small forward Otto Porter who appears most likely to be dealt before the Feb. 7 deadline.
May 20, 2022 | 8:25 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: 2021-22 NBA All-Defensive teams: First team: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mikal Bridges, Rudy Gobert, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marcus Smart Second team: Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, Jrue Holiday, Matisse Thybulle, Robert Williams III
Bobby Marks: Robert Williams has a $223,215 bonus as part of his rookie extension. However, because Williams is still in the fourth year of his rookie scale contract, the bonus is not earned. The bonus is now deemed likely and his cap hit for 2022-23 is adjusted to $10,937,502.
Melissa Rohlin: Gary Payton II (fractured left elbow) has started to do various light individual on-court activities and will be re-evaluated in one week. Andre Iguodala (disc injury in his neck) continues to show progress and an update will come when he’s cleared to practice.
May 20, 2022 | 7:27 pm EDT Update
The Lakers appear poised to make a decision on their coaching position soon, with Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts the finalists for the job that became vacant when Frank Vogel was fired at season’s end. But as the final round of interviews is set, sources tell The Athletic that Ham appears to have made the strongest impression yet.
In terms of the Lakers’ preferences, sources say team officials have prioritized a coach who can command respect and authority from the locker room and who has a strong enough presence and voice to manage the varying roles and relationships across the roster. Those characteristics bode well for Ham’s candidacy. Throughout assistant coaching stops with the Lakers, Hawks and Bucks, Ham has been known for his no-nonsense style and ability to resonate with his players — attributes that have stood out in his communication with the Lakers thus far as well, sources said.