The comments made Monday by president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard seemed to indicate the Wizards don’t have any reservations about giving Bradley Beal a full maximum-salary contract, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column. Beal, who missed the final 33 games of the season because of an injured left wrist, is eligible for a new five-year deal worth a projected $247MM+.
Stein states that Sheppard had “ebullience” when talking about Beal and the chance to team him up with Kristaps Porzingis next season. Beal has to make a decision by next week on a $36.4MM player option for 2022/23, but it sounds like a long-term offer will be waiting no matter what he does with the option.
Sheppard said Beal can be a franchise centerpiece and notes that he has improved his defense and become more versatile since he arrived in the NBA. He points out that Beal can handle either backcourt spot, adding, “We have no problem playing Bradley Beal at point guard.”
There’s more from Stein:
- While the Knicks would like to clear cap space before free agency kicks off, Stein has heard strong rumblings that they’re prepared to sign Mitchell Robinson to a new multiyear contract. The fourth-year center is coming off his best NBA season, averaging 8.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 72 games, and his minimum-salary cap hold means that retaining him won’t complicate any efforts to create cap room. Stein confirms a report that New York is looking for takers for Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel, along with Kemba Walker, to make a run at a free agent guard like Jalen Brunson or possibly Kyrie Irving.
- Appearing Monday on Spotify Live, Stein suggested that the Bulls are the most likely destination if the Jazz decide to trade Rudy Gobert. He clarifies that statement in today’s column, saying Chicago has “ongoing reservations” about dealing for Gobert, while the Raptors are still a team to watch. Stein adds that Gobert isn’t considered a sure thing to be traded this summer.
- In the wake of Kenny Atkinson‘s decision to remain with the Warriors, the Hornets are still in the market for someone with experience as a head coach, such as Mike D’Antoni, the other finalist, who is scheduled to meet with owner Michael Jordan today. Stein suggests that family reasons factored into Atkinson’s decision, as did the fact that Golden State was willing to pay him more than assistant coaches usually make.