Wizards release 2012-13 schedule


Wizards release 2012-13 schedule

The Washington Wizards released their 2012-13 regular season schedule on Thursday, the team will open up at the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 30.

The Wizards' second and third games feature a home-and-home split with the Boston Celtics on Nov. 3 and Nov. 7. The Wizards will finish the season on April 17 against the Chicago Bulls.

Check out the full schedule here.

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Next season is crucial for Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy

Next season is crucial for Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy

In J.J. Hardy’s 12-year major league career, he’s played for three different teams, yet he’s never been a free agent. 

A year from now, that could be different. 

Hardy has twice eschewed free agency for three-year contracts with the Orioles, once in 2011, and again as the American League Championship Series began in 2014. 

He probably could have made more money as a free agent each time, but that doesn’t bother him. 

The Orioles were overjoyed when he agreed to a three-year extension with a fourth-year option that runs through 2017. Hardy’s three-year contract guaranteed him $40 million, and if he has 600 plate appearances next season, a $14 million option kicks in.

His option also vests if Hardy is traded, which isn’t likely, but as a 10-year major leaguer with five years of service he’d have to agree to. 

Hardy hasn’t had 600 plate appearances since 2013, and in 2016 when he had 438, he played in only 115 games. 

Not only would Hardy have to be healthy to get 600 plate appearances, but his teammates would have to hit well, too, since manager Buck Showalter usually batted him seventh, eighth or ninth. 

His injury in 2016 came when he fouled a ball off his foot and broke it. Hardy missed seven weeks but came back strongly. 

He played as often in 2016 as in 2015 when a variety of injuries slowed him, but his offensive numbers moved up. His batting average rose from .215 to .269 and his RBIs increased from 37 to 48. 

Not only did his offense come back, but his defense was much better in 2016, too. His defensive WAR increased from 1.1 to 1.3, far off from his Gold Glove seasons of 2012-14, but still fine. 

Hardy is never going to hit 30 home runs in a season again as he did in 2011. In his past three seasons, he’s combined for only 26, but he gives Showalter a dependable, heady shortstop who has worked brilliantly with both Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop. 

Hardy came into spring training in terrific shape, and once he returned from his foot injury on June 18, he was rested only three times. 

A year from now, Hardy will be 35, and there are not many regular shortstops of that age, and while Machado, who played shortstop when Hardy was injured, would love to play there, the Orioles would like to put that move off for a while. 

While Hardy won’t be the biggest story of 2017, it will certainly be one worth watching. If he can have another season like this one, even if he doesn’t have 600 plate appearances, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Orioles extend him for another year or two. 

That way Hardy could end his career with the Orioles, and without testing free agency. He’ll say he didn’t miss anything. 

MORE ORIOLES: Will Hyun Soo Kim remain a fixture for O's in left field?

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Despite summer of change, here are 10 safe bets for 2016-17 NBA season

Despite summer of change, here are 10 safe bets for 2016-17 NBA season

The NBA will look pretty different this season: Kevin Durant is a Warrior, Derrick Rose is a Knick and three all-time greats – Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett – have retired. 

A flurry of changes over the summer were deceiving though, because when the NBA regular season opens in five days, a lot of things will be exactly as we left them. 

If you're a betting type, take a look at this list of 10 safe wagers for the coming year. 

1. The Cavaliers and Warriors will 3-peat in the Finals – LeBron James is the NBA Finals at this point. Book his 7th trip. As for Golden State, the team has four max level players in its starting five. And now they're angry from last year's championship loss. Who's betting against them? 

2. Which brings us to Charles Barkley, who will bet against the Warriors because ... they're a jump shooting team. He already went in on the 2016-17 Dubs a few days ago. "They're going to still be shooting jumpers ..." And so it begins. 

3. There will be at least one Snapchat scandal. I feel really good about this call. Nick Young is still in the league. D'Angelo Russell is still in the league. And there will be dozens of rookies (including Diamond Stone). Everything could go wrong. 

4. John Wall will be an All-Star. Two summer knee surgeries? No problem. The Wizards point guard looked dynamic as ever in preseason action, slicing to the basket at will. There's no reason he shouldn't make his fourth All-Star appearance. 

5. The Spurs will be great. Yes, the Big Fundamental is gone. There has been some rumor of San Antonio considering trading LaMarcus Aldridge. But don't forget about Kawhi Leonard and last year's 67 wins. Even if the Spurs regress by 10 wins, they're still very good. 

6. Drake will attend games in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Toronto, at minimum. Did I forget any cities the rapper could potentially party in or claim as his own? 

7. Carmelo Anthony will wear a ridiculous hat to a game. Melo has a slideshow on his own website titled "The 7 Best Hats Melo Has Ever Worn." He'll probably take 20 shots per night, too, but let's stick with one Melo prediction per listicle, shall we?

8. Knicks fans will demand Phil Jackson be fired. If the Rose trade does not work out, or the Triangle Offense doesn't work out, or Melo plays like he's 32 ... there are too many scenarios in which New York fans might burn Jackson in effigy. After all, every Knicks fan is an amateur GM who thinks they could do a better job. 

9. Russell Westbrook will give Kevin Durant the stink eye at every opportunity and barely deny it. No one in the NBA has a better mean mug than Westbrook. And Russ has all but admitted he's pissed at Durant for leaving the Thunder without speaking to him about it. But really, this is good news for everyone else. An angry, kamikaze Westbrook is the most fun kind of Westbrook. 

10. Fans will rabidly defend Michael Jordan and the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. At some point, some person somewhere will compare someone and/or something to Michael Jordan and/or the 1995-96 Bulls. What a mistake that will be. Even breathing MJ's name will be perceived as a grievous sin against the history of American sport. It will not be tolerated. And basketball Twitter will mete out justice. 

MORE NBA: Brooks believes rest is key to success