Bradley Beal

NBA Executives Hesitant To Make A Deal

All seems to be quiet on the trade front throughout the NBA landscape.

There is very little chatter going on among NBA executives, in part because there was so much player movement this summer, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (hat tip to RealGM).

A vast majority of the players who signed contracts this offseason will become trade-eligible no earlier than December 15 and that has contributed to the lack of trade negotiations.

[RELATED: Players who can’t be traded until December 15]

“Right now, from what I understand, there’s almost no trade talks going on,” Windhorst said. “Like nothing. It’s the deadest it has been that executives can remember in years. Most because like a third of the league just signed and there’s just not many trade-eligible guys.”

The only player generating any buzz is Wizards guard Bradley Beal, since many executives around the league believe Washington will eventually decide to move him and go into full rebuild mode.

“There’s definitely Bradley Beal discussions already going on,” according to Windhorst.

However, Beal still has two years left on his contract and the Wizards’ front office is holding out hope it can sign him to an extension.

Woj’s Latest: Beal, CP3, Lowry, Iguodala, Siakam

In a televised preseason special on Thursday night (audio link), ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe identified Bradley Beal as a player worth watching closely this season. Beal looks like the most obvious candidate of the NBA’s stars to become disgruntled and push for a trade during the 2019/20 season. However, as Wojnarowski notes, that hasn’t happened yet, and the Wizards are still all-in on trying to retain their All-Star guard.

“Bradley Beal’s got two years left on his deal and the Wizards have not given up hope of signing him to an extension,” Wojnarowski said. “They’ve had a three-year, $111MM-or-so extension on the table for him to take in any form. Does he want two years, three years? Any form he wants, it is there waiting for him. So they are nowhere near the idea of moving Bradley Beal. They want to continue to try to rebuild around him.”

[RELATED: Why Bradley Beal won’t immediately accept Wizards’ extension offer]

As Woj and Lowe point out, a weak 2020 free agent class would make Beal an especially valuable trade chip if the Wizards’ stance changes, but there’s no indication that will happen anytime soon.

“Bradley Beal, if he got on the market, would bring back an absolute ransom because if you want to improve your team in a dramatic way, he’d be the guy,” Woj said. “But Washington’s not doing that. They still want to re-sign him.”

Here are a few more highlights from ESPN’s special featuring two of the network’s top basketball reporters:

  • The Thunder‘s plan when they acquired Chris Paul from Houston was to flip him to another team, according to Wojnarowski, who says OKC had hoped the Heat would be more open to making a deal. “He’s going to have to play really well in Oklahoma City for somebody to want to take on three years, $124MM [and] pay him $44MM in the final year of his contract,” Woj said of CP3. “That’s a really difficult proposition. … He has value in the league, but not at those numbers.”
  • Woj and Lowe think Raptors guard Kyle Lowry would generate a lot of interest on the trade market if Toronto becomes open to moving him. Both ESPN experts believe that Lowry’s one-year, $31MM extension actually makes him more appealing as a trade chip, since he wouldn’t be just a half-season rental. Lowe speculates that teams like the Heat, Pistons, and Clippers might have interest, while Woj singles out the Timberwolves as another potential fit.
  • According to Wojnarowski, both the Grizzlies and Andre Iguodala are willing to be patient when it comes to a potential trade or buyout. Woj likens Iguodala to MLB pitcher Roger Clemens, who often signed late in the season during the final few years of his career. “Iguodala’s fine with seeing what the landscape looks like and then jumping in on the season a little later,” Woj said. “Because you’re signing Andre Iguodala – or trading for him – for the postseason.” Woj added that the Lakers and Clippers would be the favorites to land the former Finals MVP if he’s bought out.
  • In a discussion on this year’s extension candidates (video link), Wojnarowski suggests that Raptors forward Pascal Siakam would be a lock for a maximum-salary offer sheet if he reaches restricted free agency next summer. Woj believes Kings sharpshooter Buddy Hield would get a similar offer and that Jaylen Brown (Celtics) and Domantas Sabonis (Pacers) would do very well too, given the lack of veteran stars expected to hit the free agent market.

Eastern Notes: White, Poirier, Knicks, Wizards

Lottery pick Coby White has looked good in the first week of the Bulls‘ training camp, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Coach Jim Boylen said White can play either guard spot and appears to already have him penciled into the rotation. “We’ve added ballers to this team,’’ Boylen said. “Coby White, whether he’s a one, he’s a two, he’s a baller. … That’s what this roster is. We’ve got to do a good job using those guys and give them space and freedom to use what they have.’’

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • French center Vincent Poirier is looking to earn minutes with the Celtics through grit and determination, as he told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. Poirier signed a two-year contract to compete for a role with one of the East’s top teams after playing in Spain last season. “You have a couple of guys who make all the dirty jobs,” he said. “If not, you cannot win. You have to be great at what you can do, and what I can do is all the dirty jobs.”
  • Knicks coach David Fizdale has a dilemma on his hands regarding the point guard spot, as Barbara Barker of Newsday details. With Dennis Smith Jr., Elfrid Payton, and Frank Ntilikina vying for minutes at the position, choosing a starter may be the toughest decision of the preseason for Fizdale. Utilizing two point guards at the same time will be a serious consideration.
  • Developing good habits with a young roster is the first step toward improvement for the Wizards, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post writes. Washington is trying to establish a better culture after the front office and roster changes that were made this offseason. “The season’s going to go quick and the bench is going shorten and Coach (Scott Brooks) is going to want guys who know what he wants and get it done,” guard Bradley Beal said. “So, as long as we’re able to keep those good habits up of being on time, being early, getting the work in and then applying it on the court and getting it done, that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Wizards Notes: Anderson, Schofield, Smith

Justin Anderson is hoping to make the Wizards‘ roster and knows the role he has to play to get there, as I wrote on SLAM Newswire.

“I’m not a guy that’s going to iso and score buckets. That’s not my game. My game is to play a role, fill a void, play defense, play hard, play passionately,” Anderson said.

Washington has 13 players under guaranteed deals, but Anderson is not one of them, meaning he’ll likely compete with a handful of players for the last two spots on the roster, as our own Luke Adams detailed earlier today. Anderson, who is from Virginia and played his collegiate ball at the University of Virginia, would love the opportunity to play for the Wizards, with his family close by.

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” he said. “We see Kawhi and Paul George, they get to go back home. You see it happen on all levels. Everyone is excited to go back home.

Here’s more from training camp in Washington:

  • Second-round pick Admiral Schofield was forced out of a scrimmage today with what appeared to be a leg injury. There’s no word yet on the severity of the injury.
  • Earlier in the week, Ish Smith compared playing alongside Bradley Beal to his time playing alongside Blake Griffin. “Shooting the basketball when I’m open, cutting sometimes, mixing it up and playing it off the catch,” Smith said of the style he expects to play while on the court next to Beal. With Isaiah Thomas and John Wall sidelined, Smith is the favorite to open the season as the team’s starting point guard.
  • The two starting forward positions are also up for grabs during camp. Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans could end up with those spots, though that would leave one of the two players playing out of his best position. Thomas Bryant and Beal are the only two starters that are essentially set in stone.
  • As we passed along earlier today, Ian Mahinmi will miss at least six weeks with a strained Achilles. Of the Wizards’ 13 players with guaranteed deals, five are currently injured.

Southeast Notes: Beal, J. Johnson, Hornets, Magic

With John Wall expected to miss most or all of the 2019/20 season due to his torn Achilles and Isaiah Thomas sidelined with a thumb injury to start the year, the Wizards find themselves thin at point guard — Ish Smith is the only NBA veteran on the depth chart. However, star shooting guard Bradley Beal sounds prepared to slide down to the one and assume some of the ball-handling responsibilities if he’s asked to, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays.

“I’m always comfortable with that,” Beal told Hughes. “[Wizards head coach Scott] Brooks knows that and I’ve done it the last couple of years. If that time comes, I’m more than prepared and willing to do it.

“I’m confident that no one can take my ball,” he added. “I’m not a point guard, but I can play the position. If needed to, I can run the team for sure.”

Beal, who took on a greater offensive role last season when Wall went down, averaged a career-high 5.5 assists per game in 2018/19. It was the third consecutive year in which he established a new career-best in APG, and Brooks wouldn’t be surprised if it happens again this season. According to Hughes, the head coach said he could envision Beal averaging seven dimes per game.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • James Johnson, who is away from the Heat for a second day after failing to meet his conditioning requirements, has been in touch with the team’s trainers but is working out on his own, a source tells Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • Hornets big man Cody Zeller said on the first day of camp that it felt like “something is missing” in Charlotte without Kemba Walker in the locker room, writes Steve Reed of The Associated Press. Zeller added that it was especially tough to lose Walker because he felt like the Hornets were “close” to breaking through and becoming a playoff team.
  • Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman spoke to Josh Robbins of The Athletic about the club’s offseason moves and decisions, and the plans for the 14th and 15th spots on the regular season roster. Weltman was evasive when he discussed those final roster spots, but hinted that the team may not carry a 15th man to start the season.
  • In a separate story for The Athletic, Robbins notes that things feel a little different this year in training camp for the Magic. After a six-year playoff drought, the club made it back to the postseason last spring, and expectations have increased as a result.

Wizards Notes: Beal, Thomas, Thorn, Tanking

Bradley Beal has an important financial decision to make, but the Wizards star insists that money won’t be the deciding factor, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. The front office gave Beal a $111MM extension offer more than two months ago. He hasn’t signed it and hasn’t made a decision on whether he wants to remain in Washington long term. At Media Day, he told reporters that the chance to be on a contender will matter more than the size of the deal.

“I can really retire today and be OK. … So, I want everybody to understand, it’s not the money,” Beal said. “It’s not the money factor here. It’s me. It’s, OK, what’s the direction the team’s going in? Are we gonna win? Is this what we want? We know that this is probably gonna be a development year. It’s gonna be one of those types of years. So, does Bradley Beal wanna be a part of that ultimately? And that’s something I have to ask myself and something I’m probably still not done asking myself. So, I’m gonna use all my time until I can.”

October 21 is the deadline for Beal to accept the current deal, but turning it down won’t signal the end of his time with the Wizards. He will be eligible for a longer, more lucrative deal as a free agent in 2021, and an All-NBA nod would qualify him for a super-max contract that could reach up to $250MM over five years.

There’s more from D.C. on the first day of camp:

  • A lot of contenders would like to find a way to add Beal this season, notes John Hollinger of The Athletic. The former Grizzlies executive writes that swapping newly signed D’Angelo Russell for Beal is a “dream scenario” for the Warriors. He mentions the Lakers, Raptors, Nuggets and Celtics as teams that would also be interested if Beal becomes available.
  • Isaiah Thomas is trying to laugh off his latest injury, a torn ligament in his left thumb that will force him to miss the entire preseason, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. It’s the latest in a series of physical mishaps for Thomas since his last All-Star appearance in 2016/17. “I was in there laughing because I’m like: ‘Damn. It’s always something,’” Thomas said. “But at the end of the day, this won’t break me. I’ve been through way worse.”
  • Rod Thorn, who has more than 40 years of experience as an NBA executive, will serve as a senior advisor to GM Tommy Sheppard, Buckner tweets.
  • With John Wall possibly out for the entire season and a roster filled with young players, the Wizards are in a perfect position to tank, observes Sean Deveney of Heavy. “Keeping (Wall) out, trying to see if you can find a diamond in the rough by playing a bunch of non-guaranteed (contract) guys, that’s the way they have to go,” a rival executive said. “It’s tanking, but you can’t blame them.”

Southeast Notes: Kidd-Gilchrist, Pasecniks, Beal, Fultz

Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist comes into camp without a clearly defined role, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. Kidd-Gilchrist opted in to his $13MM contract this season rather than pursue free agency, which he did for his family’s financial security, Bonnell continues. Kidd-Gilchrist’s stock has plummeted in recent seasons and he would have had to settle for a major pay cut if he had dipped his toe into the free agent pool. He was used sparingly last season by coach James Borrego and it’s uncertain if that will change. “I don’t know,” Kidd-Gilchrist said of how he fits on the current roster.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Center Anzejs Pasecniks will play for the Wizards’ G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington tweets. Pasecniks, a 2017 first-round pick by the Sixers, played for the Wizards during the Las Vegas Summer League. Philadelphia renounced its rights to Pasecniks during the offseason.
  • Count Wizards guard Bradley Beal among the stars interested in playing for Team USA in the Olympics next summer, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets“I don’t plan on having a son this next summer. Or daughter! I don’t plan on having no kids, let’s say that,” he said.
  • Magic guard Markelle Fultz plans to play in the team’s preseason opener on Saturday, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Fultz appeared in 19 games with the Sixers last season but has yet to make his Orlando debut. The No. 1 overall pick in 2017 was traded to the Magic in February.

Wizards Notes: Sheppard, Wall, Roster, Brooks

New GM Tommy Sheppard indicated in a press conference this week that the Wizards will be giving a lot more minutes to younger players this year, relays Fred Katz of The Athletic. Sheppard stated that the organization wants to have each rookie play at least 1,500 minutes between the NBA and the G League. That represents a significant change from last season, when Bradley Beal led the league in minutes played and coach Scott Brooks relied heavily on his veterans.

Washington has a pair of rookies with guaranteed contracts in Rui Hachimura and Admiral Schofield, so they should see plenty of time with the Wizards. Garrison Mathews, who has a two-way deal, and Justin Robinson, who wasn’t drafted but has a chance to make the final roster, could both wind up at Capital City. Troy Brown, Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones, all second-year players who didn’t see much time last season, may spend time there as well.

“We gotta show them why and how it’s good for them,” Sheppard said about selling the approach to veterans. “But I think they’re active participants in it, and I think everybody appreciates that we’re trying to prolong careers. You make a bad decision on a player — they go out, and they pop a hamstring, or something happens which could’ve been avoided because of fatigue factor we didn’t recognize — that’s on us.”

There’s more from D.C., all courtesy of Katz:

  • John Wall is serving as a virtual assistant coach while he waits to return from a ruptured Achilles that may sideline him for the entire season. Sheppard said Wall is helping to teach the younger players, and the team won’t pressure him to try to return. “We’re not waiting on a calendar. There’s not a clock when he comes back,” he said. “He comes back when he’s 100 percent.”
  • The Wizards have 13 players with guaranteed contracts and may opt to go with a 14-player roster rather than the maximum of 15. “If you have 15 players and one gets hurt, (using a two-way player) is the only way you can plug it,” Sheppard said. “You have 14 players; you can sign somebody and bring them in that’s not in the G League. It gives you optionality … My vision, putting rosters together, it doesn’t make a lot of sense not to hold back a roster spot for the competition, for the inevitable injury, something.” Jordan McRae, who has a $400K guarantee, is considered likely to earn a roster spot, according to Katz, but injuries to Wall and Isaiah Thomas increase the need for another point guard.
  • Brooks, who is entering the fourth year of his five-year contract, will be judged on building a positive culture rather than wins and losses, Sheppard adds.

Wizards Rumors: Beal, DPE, Wall, Brooks

When Bradley Beal become eligible for a contract extension in July, the Wizards reportedly offered the most lucrative possible long-term deal they could (three years, $111.8MM). Two months later, they still don’t have an answer from Beal, who isn’t talking as if a new contract is his top priority at the moment.

In a conversation with NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller (video link), Beal said he hasn’t been thinking about an extension, preferring to let his agent handle his contract situation. However, he also stressed that he’s not looking for an exit from the Wizards.

“Honestly you might slap me, but I haven’t thought about it,” Beal said. “I’m just getting better and letting my agent, [GM] Tommy [Sheppard], and everybody else deal with it. I just go hoop. Every day I see somebody and they ask ‘Beal, you leaving?’ and I’m like ‘I’m still living in D.C., I ain’t going nowhere.'”

Acknowledging that he’s aware of speculation about his future and the fact that fans want an answer, Beal said that he likes being a member of the Wizards, hinting that the grass wouldn’t necessarily be greener if he were to go elsewhere.

“It’s a great thing that a lot of people love your game and want you on their team,” Beal said. “But I love the situation I have too. Not every situation would be my situation.”

Sheppard said today that he’s giving Beal space to consider the team’s extension offer, and that it will be up to him to make a decision by October 21 (Twitter link via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington). Because the All-Star guard still has two guaranteed years left on his current contract, he can’t sign an in-season extension. As we’ve noted previously, waiting until at least 2020 to sign a new deal would give him the best chance to maximize his earnings.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Having assumed control of the Wizards’ front office this summer, Sheppard and his group are prioritizing players who embody the “Wizards Way,” as Gene Wang of The Washington Post relays. “I think we’re still evaluating the best way to express it, but we know what we don’t want the Wizards Way to look like,” Sheppard said. “We don’t want players that don’t want to be here. We don’t want people to have contracts that far exceed what they produce result-wise. We don’t want unhappy people that are going to cause disintegration in our locker room. That’s the way out. That’s the Wizards’ way out, so what we’re trying to onboard now, talent, of course, but high character, hard-driven, value-driven people that we can back with data that have places in our locker room.”
  • The Wizards still haven’t gotten an answer on whether their disabled player exception request for John Wall will be approved, Sheppard said today (Twitter link via Hughes). The club applied all the way back at the start of July, so it appears it wasn’t a slam-dunk decision. An NBA-designated physician will have to determine whether Wall is “substantially more likely than not” to be out of action through at least June 15, 2020.
  • Hughes adds in the same tweet that Wall will be helping out the coaching staff this season as he recovers from his Achilles tear. The veteran point guard will have a few players to whom he’s specifically assigned.
  • It will be a pivotal year for head coach Scott Brooks in Washington, according to Hughes, who writes at NBC Sports Washington that the season could go a number of different ways. It remains an open question whether Brooks will be coaching the Wizards beyond 2019/20, says Hughes.
  • The Wizards signed Chris Chiozza and finalized their 20-man training camp roster, as we detailed earlier today.

Wizards GM Reiterates Desire To Keep Bradley Beal

After a wild NBA offseason in which several All-Stars changed teams, there are few intriguing trade candidates left on the market. While league observers have speculated that Bradley Beal could be the next star to be shopped, new Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard reiterated to Brad Botkin of CBS Sports that trading Beal isn’t an idea the club is considering.

“The way that I look at this is pretty simple,” Sheppard said. “If you were looking to build a team, Brad would be the type of player anyone would want to start with. You look at the character, the talent, the age, just the whole package … Brad is without a doubt a core player in this league. Every team would love to have him, and we do.

“So we’ve never considered anything other than a situation where Brad is with us and leading us forward. We made that clear to him on the first day we could offer him an extension, and we’ll continue to make that clear.”

As Sheppard notes, Beal became eligible to sign a contract extension earlier this offseason, and the Wizards reportedly put the most lucrative possible offer on the table as soon as they were allowed to do so. However, if the All-Star shooting guard wants to maximize his potential earnings, it’s in his best interest to wait until at least next summer to sign a new deal, even if he’d like to stay in D.C.

It remains to be seen just how serious Beal is about sticking with the Wizards. He talked earlier this summer about wanting to see what sort of direction the team went in with its front office and its roster, so he has certainly been monitoring Sheppard’s first offseason as the club’s head of basketball operations. Obviously, if Beal were to request a trade, the Wizards may be forced to reconsider their stance on keeping him long-term, but there’s no indication that he plans to make such a request.

With the Wizards expected to be a lottery team in 2019/20 and Beal’s contract set to expire after the 2020/21 season, this will be a situation worth watching, but for now Sheppard remains steadfast in his desire to build around the 26-year-old.