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Top Stories of the Week: Wizards begin their offseason and the Mystics begin their preseason

grunfeld Stewart W. Small

Sorry that I haven’t committed to one of my plain yet regular features: Top Stories of the Week.

In the last couple weeks, the top stories were quite obvious. The Wizards were in their first round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors. Ultimately, they lost, 4-2. So, let’s start from there.

The Wizards begin their long offseason with big questions

In his postgame press conference after Game 6, John Wall mentioned that the front office had to figure out how to improve the team’s talent during the summer. The problem however, is that the Wizards are in salary cap jail now. They already signed Wall to a “supermax” starting in the 2019-20 season, while Bradley Beal and Otto Porter will also make maximum level contracts themselves. Basically, the Wizards will have to trade Beal or Porter or even Wall to fundamentally “shake things up” without “blowing the team up.

If you were hoping that the 2017-18 Wizards season would result in Ernie Grunfeld’s and/or Scott Brooks’ termination, don’t hold your hopes up. Ted Leonsis expressed his disappointment over the Wizards’ season last weekend on his blog. He also claimed that the Wizards have the pieces needed to win a championship, even though that probably doesn’t seem likely at the moment. Leonsis mentioned Wall, Beal, Porter, Kelly Oubre, and Tomas Satoransky in the post, so it’s less likely that one of them will be traded this offseason.

Going back to Grunfeld, he received a “secret” contract extension before the new year. That is certainly going well with Wizards fans who weren’t happy with the team to begin with.

And here are some more links

The Mystics being their training camp and preseason with hope

While the Wizards were giving exit interviews last week, the Mystics started their training camp and held Media Day on Wednesday. They are in Des Moines, Iowa today to face the Minnesota Lynx in their first preseason game.

The Mystics are coming off a WNBA semifinals appearance in 2017 when they fought through numerous injuries in the second half of the regular season. This season, they will be without Emma Meesseman, who decided to rest and train full time with the Belgium national team before the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.

I wrote a general Mystics preview on Swish Appeal that isn’t very optimistic, at least from a regular season lens. The bottom line is that when a team loses a star player for nothing, whether because she leaves for another team in free agency, is injured, or has international commitments, that team is likely going to decline.

It is true that the Mystics went 8-3 without Meesseman in 2017, so there’s reason to believe that things will be just fine. In fact, the Mystics are going to try and duplicate the success what they did early last season. However, the Mystics were fully healthy without Meesseman when they went 8-3.

Soon after Meesseman returned, the injuries started piling up. And in this offseason, most WNBA teams added major pieces to their rotations without losing any key pieces. The Mystics lost their second best player for at least the next year and a half once you take EuroBasket Women 2019 into consideration.

Though I didn’t take a particularly rosy approach with the Mystics in the preview, I still believe that they are in a very good position to repeat last year’s semifinals run. I think this season will be very even from top to bottom, so there could be many teams tied with the same record by the time we get to next August.

That’s what I have on my plate. Enjoy the rest of your weekends!