Ques­tions linger as ‘new team’ gath­ers for Wiz­ards me­dia day

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Candace Buck­ner

had never been as pro­nounced as it was Mon­day.

The scene wasn’t just for­eign for Mahinmi, who signed a four-year, $64 mil­lion con­tract in July, and the other new Wiz­ards.

Just al­low Marcin Gor­tat, the locker room mega­phone, to ex­plain. “We’ve ob­vi­ously got a new team, and what I mean by that is not only the play­ers, but we have a new [pub­lic re­la­tions] guy, we have a new guy in the weight room, we have a new trainer, we have a few new guys in mar­ket­ing. I mean, we do have a com­pletely new team,” Gor­tat said.

“And just be­cause we’re called Wash­ing­ton Wiz­ards doesn’t mean that ev­ery­thing is the same thing,” Gor­tat con­tin­ued. “We have a lot of new things in the team, in­clud­ing the car­pet in the locker room. It’s fresh. We have a nice logo.”

Gor­tat even no­ticed that play­ers now have ac­cess to not one, but two cool­ers filled with Reg­u­lar-sea­son opener

Wash­ing­ton Wiz­ards cen­ter Ian Mahinmi fol­lowed a team aide to the var­i­ous photo back­drops set up across the prac­tice court. On Mon­day morn­ing, he was asked to pose like an emoji, lip sync to a Justin Timberlake song, smile then gri­mace with and with­out a bas­ket­ball — as well as meet 17 new team­mates for the first time.

In an strange way, Mahinmi un­der­stood what it felt like to be a 4-year-old girl.

“I just dropped off my old­est this morn­ing at school,” Mahinmi said of his daugh­ter, Camille. “To­day was her first day, too.”

For the first time, the 2016-17 Wiz­ards gath­ered as a whole in the same space dur­ing the team’s me­dia day. Though the or­ga­ni­za­tion pressed the re­set but­ton in April (hir­ing a new coach) and through the off­sea­son (bring­ing in six play­ers, not in­clud­ing the train­ing camp signees), this ren­o­va­tion stage Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m. TV: Com­cast Sport­sNet Wiz­ards guard John Wall, at right with Bradley Beal in Novem­ber, said Mon­day he was “just tak­ing my time” af­ter off­sea­son surg­eries on both knees. Ga­torade.

Though John Wall con­tin­ues to work out and coach Scott Brooks ex­pects him to par­tic­i­pate in some ac­tiv­ity as the team starts train­ing camp in Rich­mond, Va., this morn­ing, there still is no in­di­ca­tion if he will ap­pear in one of the team’s pre­sea­son games.

“I’m do­ing great, I’m feel­ing great. I’m in no rush. I’m just lis­ten­ing to what our doc­tors and train­ing staff say,” said Wall, who had surg­eries on both knees. “I’m just tak­ing my time.”

Just as he did dur­ing the sum­mer, Wall fielded ques­tions about ex­pec­ta­tions for train­ing camp and beyond. The Wiz­ards have not pub­licly shared a time­line for Wall’s re­turn.

“I want to play the whole sea­son, but it’s all up to [how] my body is re­act­ing when I’m on the court,” Wall said.

TONI L. SANDYS/THE WASH­ING­TON POST

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