Happy new year everyone! Let’s get through the top stories this week.
The Wizards are still bad
Okay, that’s not news really. But As of today, the Wizards are 15-24, good for 11th in the Eastern Conference. They are 3.5 games behind the Brooklyn Nets for the eighth seed which doesn’t sound that big of a gap. However, we are at the halfway point of the season so these gaps are becoming harder to catch.
The Wizards won two consecutive games against the Hornets on Dec. 29 and the Hawks on Jan 2. but they lost to the Heat, 115-109 on Friday. In a piece of brighter news, Bradley Beal exchanged jerseys with Dwyane Wade after the game and said that the Heat star is his idol.
Finally in early All-Star voting returns, Beal is 9th among guards, ahead ofJohn Wall who’s 10th.
Markieff Morris joins the injured list while Otto Porter returns
Last week, we learned that Wall will miss the rest of the season to take care of his left heel which is quite banged up. But this week, we learned that Markieff Morris has a neck injury and will be out for six weeks! He is one of the Wizards on expiring contracts and could be a good candidate to get traded. However most teams are unwilling to trade for injured players during the trade deadline which is on February 7. That’s just one month from now.
Not all is bad on the injury front. Otto Porter returned this week after missing most of December due to a knee contusion. Hopefully, he gets back up to speed very soon.
Kristi Toliver is paid $10,000 by the Mystics to coach the Wizards
Yup! This is the world that we live in. The first year assistant coach and Mystics point guard is getting paid just $10,000 this season out of the Mystics’ Time-Off bonus budget to coach the Wizards. The reason why is because the WNBA believes that the Wizards paying Toliver a typical assistant coach’s salary (about $100,000) would be salary cap circumvention since the Mystics and Wizards are both Ted Leonsis owned entities. There is no reason why Toliver should be getting paid peanuts to do the job.
If there’s a group that stands to look quite bad from this, it’s the WNBA as a whole. The league salivates over stories when women are breaking barriers like Toliver, who is an active WNBA player coaching an NBA team. Soon after Toliver became a Wizards coach, Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird joined the Denver Nuggets’ front office. Michelle Smith of WNBA.com wrote a column on both Toliver and Bird being in NBA roles and this piece is displayed prominently on the league’s website.
Yet the WNBA pays players quite low salaries compared to European clubs (which also aren’t profitable), has very draconian rules around international tournaments, and now they expect a WNBA team to foot the bill for an NBA coach’s salary...
Leonsis took the high road in a recent tweet and honestly wants the situation to change:
The league rules and collective bargaining agreements never contemplated having a WNBA player also working as an NBA coach. We’re glad to be the first and the rules need to change. Kristi is a critical member of our family at Monumental Sports. https://t.co/4g0wpnxRoi— Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis) January 1, 2019
But really, the WNBA seems to go after the most draconian solution possible for some things that would otherwise take the league forward.
Alright, that’s what I have on my plate for the week. Enjoy the rest of your weekends!