Bradley Beal

Eastern Notes: Wizards, Nunn, Warren, Micic

Wizards point guard John Wall expects to have a different role in the team’s offense once he rejoins Washington, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Wall has missed the entire 2019/20 season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon.

“My game is going to be totally different than what it was before because now with the way [Bradley Beal] can handle the ball,” Wall said of his Wizards teammate. “I can be off the ball a little bit and score from the wing and score in transition by running the wing.”

There’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

Haynes’ Latest: Ariza, Blazers, Wizards, Beal, Wall

When Trevor Ariza decided to opt out of the NBA’s restart, he did so because a one-month visitation period with his son overlapped with the Trail Blazers‘ summer schedule. However, as Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports, Ariza’s visitation period was later amended to conclude near the start of August, prompting members of the Blazers to explore the possibility of bringing the veteran forward to the NBA’s Orlando campus.

Unfortunately, the idea was a non-starter, per Haynes, who hears from sources that the Trail Blazers would have to previously apply for a hardship waiver or late-arrival form for Ariza. Even if the team had done so, the NBA would likely have denied any request to clear Ariza, since he voluntarily opted out, wasn’t included on Portland’s restart roster, didn’t travel with the team to Orlando on July 9, and was replaced by substitute player Jaylen Adams.

According to Haynes, the idea of getting Ariza to Orlando was explored in mid-July when players like Zion Williamson and Montrezl Harrell left the NBA’s campus to address family matters. Players within the Trail Blazers organization were “upset” with the outcome of their efforts, sources tell Yahoo Sports.

Here are a few more noteworthy tidbits included in Haynes’ latest article from Orlando:

  • Despite the fact that the Trail Blazers still have an uphill battle to earn a playoff spot in the West, Damian Lillard tells Haynes that he packed for a three-month stay in Orlando and remains confident that Portland can claim the No. 8 seed. “We came here thinking 6-2, or 7-1 and that would get us in there,” Lillard said. “That’s where our heads are at and we can still do that.”
  • Although Bradley Beal, John Wall, and Davis Bertans aren’t with the Wizards in Orlando, they’re watching practices and continue to participate in team meetings, sources tell Haynes. The team has set up live streams of practices and meetings for players and staff who aren’t on the Orlando campus, Haynes notes.
  • According to Haynes, Beal has made an effort to check in with Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard anytime he misses a meeting or practice in order to catch up. Both Wall and Beal have “been in the ears” of Washington’s young players during the restart, Haynes adds.

Nets Owner Joe Tsai Not Involved In A-Rod, J-Lo Mets Bid

After Nets owner Joe Tsai was named as one of many high-profile sports figures attached to Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez’s bid to purchase the Mets, he denied being involved in the process on Saturday.

Sorry Twitter, it is not true,Tsai said in a tweet. “I grew up as a Mets fan and I have a lot of respect for Alex and Jennifer. But I’m not involved in bidding for the Mets. Gotta focus on basketball.”

Rodriguez and Lopez have put together a star-studded group as they attempt to acquire the MLB franchise, with multiple NBA names attached to the group. Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Nuggets big man Mason Plumlee  — who originally named Tsai as part of the group— are among those involved. Additionally, Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher, former Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and former Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray are part of the bid.

Whether or not Rodriguez and Lopez are successful in their Mets venture remains to be seen. However, it appears it will be without the help of Tsai, who assumed full ownership of the Nets and Barclays Center last August.

Southeast Notes: Isaac, Beal, Bryant, Bamba

The prospects for Magic forward Jonathan Isaac playing during the league restart are improving, Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Isaac, who hasn’t played since he injured his left knee on New Year’s Day, hasn’t been allowed in contact drills yet but he is participating in other team drills. He’s “optimistic” about returning, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link). “I have no reservations in my mind about it,” Isaac said. “If I’m ready to play and if I get the clearance, I’m ready to go.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal, who will sit out the restart, has joined a group of investors bidding to buy the New York Mets, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is also part of the group that has joined forces with Alex Rodriguez and pop star Jennifer Lopez attempting to purchase the team. The group has submitted an initial bid of $1.7 billion.
  • Wizards center Thomas Bryant reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 last week. However, it appears Bryant will eventually join the club in Orlando, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post tweets. “He’ll be back with us in a little while,” teammate Troy Brown said. “The biggest thing is making sure he’s OK.”
  • Magic big man Mohamed Bamba used the time off to bulk up, he told Hays in a separate Orlando Sentinel story. “My mentality the whole entire time we were quarantined was to gain an inch every day and it really took, literally, every day going through it to get to where I am,” Bamba said. “It took changing my diet, it took intense workouts and it took leaning on the Magic’s strength and conditioning staff to provide a plan for me.”

Wizards Notes: Mathews, Beal, Rotation, Hachimura

Having been one of the first NBA teams to arrive at the Walt Disney World campus on Tuesday, the Wizards announced today (via Twitter) that their quarantine period has ended and they’ll conduct their first practice later this afternoon.

However, one player who won’t participate in that practice is two-way guard Garrison Mathews. Sources tell Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link) that Mathews didn’t travel to Orlando with the team for personal reasons. According to Katz, Mathews hasn’t tested positive for the coronavirus, but it remains unclear whether he’ll join the team later or miss the rest of the season.

Mathews, a rookie out of Lipscomb, appeared in just 18 games for the Wizards during the season, averaging 12.6 minutes per contest, so he wasn’t exactly an indispensable rotation piece. Still, Matthews would likely have moved up on the depth chart with Bradley Beal sidelined for the restart, so if he doesn’t eventually join the club at Disney, he’ll be missed.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Although Beal was shut down for the rest of the season due to a rotator cuff injury, Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said this week that he doesn’t think surgery “is an option at all” for the All-Star guard. Rest and a longer training camp period should have Beal ready to go for 2020/21, according to Sheppard. “I think if we had another month of ramp-up time, Bradley would probably be ready to play,” Sheppard said, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “These are eight games vs. 82 next season and all the seasons beyond that. I think it’s worth mitigating the risk right now for what’s ahead.”
  • In a separate story for NBC Sports Washington, Hughes contends that Beal’s performance this season showed that we still don’t know exactly what his ceiling is.
  • With Beal, Davis Bertans, and John Wall not participating in the summer restart, a handful of younger Wizards will get a chance to take on larger roles, according to Jackson Filyo of WashingtonWizards.com, who points to Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, Moritz Wagner, and Jerome Robinson as players who could step up. “I’m so excited for this opportunity,” Hachimura said, per Hughes. “I think we have a chance to make the playoffs.”

Bradley Beal Won’t Play In NBA Restart

Wizards star Bradley Beal won’t participate in the NBA’s restart this summer due to a right rotator cuff injury, the team announced today in a press release. According to the Wizards, the decision was made in “full consultation” with Wizards doctors, Beal, and the guard’s representatives.

“Bradley did everything possible to be ready to play, but after closely monitoring his individual workouts we came to the conclusion that it was best for him to sit out the upcoming games in Orlando and avoid the risk of further injury,” Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard said in a statement.

“Although he was able to play through the majority of the season with the injury, the layoff from March until now did not leave any of us feeling comfortable that he would have enough time to be ready to perform at the extremely high level we are all accustomed to seeing and agreed that not participating in the games in Orlando was the right decision.”

The Wizards’ announcement indicates that Beal first experienced discomfort in his right shoulder early in the 2019/20 season and managed the issue throughout the year before it worsened during the hiatus. He won’t travel with the team to Orlando as he continues his rehab process through the summer.

Since today’s announcement suggests Beal is being ruled out of the restart due to an injury rather than voluntarily opting out, he presumably won’t have to forfeit his remaining salary for 2019/20. It also means Washington won’t be able to sign a substitute player to replace him on the roster.

Previously, the Wizards signed Jerian Grant to replace Davis Bertans, who chose to opt out of the restart due to his upcoming free agency and a history of ACL injuries. However, players who are sidelined due to injuries aren’t eligible to be replaced by a substitute player. That applies not only to Beal but to fellow All-Star guard John Wall, who continues to recover from his Achilles tear.

While the 24-40 Wizards still technically have a shot at the postseason this summer, they’re 5.5 games back of Orlando and six games back of Brooklyn. They’d have to make up at least two games on one of those teams to force a play-in tournament, then win two consecutive games against the Magic or Nets to earn the No. 8 seed. That seems like a long shot without Beal, Wall, or Bertans available, and it seems clear the club is focusing more on 2020/21 than this season.

“This was a difficult decision and one that I did not take lightly as the leader of this team,” Beal said today in a statement of his own. “I wanted to help my teammates compete for a playoff spot in Orlando, but also understand that this will be best for all of us in the long term. I appreciate the support of my teammates, the fans and the entire organization and look forward to returning next season to continue the progress we have made.”

The Wizards’ eight seeding games in Orlando will be against the Suns, Nets, Pacers, Sixers, Pelicans, Thunder, Bucks, and Celtics. Each of those teams figures to be more heavily favored against Washington now that Beal is out of the picture.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Wizards Notes: Beal, Grant, Hachimura, Go-Go

Wizards guard Bradley Beal still hasn’t finalized a decision on whether or not he’ll participate in the NBA’s restart, but head coach Scott Brooks said today that Beal is expected to join the club on its flight to Florida this week, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes.

Beal said last week that he remains undecided about whether he’ll play this summer, expressing some concerns about the shortened ramp-up period and the possible injury risk. Brooks, who said there’s no specific timeline for Beal’s decision, said today that his All-Star guard is looking “great” in workouts.

“His physical condition has been pretty good and continues to improve every day along with our other guys,” Brooks said, per Youngmisuk. “We are all getting tested every day and as of right now he’s a go and we are all going down there ready to compete and get better and play to get in a playoff position. He looks great.”

The Wizards, who are 5.5 games out of the last playoff spot in the East, will be without All-Star point guard John Wall and sharpshooter Davis Bertans during the restart — Wall continues to rehab his Achilles injury, while Bertans opted out due to his impending free agency and his ACL injury history.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Jerian Grant, who replaced Bertans on the Wizards’ summer roster as a substitute player, called it a “dream come true” to join his hometown team, as Jackson Filyo of WashingtonWizards.com details. Grant, who grew up in the D.C. area, worked as a ball boy for the franchise as a kid, and his father Harvey Grant played for the then-Bullets from 1988-93.
  • Rui Hachimura, who would be preparing to represent Japan in the Tokyo Olympics this summer if not for the coronavirus, remains hopeful that he’ll be able to play for his home country in 2021, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I’m honestly so sad about it. We can’t do anything about it,” Hachimura said of the postponement, adding that he has been looking forward to the event for years. “Of course, I would like to play in the Olympics. Next year, we’ll see how things go.”
  • Pops Mensah-Bonsu, the general manager of the Capital City Go-Go, won’t return to the Wizards’ G League affiliate for the 2020/21 season, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “I wanted to pursue some other things at this moment in time,” Mensah-Bonsu said. The remainder of the 2019/20 NBAGL season was canceled and it’s unclear when next season will start — that uncertainty played a part in Mensah-Bonsu’s decision, per Buckner.

Lou Williams Expected To Play In Restart; Beal Still Undecided

Seven players so far have opted out of the NBA’s restart this summer, but Clippers guard Lou Williams is unlikely to join that group. Despite previously expressing uncertainty about his status, Williams is expected to suit up for the Clippers as they pursue a title at Walt Disney World, head coach Doc Rivers said on Wednesday.

“As far as Lou, all indications (are) that yes, he is (playing),” Rivers said on a Zoom call, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. “Obviously, up until we get on the plane, anything can happen. But I do expect Lou to be with us. I would be very surprised if he’s not.”

Meanwhile, another high-scoring guard, Bradley Beal, remains uncertain about his status for Orlando, as Youngmisuk writes in a separate story. Beal’s teammate Davis Bertans has already pulled out due to injury concerns ahead of his upcoming free agency. Beal’s backcourt mate and fellow All-Star John Wall won’t be in attendance either, as he continues to focus on his Achilles rehab and a 2020/21 return.

According to Youngmisuk, Beal is considering health factors too as he weighs his options.

“I have yet to make (my decision),” Beal told reporters on Wednesday. “I am still working my tail off every single day as if I am playing. It is more or less a decision that will come down to the medical staff and coming back from zero to 100, and then I have some nagging stuff from the end of the year that we are trying to clean up, too. We are looking at it from all angles. I am definitely working out every single day here. It is good to be back in the facility. … I am not swayed one way or another.”

Here’s more on certain players’ participation decisions:

Southeast Notes: Iguodala, Beal, Magic, Hornets

Andre Iguodala turned 36 years old in January, but that didn’t stop him and the Heat from agreeing to a contract extension when he was dealt to Miami at the February trade deadline. Speaking to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, Iguodala said that the new deal, which provides a $15MM guarantee for 2020/21 and a $15MM team option for ’21/22, was something both sides pushed for at the time of the trade.

“Both sides knew the window we have — my window and the team’s window,” the Heat forward said. “We all know about when teams want cap space. It’s hard to get acclimated with a group of guys in two months. The locker room is a special place. I wanted to be somewhere where I could grow with the guys, a lot of the young talent that I have a good impression of, help them grow, especially Bam (Adebayo), Kendrick Nunn, Tyler (Herro) and Duncan (Robinson). I didn’t want it to be a two-, three-month thing.”

As Jackson points out, the Heat hadn’t expected to be a major player on the 2020 free agent market, so adding $15MM for Iguodala to next season’s books shouldn’t hurt the team. And in the 2021 offseason, the $15MM team option can be turned down with no penalty if the club needs to create cap room.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • General manager Tommy Sheppard said this week that the Wizards will be “very protective” of star guard Bradley Beal during the NBA’s restart, but there’s no indication Beal won’t play as the team pushes for the final playoff spot in the East, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.
  • Magic head coach Steve Clifford still isn’t committing one way or the other on whether Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu will be available this summer, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link). Asked today about the two injured forwards, Clifford replied, “They’re both in here working every day. … I just think it’s really early to try to make an intelligent decision on anything like that.”
  • Joe Wolf, who has been the head coach of the Hornets‘ G League affiliate for the last two seasons, won’t have his contract with the Greensboro Swarm extended, the club announced today in a press release.

Eastern Notes: Beal, Heat, Raptors, Dolan

Wizards star Bradley Beal is in the midst of a career-best season with the team, one that he’s confident can be sustained when the NBA returns in Orlando later this summer, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes.

Beal, who turns 27 later this month, averaged 30.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game this season. He shot 46% from the floor and 35% from downtown in 57 games, leading a depleted Wizards team throughout the campaign.

“I feel like something else clicked for me,” Beal said of this season, as relayed by Katz. “I honestly changed my way of thinking in the game. Playing the game, I was honestly just more aggressive. I just had the mindset that I’m the best player on the floor, and I’m gonna go showcase that.”

Washington dealt with various injuries this season and played without All-Star point guard John Wall, with Beal emerging as a much-needed leader throughout the year. The team is currently 5.5 games behind the No. 8 seed Magic and six games behind the No. 7 seed Nets for a potential playoff spot.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • Heat coach Erik Spoelstra could be facing a difficult roster decision as the team prepares for the league’s restart in Orlando, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes in his latest mailbag. Barring an unforeseen change, Miami must choose 13 active players from its notably deep roster, a decision that could leave veterans such as Udonis Haslem inactive entering the postseason.
  • The championship feeling is still lingering for the Raptors, who won their first NBA title one year ago, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. The team still has several key players from its title run, including Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. Toronto hopes to use that championship experience to their advantage during the resumed season this summer.
  • Knicks owner James Dolan‘s image has yet to change under brand consultant Steve Stoute, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Dolan was most recently criticized for a delayed statement on racial injustice problems in America, with the Knicks being the last team in the league to release a statement on the topic.