Bradley Beal‘s repeated leg problems are part of the reason the Wizards have been reluctant to commit to an extension, writes J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com. The Wizards confirmed today that Beal has “the beginnings of a stress reaction in his lower right fibula.” He will miss at least seven games as he will be kept out of action for two weeks before being re-evaluated. Michael notes that the injury is in the same vicinity as his last stress reaction in February and is part of Beal’s “long and complex” injury history since being drafted in 2012. Michael also speculates that the latest injury could hold down Beal’s value when he becomes a restricted free agent next summer, possibly allowing Washington to sign him at a lower price.
There’s more tonight from the Southeast Division:
- Despite the injury, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post doesn’t believe Beal’s market value will be reduced. He writes that Beal is still likely to get a max offer from someone, especially with the coming rise in the salary cap linked to television revenue. Beal is trying to stay positive despite the latest setback. “I can’t worry about it,” he said. “If I do, it ruins me as a player. It ruins my confidence. It kind of makes an excuse for me, and I don’t want to live with myself in that category.”
- The Hawks‘ recent run of success is being threatened by their draft decisions, according to Jonathan Tjarks of Real GM. Atlanta posted the best record in the East last season, but Tjarks worries that the franchise is being hurt by poor use of its draft picks. The Hawks emerged from the draft with Lucas Nogueira in 2013 and Adreian Payne in 2014, then traded this year’s pick to the Knicks for Tim Hardaway Jr. Atlanta ultimately traded Nogueira to Toronto and Payne to Minnesota, and Hardaway has spent time in the D-League this season.
- The Hornets‘ Nicolas Batum has already proven himself worthy of a max contract next summer, writes Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer. Batum, whom Charlotte acquired from the Blazers in a June trade, has helped the Hornets get off to a 14-9 start, third best in the Eastern Conference. Fowler says Batum has stepped into the point forward role and has accepted much of the playmaking responsibility. The columnist estimates it will take nearly $20MM per season to keep Batum in Charlotte, but contends it will be worth it.