When it came time to decide whether he would extend his contract in D.C. beyond the 2020/21 season, Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal consulted with a Hall of Fame sharpshooter. As detailed in a piece by Mike DePrisco of NBC Sports Washington, Beal relayed on the Woj Pod with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that he spoke with 10-time All Star Ray Allen about his future.
“He was in Milwaukee and Seattle and those years were rugged,” Beal noted. “They weren’t always great but he was one of the best players and he was always making sure those teams were in the playoffs or making some type of noise.”
The Wizards currently stand at 3-7, the fourth-worst record in the NBA at present. Their 119.6 opponent points scored per game ranks 28th in the league. Since finishing 49-33 in 2016/17 and losing a hotly contested seven-game series to the Celtics, the Wizards have been plagued by injuries, most notably to pricey All-Star point guard John Wall. Wall played just 41 games in 2017/18, and merely 32 last season. He is expected to miss most or all of 2019/20. The team finished with a 32-50 record in 2018/19.
In October, Beal agreed to a two-year, $72MM maximum contract extension that would take him through the 2021/22 season and include a player option for 2022/23 (his age-29 season).
There’s more news and notes from the Southeast:
- In sunnier Wizards chatter, NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes wonders if center Moritz Wagner could be the team’s latest Laker-castoff steal, a la Thomas Bryant. After spending his rookie season with the Lakers (just like Bryant), Wagner, the 25th pick in 2018 out of Michigan, was flipped to the Wizards in the blockbuster Anthony Davis deal. Wagner, a high-energy floor-stretcher, had what could be a breakout game Wednesday night against Timberwolves All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns. He scored 30 points and 15 rebounds in just 25 bench minutes. Hughes suggests that Wagner, who has limited length for his height and lacks shot-blocking instincts, can still be effective in scrappily fouling players and drawing charges on offense.
- Point guard Goran Dragic, a 2020 free agent and former All-Star, was talked into a bench role on the surging Heat over a September brunch, according to a new deep dive from The Athletic’s Shandel Richardson. Foregoing mimosas for coffee and eggs, coach Erik Spoelstra pitched Dragic on the role change mid-meal. “He mentioned it to me at brunch and he was saying after that [2018/19 knee] injury he was thinking this was the best way,” Dragic relayed. “I said, ‘Whatever it takes, Coach. I’m going to do whatever you ask of me.’” Dragic, the second-highest paid Heat player, has averaged 16.1 PPG, 5.1 APG, and 3.4 RPG for the 8-3 Heat.
- The Athletic’s Sam Amick takes an in-depth look at the ascent of Hawks second-year point guard Trae Young in an exclusive interview. The 21-year-old Young is off to a blistering start. Amick discusses the way Young’s on-court achievements will always be connected with the Hawks’ fateful 2018 draft trade with the Mavericks involving Luka Doncic. Young and Amick scroll through a list of Young’s doubters. “I have pictures and stuff like that. Old tweets. Old different sayings and quotes from people who said things when I was coming into the draft, coming into college too,” Young reflected. “It’s stuff I just keep it in my mind. Some of it is mental notes, but at the same time some of it is stuff that I keep and I have my eye on. …But I think that type of stuff motivates you.”