Stein’s Latest: Beal, Heat, Suns, Zion, Harden, Rosas, Bucks

The Wizards may be motivated to move Bradley Beal sooner rather than later, Marc Stein writes at Substack, observing that the team’s leverage in trade negotiations could take a hit if Damian Lillard asks the Trail Blazers for a trade while Beal is still in D.C.

As Stein writes, the Heat are currently one of Beal’s prime suitors, but if Lillard were available, Miami would be at the top of his wish list too. The Heat are believed to prefer Lillard to Beal, but may not have the luxury of waiting to see if the Blazers guard will request a trade, says Stein. Miami theoretically has the assets to make a play for both stars, but the Wizards probably don’t want to risk having the Heat pivot to Lillard and away from Beal.

As we noted within our initial story on Beal this afternoon, the Wizards seem to be prioritizing cap relief rather than players on long-term contracts, which means Kyle Lowry and Chris Paul would be at the center of offers put forth by the Heat and Suns, respectively. Stein and Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) confirm that Paul is expected to be part of any Phoenix offer, with Haynes adding that Landry Shamet would likely be included too.

Stein and Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald suggest that Paul’s partially guaranteed contract could appeal to the Wizards, since they could waive him by June 28 and only owe him his $15.8MM partial guarantee instead of his full $30.8MM salary for 2023/24. However, Paul’s outgoing salary for matching purposes in a trade would be equivalent to his guarantee for ’23/24, not his full cap hit, so the Suns may need to increase that guarantee in order to adhere to the NBA’s trade rules.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • While it remains to be seen whether the Pelicans will seriously consider moving Zion Williamson this offseason, Stein hears that they “quietly” held some exploratory talks a year ago before signing him to a five-year, maximum-salary contract extension. Stein also reiterates a point he made previously, writing that the “rising level of exasperation” within the organization about Williamson’s availability and approach will have to be addressed if Zion remains in New Orleans.
  • Star guard James Harden is believed to be giving “renewed consideration” to the idea of remaining with the Sixers rather than leaving for the Rockets in free agency, Stein reports.
  • More than one rival team expects the Knicks to make Gersson Rosas their new general manager under president of basketball operations Leon Rose following Scott Perry‘s exit from the franchise, Stein writes. Rosas is currently a senior basketball advisor for the Knicks.
  • Before hiring Adrian Griffin as their new head coach, the Bucks expressed “strong” interest in University of Houston coach Kelvin Sampson, along with Monty Williams, according to Stein, who notes that star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo wanted a former NBA player to get the job.
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