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Wizards would love to have Kelly Oubre, Jr. follow John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter in earning big contract

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards would love to have Kelly Oubre, Jr. follow John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter in earning big contract

In signing John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter all to long-term contracts within the last 13 months, the Washington Wizards have secured their future with hopes their continued development as young players will take the team to new heights. That trio will be leading the way for the Wizards for at least the next three seasons and it could be four if Porter does not use his player option for 2020-21. Beal's deal runs through 2020-21 and Wall's doesn't finish until 2022-23.

Not only do the Wizards have those three in place, but they have a substantial amount of money committed. Wall, Beal and Porter are set to earn a combined $98 million in 2020-21. We don't yet know the salary cap for that season, but their long-term payroll makes it interesting to ponder the futures of their other young players like Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Markieff Morris. Could either of them be next in line for a big deal?

[RELATED: John Wall shares big goals for him and Wizards]

Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis discussed Oubre specifically on Friday after the press conference to announce Wall's four-year supermax extension. Basically, he would love to have Oubre, a 2015 first round pick, force the issue.

"He's another great, high-character kid with great athletic skills. And yeah, he wants to be where these guys are. Our coach really, really likes him. He thinks he can be a difference maker. He kind of has that X-factor in his game," Leonsis said 

"So yeah, he's going to come back and work really, really hard and challenge us to pay him a lot of money, too, which I'm glad to do. I think that that is important, that young players realize we would much rather pay them to stay with the organization than think the grass is greener and that some free agent from some other team is going to come in and make a big difference for us."

[RELATED: Wizards Tipoff podcast - Jason Smith joins the show]

Leonsis also mentioned how Oubre, 21, "was more injured last season than I think people understood." The Wizards small forward had platelet-rich plasma treatment on his right knee in June after battling discomfort throughout the playoffs. Still, Oubre's second NBA season amounted to a step forward, as he doubled his minutes from the year before under new head coach Scott Brooks.

Oubre is set to make about $2.1 million for the 2017-18 season under his rookie scale contract. The Wizards have to decide in October if they want to pick up his fourth-year option for 2018-19, though at this point there is no reason to think that they won't. Assuming they do, that would set Oubre up for a new deal in the summer of 2019. Washington will then have the option of extending a qualifying offer to retain his rights as a restricted free agent, much like they did this offseason with Porter.

Oubre has a long way to go to earn a max contract like his teammates, but two years is a long time. Just look at Porter, who averaged 6.0 points in 19.4 minutes off the Wizards' bench in 2014-15, his second NBA season. Two years later and he was paid $106.5 million on a max contract. If Oubre follows that track, the Wizards could have another big decision to make two summers from now.

[RELATED: Wall reacts to Kyrie Irving's situation in Cleveland]

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Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 33 - Sneaker special... it's all about the kicks

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CSN

Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 33 - Sneaker special... it's all about the kicks

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast, we focused entirely on sneakers and how they intersect with the culture of basketball. Chase Hughes and Chris Miller were joined by CSN producers (and sneakerheads) Ajay Atayee and Terrence Stroder in studio.

The four of them brought on two expert guests on the phone. First was Cool Kicks sneaker store owner Daniel Habtemariam. Second was Michael Sykes, a blogger at SB Nation.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

[RELATED: Keef and Dolph: an odd couple friendship within the Wizards' organization]

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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Jason Smith's improvement as a shooter should help Wizards bench

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USA Today Sports

Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Jason Smith's improvement as a shooter should help Wizards bench

As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Jason Smith's season...

Player: Jason Smith

Position: Power forward/center

Age: 31

2016-17 stats: 74 G, 14.4 mpg, 5.7 ppg, 0.3 apg, 3.5 rpg, 0.3 spg, 0.7 bpg, 52.9 FG%, 47.4 3P%, 68.6 FT%, 58.5 eFG%, 110 ORtg, 108 DRtg

2017-18 storyline: Smith's first season in Washington didn't get off to a great start, much like the team as a whole. He was among several players struggling on the Wizards' bench early on, shooting just 36.7 percent from the field in 11.8 minutes a night through 16 games. Smith ultimately found his niche despite inconsistent minutes as a key player on the bench with Ian Mahinmi out most of the year due to injury.

Smith made his impact as an energy guy off the bench. At his best, he disrupted shots in the lane and spread the floor with an improving three-point shot. Smith hit two threes in October, November and December. From January on, Smith made 35 of them at a 46.7 percent clip. By March he was knocking down multiple threes per night on a regular basis.

[RELATED: HOW THE NBA CAN PREVENT TANKING]

Smith's emergence as a three-point threat was unexpected, as it happened in his Age 30 season. But it wasn't just luck and it didn't happen overnight. For years Smith practice threes and he had already developed into a solid midrange shooter. It was last year that his range extended beyond the three-point line.

Whether the Wizards can count on Smith to hit threes at a high rate this season is unclear, but that versatility is what could help him remain in head coach Scott Brooks' rotation. If Mahinmi can stay healthy, that will likely mean less minutes for Smith. But if Smith can spread the floor, he can be a nice complement to Mahinmi or Marcin Gortat as a stretch-4.

For as much continuity as there will be in the Wizards' starting lineup, their bench has many new faces. That group also includes Mahinmi, who played only 31 games last year. Smith have a full season in Brooks' system will help him hit the ground running this season in a second unit that will require an adjustment period.

Potential to improve: Chemistry with other bigs, free throw shooting, rim protection.

MORE WIZARDS' ROSTER PREVIEWS:

Can John Wall take another step after earning All-NBA?

Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

What is the next step in Otto Porter's development?

Markieff Morris can be an X-factor this season

Will Marcin Gortat's role change or be the same this year?

Will Kelly Oubre, Jr. make a big leap this season?

Can Ian Mahinmi make a bigger impact in his second season?

Will Tim Frazier be the solution at backup point guard?

Jodie Meeks could make big impact off bench

Mike Scott can add toughness to Wizards' bench

[RELATED: WHO WILL BE MOST-IMPROVED ON THE WIZARDS THIS YEAR?]

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