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Top Stories of the Week: NBA Free Agency cools down, Summer League begins, Mystics start second half of season

Let’s recap a busy week with some links here.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a busy week for the Wizards especially with free agency. They did not get the biggest names, but still managed to build a deep roster. Let’s go through the main headlines from what was a hectic July 4th weekend and more.

The Wizards will build with depth and will fix the roster where John Wall can’t

So, we have to start with the news you were waiting, but not really waiting for:

Kevin Durant is going to Silicon Valley. AND he didn’t even invite John Wall, Scott Brooks, or Ernie Grunfeld to do an investor pitch.

Bummer. If you want to get a smorgasbord of the reactions around the Internet, we have you covered here.

That said, it’s a good thing that the Wizards knew about this early on so they wouldn’t have false hope. The Wizards still have a strong starting five without Durant, and they were able to build a deeper roster in the process. Finally, don’t discount player development. That’s what Scott Brooks came to D.C. for.

Finally, free agency has been a way for the Wizards to recommit themselves toward building around John Wall and giving him help in areas where he just can’t help them.

2016-17 Wizards additions

Say hello to the newest additions to the Wizards!

And welcome back Marcus Thornton!

2015-16 Wizards departures

When new players join the Wizards, others have to leave. We bid adieu to the following:

Summer League begins this weekend

Our preview is here and also click here for our StoryStream. In addition, AverageBro wrote up a FanPost with some insights on how the team played during a public scrimmage this past Wednesday.

Of the players on Summer League who aren’t Wizards draft picks, Daniel Ochefu signed a partially guaranteed deal on Thursday. Since he is a center, like Marcin Gortat, Mahinmi, and Smith, there’s a logjam at the position for the moment.

Mystics begin the second half of the season

The Mystics lost last Wednesday to the San Antonio Stars. They are currently 9-10, which isn’t great, but they are still in good position to get a decent seed in the Playoff tournament at the end of the season.

Since we are just past the midseason point, we’ll do some more detailed player analysis on several key players. The first is on Emma Meesseman, because she has superstar talent — but still lacks the “killer instinct” and/or the production that WNBA superstars have.

We’ll do some more analysis on some other players — and the team as a whole — in the coming days, so stay tuned for that.

Other Wizards/Mystics links

  • Jake and Ben were interviewed in a column by Matt Terl of the Washington City Paper. The article is about the Wizards’ free agency and coming up empty in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes. Other writers were interviewed such as Kevin Broom and Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp.
  • Gene Wang of the Washington Post wrote about Mahinmi’s initial thoughts about playing in D.C.
  • Dan Nolan of Monumental Sports Network also interviewed Mahinmi, Nicholson, and Burke here:
  • Bradley Beal went on social media and reacted to recent police shootings in Baton Rouge, LA and Falcon Heights, MN that resulted in the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castle respectively. Dan Steinberg wrote a quick take on that here.
  • The Mystics are on the road and will play the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday. In the meantime, Meesseman, Bria Hartley, Stefanie Dolson, and Ally Malott were at the Santa Monica Pier catching some rides.

Had a blast at the pier today!! Got some sun and laughs ☀️

A photo posted by bigmamastef (@bigmamastef) on

  • I already showed you Stefanie Dolson going vintage clothes shopping last week. But here’s Monumental Sports Network’s video showing more.

RIP Arnaud Gelb (1984-2016)

Arnaud Gelb wrote for BasketUSA, a French language NBA site. Though he was born in France, he was also educated in the USA. Gelb was well respected in the NBA and WNBA ranks and passed away on June 28, 2016.

On the media circuit, Gelb often was at games when players from French speaking nations in Europe and Africa were playing at Verizon Center.

For example, he interviewed Nicolas Batum back on December 20, 2015 (in French).

And if a player on the home team could speak French more fluently than English, he’d do the same.

But he also interacted with us regularly on social media and also with some of our writers at Wizards games over the years where he’s developed some great relationships. He even captured the “Free Nene” chant that is still seared into my memory today:

We have dedicated our most recent podcast in his honor, and there’s a GoFundMe page for his family here. And by the way Batum chipped in.

There will be a service at Verizon Center on Saturday, July 9 at 4 p.m. in his honor.

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So that’s all I have in what has been a busy week. Enjoy your weekends!