Washington Wizards

Wizards Expected To Offer Max Deal To Bradley Beal

Barring a drastic development, the Wizards are expected to offer shooting guard Bradley Beal a five-year, maximum-salary extension when the new league year opens in July, people with knowledge of the situation tell Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. The cap for next season will have to be set before the exact value of such an offer will be known, but it would likely start in the neighborhood of $22MM.

Last week, Beal told Castillo in a phone interview that he believes he’s a maximum-salary player, and that he’ll shop around for an offer sheet from a team willing to pay that price if the Wizards don’t put a max offer on the table: “I feel like I’m a max player and that’s what I’m looking for. If Washington can’t meet that requirement then I may be thinking elsewhere. I’m pretty sure that they probably won’t [let me go].”

As Beal suggested, the Wizards do seem unwilling to let him go. Castillo’s latest report comes on the heels of a story from J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com, who was told that Washington remains “determined” to keep its core group of players intact. Keeping that core together will require making a significant offer this summer to a player who has been plagued by injuries in recent years.

Beal, who turns 23 next month, is a talented scorer when healthy, averaging a career-high 17.4 points per game on 44.9% shooting in 2015/16. However, he also established a new career low in games played this past season, appearing in just 55 contests. The former third overall pick has never played more than 73 games in a season, due to injuries.

Still, as Castillo points out, Beal will be one of the more appealing free agents on the market this year, and with so many teams armed with cap space, a max deal will almost certainly be necessary to keep him in D.C. According to Castillo, the plan for Washington is to reach an agreement with Beal immediately, but to wait to formally sign him to that new deal — because Beal’s cap hold is smaller than his starting salary would be on a new contract, keeping that cap hold on the books for as long as possible would allow the Wizards to maximize their cap space, perhaps even adding another max player to their roster.

With several weeks still to go before free agency begins, it’s possible things could change before then, and a sign-and-trade deal involving Beal is conceivable, Castillo writes. However, a source tells the Post scribe that the Wizards aren’t entertaining that option. The team thinks highly of the young guard’s character, and believes he’s on the brink of breaking out.

Wizards Determined To Keep Core Intact

  • The Wizards “remain determined to keep their core intact,” multiple sources tell J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com. That means the team will likely pony up to retain Bradley Beal this summer, even if it means making him a max player or something close to it.
  • Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic.com believes the Wizards should take a long look at free-agent-to-be Nicolas Batum this offseason, breaking down the forward’s pros and cons and making the case for why he could be a fit in Washington.

Case For Randy Wittman To Get Another Head Coaching Post

If the Raptors had failed to make it past the Pacers in the first round of the playoffs, coach Dwane Casey would have likely lost his job, league sources told Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. The other notable development in Toronto during the postseason is the stellar play of center Bismack Biyombo, who is likely pricing himself out of a return to the Raptors with the team only holding the big man’s Non-Bird rights, Lowe notes. Some rival executives are wondering if the team will try and trade center Jonas Valanciunas this offseason in order to create the necessary cap room to re-sign Biyombo, the scribe relays.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Magic point guard Elfrid Payton could be one of the players who will benefit most from the arrival of new coach Frank Vogel, and the young playmaker is pleased with the hire, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders relays. “I’m pretty excited,” Payton said of Vogel coaching the Magic. “I trust [GM] Rob [Hennigan], so whatever he’s with, I’m with. … Coach and I spoke briefly. Everybody [on the team] seems pretty excited about the hire.”
  • The Pistons could benefit by adding depth at point guard via the draft and potential targets for the team include Wade Baldwin (Vanderbilt), Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame) and Tyler Ulis (Kentucky), David Mayo of MLive opines. The top two point guards, Kris Dunn (Providence) and Jamal Murray (Kentucky), are expected to be off the board when Detroit selects at No. 18 overall. Mayo notes.
  • Former Wizards coach Randy Wittman relates well to veteran players, gets his roster to buy in defensively and has a career record that compares favorably to Vogel, new Kings coach Dave Joerger and new Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, J. Michael of CSNMid-Atlantic writes in his look at Wittman’s chances of landing another head coaching slot.

Beal Seeking Max Deal In Free Agency

Shooting guard Bradley Beal believes he’s worthy of a max deal as he heads into restricted free agency this summer, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports. Beal will sign an offer sheet from a suitor willing to pay that price if the Wizards don’t make a max offer when free agency begins in July, he told Castillo in a phone interview. “I feel like I’m a max player and that’s what I’m looking for,” he said. “If Washington can’t meet that requirement then I may be thinking elsewhere. I’m pretty sure that they probably won’t [let me go].” Beal declined a contract extension prior to the beginning of this past season and doesn’t believe his injury history will affect his bargaining power, Castillo adds. “The injury thing, that’s behind me,” Beal said. “I’m moving forward. I’m past it.”

Southwest Notes: Grizzlies, Anderson, Terry

The Grizzlies spoke with at least two candidates today as their search for a new coach heats up. Heat assistant David Fizdale came to Memphis for an interview, tweets Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com., as did Portland assistant Nate Tibbetts, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal (Twitter link). Both had been previously named as candidates for the job.

Spurs assistant James Borrego impressed Grizzlies officials during his interview earlier this week, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Memphis has also held interviews with Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, Hornets assistant Patrick Ewing and recently fired Pacers coach Frank Vogel (Twitter link). The Grizzlies have significant interest in Vogel, according to ESPN, but so does Orlando (Twitter link).

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans free agent Ryan Anderson says he was nearly traded to Cleveland at the deadline, relays Brett Dawson of The Advocate. Appearing on “The Vertical Podcast,” Anderson contends the Cavaliers were trying to work out a deal for him before they picked up Channing Frye from Orlando. “There was a very last-minute phone call that I could have gone to Cleveland,” Anderson said. “I would be playing for the Cavs right now.” Anderson said he didn’t ask the Pelicans to trade him because he wants to have the option in free agency of staying in New Orleans. Anderson’s last experience as a free agent came in 2012 when he was restricted and Orlando swung a deal to send him to the Pelicans. This time, he likes the feeling of being in complete control. “I want to enjoy this process and see where New Orleans is at this summer,” Anderson said. “I want to see where, I don’t know, Houston is at or Sacramento or Washington.”
  • The Spurs could be interested in power forward Thomas Robinson if he opts out of his deal with the Nets, according to Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. Robinson would give up a little more than $980K by opting out, but he stands to make much more on the open market with the expected jump in the salary cap. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has talked about the need to rebuild the bench with younger players, and the 25-year-old Robinson, a former teammate of LaMarcus Aldridge in Portland, could be a possibility.
  • Rockets point guard Jason Terry thinks Dwight Howard would be a “great fit” with the Mavericks, but only if he adapts to coach Rick Carlisle, according to The Dallas Morning News“Whatever [Howard’s] role is, he would have to be the one to buy in first, and then you go from there,” Terry said on ESPN Radio’s Cowlishaw and Mosley show. “But he and Dirk [Nowitzki] together? That’s a powerful combination.” The 38-year-old Terry adds that he hopes to play one more season before retiring.

Brooks Travels To Meet With Gortat

  • New Wizards coach Scott Brooks traveled to Orlando this week for a meeting with Marcin Gortat, according to Keely Diven of CSNMidAtlantic. Brooks is hoping to establish a better relationship with his starting center than former coach Randy Wittman, who feuded publicly with Gortat.

Latest From NBA Draft Combine

  • Maryland junior power forward Robert Carter met with representatives from the Wizards at the combine this week and the player noted that one of the team’s focal points was him having a solid character, Daniel Martin of CSNMid-Atlantic relays. “They’ve seen me a lot. They say they’ve seen me play a lot,” Carter said. “Everybody was in there, pretty much everybody. The whole staff, GM, president, everybody was in there and they just talked to me about what type of person I am and I said, ‘Hopefully a good person.’ But they just talked to me about my game and that was pretty much it.

Draft Combine Update: Friday Afternoon

The Celtics have a tentative workout scheduled with Duke small forward Brandon Ingram, a prime contender to become the No. 1 pick, reports Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald (Twitter link). The outcome of the lottery will determine whether it takes place, according to Murphy, and presumably, the Celtics will have to land one of the top two selections. Ingram is the top prospect in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings and second in the listings Chad Ford of ESPN.com compiles.

See more draft news on day three of the combine:

  • Syracuse shooting guard Malachi Richardson and Kansas forward/center Cheick Diallo have told teams they’ve decided to stay in the draft rather than pull out by May 25th to retain their college eligibility, reports Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • The Pacers, Warriors, Spurs, Wizards, Rockets and Mavericks are among the teams that have spoken with Syracuse swingman Michael Gbinije, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.
  • Notre Dame point guard Demetrius Jackson has interviewed with the Suns, Spurs, Kings, Trail Blazers and Bucks, observes Rod Beard of The Detroit News, who also cites Jackson’s previously reported interview with the Pistons.
  • Villanova shooting guard Josh Hart has worked out for the Clippers and has another workout scheduled with the Hawks on May 24th, as Zagoria relays. He’ll also work out for the Celtics and Spurs, and his previously reported workout with the Sixers takes place Monday, Zagoria reveals. The Knicks, Wizards, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Pacers, Grizzlies and Jazz interviewed Hart at the combine, according to Zagoria.
  • Purdue big man Caleb Swanigan has the Pistons, Hawks, Wizards and Suns among the teams on his interview list, Zagoria tweets.

Draft Combine Update: Friday Morning

Skal Labissiere‘s impressive private workout on Wednesday didn’t quite measure up to the hype, contends Chad Ford of ESPN.com in an Insider-only piece, who pegs the draft range for the Kentucky big man as No. 9 to No. 20. The Suns and Kings are among the teams Labissiere has interviewed with at the combine, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv, echoing previous reports about interviews with Philadelphia and New Orleans. Ford’s sources remain solidly in the camp of Ben Simmons over Brandon Ingram for the top overall pick, while it appears it’s a battle between Jamal Murray and Kris Dunn for the No. 3 pick, Ford hears. Still, no one had a more impressive combine showing Thursday than Cheick Diallo, a high second-round prospect, according to Ford. Both his strengths and weaknesses were on display, as Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of DraftExpress detail. The Kansas center/forward says he’ll probably remain in the draft, as Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv details, adding the Warriors, Mavericks, Nets, Sixers, Knicks and Raptors to the list of teams he’s interviewing with at the combine.

See more updates as the combine continues:

  • The Lakers interviewed Ingram, notes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
  • The Bulls, Hawks, Kings, Spurs and Rockets are among the teams interviewing Cal swingman Jaylen Brown, as he told reporters and as Basketball Insiders relays in a video. Also on the list are Boston and Minnesota, as we passed along earlier.
  • UNLV shooting guard Patrick McCaw listed the Raptors, Bucks, Hornets, Cavaliers and Heat, as well as a previously reported meeting with Boston, among his interviews, as Basketball Insiders relays in another video.
  • Wisconsin power forward Nigel Hayes will work out for the Suns, Celtics and Knicks, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link). Ford heard some negativity surrounding his performance Thursday.
  • The Pelicans, Knicks, Mavericks, Hornets and Lakers are the previously unreported teams on the interview list for Maryland point guard Melo Trimble, as J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic relays. Ford heard from NBA types down on Trimble’s showing Thursday.
  • Former Iona combo guard A.J. English met with the Pelicans and will do so with the Wizards and Nets, Zagoria tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.
  • The Spurs, Warriors, Nuggets and Grizzlies are the previously unreported teams interviewing Seton Hall shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead, Zagoria relays (Twitter link). He’ll work out for the Sixers on Monday, the Pacers on Wednesday, the Celtics on May 20th and the Bulls on May 23rd, a source tells Zach Braziller of the New York Post (Twitter links). Boston, Indiana and Chicago are particularly interested in him, Braziller hears.

Draft Combine Updates: Thursday Afternoon

The NBA draft combine began Wednesday and kicks into high gear today. The players have been measured, with the the NBA releasing the results on its website, and drills and five-on-five action will take place for willing participants. The general rule is this: The more highly regarded the prospect, the fewer combine events in which he takes part. Cameron Payne was the only eventual 2015 lottery pick who did any basketball activity at last year’s combine, notes Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress (Twitter link). Top-pick contender Ben Simmons is among those who are skipping the combine altogether, while lottery prospects Kris Dunn and Deyonta Davis will be limited participants, Givony and Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com report (Twitter links). Interviews with teams are a key part of the combine, as The Vertical’s Bobby Marks details, but teams don’t directly select the players they interview, as Marks explains.

Here’s more news on the draft:

  • Givony, writing for The Vertical, said the private workout Skal Labissiere had Wednesday was one of the best he’s ever seen. The big man from Kentucky also interviewed with the Sixers on Wednesday, a source told Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly (Twitter link).
  • Top-10 prospects Brandon Ingram, Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray are among those interviewing with the Celtics, reports Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald (Twitter link).
  • First-round prospect DeAndre’ Bembry will work out for the Sixers on Monday, reports Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). The small forward from St. Joseph’s met with the Nets on Wednesday, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link), and Bembry also interviewed with the Thunder, Wizards, Spurs, Pelicans and Knicks, Pompey adds (via Twitter).
  • St. Joseph’s power forward Isaiah Miles worked out for the Celtics this week and will do so for the Nets on May 19th, Pompey also reports. The Mavericks, Spurs, Rockets, Bucks and Knicks will also work him out, according to Pompey, who adds that he’ll interview with the Pacers and Wizards at the combine and previously interviewed with the Mavs, Spurs, Magic and Grizzlies at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a showcase for seniors.
  • The Nets are among the teams working out Kentucky combo guard Isaiah Briscoe, sources tell Evan Daniels of Scout.com (Twitter link), who also echoes previous reports of his workouts with three other teams.
  • Oklahoma senior shooting guard Isaiah Cousins will work out Tuesday for the Pacers, Zagoria tweets.
  • Oakland University point guard Kay Felder met Wednesday with the Suns, Pelicans, Jazz, Nuggets, Cavaliers, Celtics and Nets, reports Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).
  • Evansville center Egidijus Mockevicius will work out for the Nets, Bulls and Pacers, reports Daniel Allar of the Courier & Press (Twitter links). The Nuggets, Cavaliers and Magic are also interested in scheduling workouts with him, Allar adds.

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