Bradley Beal

John Wall Declares Himself “110” Percent Healthy

Wizards guard John Wall hasn’t played in a game since December of 2018, but the former No. 1 overall pick has declared himself “110 percent” healthy, as he told local media, including Hoops Rumors, via a Zoom conference call today.

“I’m itching to get back out there,” said Wall (as I relayed on Twitter). The 29-year-old added that he’s still taking his time with rehab and getting himself into the “best possible shape.”

Wall, who launched a rent-assistance foundation which will help those impacted by COVID-19 in Southeast D.C., won’t return to the court this year regardless of how the league returns from hiatus. It’s not certain that he would even travel with the Wizards to Orlando if the team is invited to join a campus-like bubble at Walt Disney World. The five-time All-Star believes that the league will return in a safe-manner and if that can’t be assured, they will “stop the season and prepare for next year.”

Wall underwent surgery on his heel back in the 2018/19 season. He was expected to come back at some point during that campaign. However, he slipped and fell in February of 2019 while recovering and he ruptured his Achilles, which forced him to go under the knife yet again.

Things will be different from an on-court perspective once the nine-year veteran returns next season. The Wizards have gotten younger and running mate Bradley Beal has turned into a more complete star after being given the opportunity to run the show.

“I’m just focused on getting back out there and watching how Brad has developed, how our team has developed,” Wall said. “We have made changes in the organization to prepare ourselves for next season and see what we can do.”

Wall has three years left on his contract after this season, including a $47.37MM player option for the 2022/23 campaign. Beal’s deal runs concurrently with Wall’s and includes a player option for that same season. Washington remains committed to the Wall-Beal combo as the future of the franchise.

Wizards Notes: Beal, Wagner, Bonga, Stewart

Bradley Beal‘s agent is downplaying a report that the Nets have had “internal discussions” about trading for the star guard, writes Adam Zagoria of Forbes.

“There are no Beal sweepstakes and that’s why he re-signed with the Wizards,” Mark Bartelstein said. “Brad re-signed with the Wizards because he wanted to stay in Washington and the Wizards wanted to keep him there.”

Beal agreed to a two-year extension in October that will keep him under contract through the end of the 2021/22 season. It also includes a $37.26MM player option for 2022/23.

There’s more from Washington, D.C.:

  • Fred Katz of The Athletic looks back at 10 storylines he set for the team during preseason to see how they panned out. Among his findings are that former Lakers Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga have both been valuable additions, Thomas Bryant has been slowed by injuries and still hasn’t developed into a rim protector, Troy Brown has improved as a ballhandler and shooter and coach Scott Brooks appears more likely than ever to make it to the end of his contract next season. Katz believes the team’s most significant decisions were to hold onto Beal and impending free agent Davis Bertans.
  • Chase Hughes of NBC Sports continues his look at potential Wizards draft picks with University of Washington power forward/center Isaiah Stewart. Hughes believes Stewart could be an effective back-up big man behind Bryant and Rui Hachimura, but he doesn’t have the athleticism or enough of a complete game to justify being taken with a top-10 pick.
  • Playing five more regular season games, which has been suggested in some circles, probably wouldn’t be enough to give the Wizards a shot at the playoffs, Hughes tweets. At 24-40, Washington was in ninth place when the hiatus began, five-and-a-half games out of the eighth spot.

Nets Have Internally Discussed Pursuing Bradley Beal

With Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant locked into long-term deals, the Nets may be in the market for a third star and have internally discussed potential avenues of acquiring Wizards guard Bradley Beal, reports Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

The fact that these conversations have only happened “internally” is an important detail, since it’s unlikely the Wizards would actually engage in any trade discussions for Beal at this point. He signed a two-year contract extension last fall and there have been no indications that he wants to leave D.C., even as the club appears set to miss the playoffs again in 2019/20. The 26-year-old spoke in March about wanting to finish his career with the franchise.

Additionally, even before Beal extended his contract with Washington, new general manager Tommy Sheppard talked repeatedly about having no desire to consider trading the star shooting guard. Now that Beal is locked up through at least 2021/22, that stance is unlikely to change this offseason.

Still, in the event that anything does change for the Wizards and Beal, Brooklyn is worth monitoring as a possible trade partner, given the team’s cache of intriguing assets. In addition to possessing all of their own first-round picks starting in 2021, the Nets could make productive players like Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Jarrett Allen available if it means adding another star. They should be well equipped to make a run at any impact player who might hit the trade market in the coming months, even if that player isn’t Beal.

With John Wall out for the season, Beal enjoyed the most productive year of his career in 2019/20, averaging 30.5 PPG, 6.1 APG, and 4.2 RPG in 57 games (36.0 MPG). Wall is expected to be ready to go for the start of the ’20/21 campaign, increasing the likelihood that the Wizards will push for a return to the postseason next year rather than breaking up their star backcourt.

John Wall Discusses Comeback, Bradley Beal

Appearing with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes on their “All The Smoke” podcast, Wizards guard John Wall vowed to return to the court better than ever and addressed rumors of a long-running feud with Bradley Beal, relays Jack Maloney of CBS Sports.

Wall hasn’t played since December of 2018 because of a ruptured Achilles. He’s not expected to return this season no matter when it resumes, but he told the hosts he’s keeping track of what’s been happening on the court and is ready to exact revenge in 2020/21.

“When I’m not playing, I’m watching these guys play,” Wall said. “Like these young guys, they killing our team and they looking at our bench and stuff. Just know I got those written down in my notes for when I come back when they start next season. I can’t wait to (show) them what I got, what I’m about. But I’m gonna be better than what I was before, and that’s the scary part. Damn near the whole five years I was an All-Star I played with two bone spurs in my knee and my heel. People don’t know that. They ain’t even get the best of John Wall yet, they just got a clip of him.”

Speaking about his backcourt partner, Wall said any tension with Beal stemmed from their shared desire to be the team leader. They’ve both put up impressive numbers during their eight years as teammates, but they haven’t been able to lift the Wizards into title contention.

Still, their partnership seems likely to continue. Beal signed an extension in October that will keep him in Washington through at least the 2021/22 season, while Wall is under contract for two more years with a $47,366,760 player option for 2022/23 that he seems certain to pick up.

“We both want to be stars. We both want to take the game-winning shots … But at the end of the day, they always say, ‘Well, they don’t like each other. They downgrading each other.'” Wall said. “Ain’t no John Wall without Bradley Beal. Ain’t no Bradley Beal without John Wall. We make each other better. We accommodate each other so well on the court and it works easy for us.”

Southeast Notes: Waiters, Capela, Hornets, Beal

After declining to comment on it earlier in the season, former Heat guard Dion Waiters has published a Players’ Tribune article in which he addresses the incident on the team flight in November that led to a 10-game suspension. Waiters reportedly experienced a medical episode on the flight after consuming a “gummy,” an edible form of marijuana.

In his Players’ Tribune piece, Waiters took responsibility for the incident, calling it “idiotic” on his part.

“What’s crazy is, my whole life I been a leader. I’m not a follower,” Waiters wrote. “(Heat president) Pat (Riley) knows me. He knows I don’t do drugs. But sometimes when you’re going through dark times, you can fall trap to things you’d never do in your right mind.”

While Waiters took responsibility for what did happen on the flight, he adamantly denied one detail that showed up in some reports following the incident.

“I never had a seizure,” Waiters said. “Ask the doctors. Ask my Heat teammates. They can speak on it. For that b.s. to come out, it ain’t right. I made a mistake, but for someone to leak that, and for my family to hear it? S–t. It ain’t right.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • In a conversation with Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, Hawks center Clint Capela spoke about the experience of being traded, his expectations for next season, and his foot issues — the big man said he’s feeling healthier, but is still unsure if he’ll play if the season resumes in June or July. Capela also expressed optimism about his fit alongside John Collins: “I think we’re going to do well. I think we’re good enough to really figure out how to be efficient at what we do. He can shoot 3s and do other stuff. I think we can figure this out.”
  • Roderick Boone and John Hollinger of The Athletic take an in-depth look at the Hornets‘ future, with Hollinger suggesting that the team missed a chance to kickstart its rebuild by not trading Kemba Walker before he reached free agency. While there are fewer impediments on their cap than there were a year ago, Hollinger thinks the Hornets may still be a lottery team for a few more seasons.
  • Bradley Beal wasn’t always a vocal leader for the Wizards, but he has turned into one in recent years. Fred Katz of The Athletic explores how that happened.

Rui Hachimura Talks Beal’s Mentorship, Carmelo’s Influence On His Game

The atmosphere in Washington this past season fostered growth. Veterans assisted young players on and off the court and rookie Rui Hachimura was recently asked which player on the Wizards was the best mentor for him. The rookie singled out Bradley Beal, as I relayed on Heavy.com.

“There’s a lot, but obviously Brad is a guy I’m always looking at,” Hachimura said. “I talk to him about basketball and off the court, everything. He’s a great leader of the team. I think it’s good to see, even at practice, I can watch him and how hard he works…He’s not much of a talking guy. He shows. Whatever he’s doing, I can see…He’s the guy I always look at.” 

Hachimura was also asked about which player inspired his game when he first got into basketball.

“I watched a lot of Carmelo Anthony,” Hachimura said. “He was my guy when I started playing basketball. I watched his footsteps and his pull-up shot. That why I think I have a pull-up now, because I watched him a lot. He’s obviously a big guy, 6’8” and a power forward or small forward. I watched him a lot when I was a kid…He was one of the (hardest players to guard all season).” 

Hachimura added that he isn’t letting this time off go to waste, just as he didn’t when he missed 23 games with a groin injury early in the season. As he did then, the first-year forward is using his time off the court to watch film in order to grow as a player.

Wizards Notes: Sheppard, Beal, Hachimura, Bertans

The Wizards may be in position to gamble in this year’s draft, general manager Tommy Sheppard said in a Q&A session on the team’s Twitter account (hat tip to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington). Last year, Washington used its first pick on Rui Hachimura, who was ready to contribute right away, but Sheppard believes the team can now consider long-term prospects.

“I think when you look at our roster and you see eight players 23 or younger, we can probably take a swing at somebody and they’re not going to have to help us immediately next year. If that player is there, certainly we do that,” Sheppard said.

The Wizards will start their draft process Monday by interviewing college seniors and international prospects. Everything will be different this year because of coronavirus restrictions, which means chatting remotely with potential picks and no in-person workouts. However, Sheppard doesn’t put great value on those individual sessions as the team didn’t work out Hachimura before last year’s draft.

“Workouts are important, but these players have played all season,” Sheppard said. “If we’re going to decide whether to take a player based on one workout, we’re in a lot of trouble. We’ve done our homework.”

There’s more from Washington:

  • Appearing on The Lowe Post podcast with ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Bradley Beal said he considered a lot of positives and negatives before agreeing to a two-year extension last fall. “Ultimately, I felt staying, the positives outweighed leaving,” Beal explained. “The reason being is because I had more control here. I have an organization who basically gave me the keys. We’re gonna build around you, we’re gonna get guys around. If I go anywhere else, granted, it may be a good team, but I would be a piece. Who knows if my role would be the same? My role here, I love what it is.”
  • Beal admits he was among those who laughed on draft night when ESPN’s Chauncey Billups compared Hachimura to Kawhi Leonard, but Beal has become a huge supporter of his rookie teammate. “He’s not Kawhi, but he plays like him,” Beal said. “He has a high ceiling. He’s not really a four. We can really make him into a three. We can make him into a playmaker. He can post up smaller guys. He can guard bigger guys. He’s very versatile in a lot of ways. I love him. He’s a workhorse. I don’t know who he’s really comparable to, because his ceiling’s that high.”
  • Fred Katz of The Athletic examines how expected changes to the salary cap will affect Washington’s chances of re-signing Davis Bertans. The Wizards will have to keep Bertans’ $13.3MM cap hold on their books to retain his Bird rights, so they are expected to operate as an over-the-cap team when the offseason arrives.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Olynyk, Crowder, Herro

One Heat All-Star was impressed with the other following Sunday’s win over Washington, as Jimmy Butler heaped praise on teammate Bam Adebayo, who racked up 27 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists against the Wizards.

“That’s what future max players do,” Butler said of Adebayo, according to Michael Lee of The Athletic. “He’s definitely all of that and more. We’re glad to have him. Glad he’s the leader of this team.”

After acquiring Butler and developing Adebayo, the Heat have more star power on their roster than they did a year ago, but the team will always be on the lookout for more. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bradley Beal are two players who have frequently been cited as potential Miami targets if they become available, but Adebayo said this week that he doesn’t expect to be too involved in trying to recruit either player.

“I don’t want to pressure a man to make his own decision,” Adebayo said when asked specifically about the possibility of recruiting Antetokounmpo. “At the end of the day, when that situation does happen, if he wants to have a conversation with me, then I will have that talk with him. But I’m not going to try to put pressure on a man to make a decision. This is his life. He just had a child. You don’t want to move your child from city to city. It’s bigger than basketball for him at this point and time in his life, because he’s got kids, he’s got family, he’s got brothers. You want everybody to be together and be happy. It’s up to him.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Kelly Olynyk has $1.4MM in bonuses available this season as part of his contract with the Heat — $1MM for playing at least 1,700 minutes and $400K for a Miami playoff berth. The Heat are on the verge of clinching a spot in the postseason, which will earn Olynyk $400K, but at just 1,084 minutes played, he’s unlikely to get the other $1MM, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sentinel.
  • For his part, Olynyk sounds content to earn the lesser bonus. “Financially, the bigger issue would be missing out on the minutes,” he said, per Winderman. “But for way of life and just as a person, I would say definitely make the playoffs and be part of a team that’s winning and having a vision of where it could go and be something special.”
  • After missing the Heat’s game on Sunday, Jae Crowder was cleared from the NBA’s concussion protocol on Tuesday, as Andre Fernandez of The Athletic tweets. Crowder is listed as probable for Wednesday’s game against Charlotte, so he should be back in action tonight after a brief absence.
  • In that same tweet, Fernandez notes that Tyler Herro participated fully in practice on Tuesday, which is a sign he’s nearing a return. Herro, who has been on the shelf for more than a month due to a right ankle injury, is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s contest.

Bradley Beal Says He Wants To Finish Career With Wizards

When Bradley Beal signed a contract extension with the Wizards during the 2019 preseason, he only tacked one guaranteed year onto his previous deal, plus a player option for 2022/23. However, despite not opting for a longer-term contract that would secure his place in Washington for years to come, Beal says he has no plans to leave the Wizards.

“I hate change. If it happens, it happens,” Beal said in a piece for The Undefeated, as told to Marc Spears. “But if I can control it, I will finish in D.C.”

Beal was viewed as a potential trade candidate before he signed his extension last October. That deal took him off the trade market for the 2019/20 season, but there has been ongoing speculation that another losing season in Washington could prompt the star guard to push for a change of scenery within the next year or two. It doesn’t sound – for now at least – as if Beal is thinking about taking that route.

Despite displaying some occasional frustration with the Wizards’ season, Beal told Spears that the idea of sticking with one franchise and someday having his jersey retired appeals to him. Describing himself as “kind of loyal to a fault” and comparing himself to longtime Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Beal pointed out that it would be more rewarding to one day win a title with the Wizards than to jump ship to join a contender, especially since that path wouldn’t guarantee a championship either.

“I can sit here and say, ‘Yeah, I can go to Boston, I can go to Toronto, I can go to Miami’ … I can go everywhere everybody wants me to go,” Beal said. “But what would that look like? It wouldn’t necessarily be my team to where now I’m in a situation in Washington where I’m being built around.

“I know I’m going to have to take these bumps and bruises,” Beal said of the Wizards’ recent struggles. “I knew this last summer. I knew this, hell, the summer maybe even before that. You just got to grind it out, and stand true to who you are.”

Although the Wizards are just 22-39 this season, they rank ninth in the Eastern Conference and are on pace to exceed the win total oddsmakers projected in the preseason. They’ll get point guard John Wall back from his Achilles injury in the fall and may have a little cap flexibility this summer to add players who can complement their backcourt stars.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Young, Beal, Hornets

New veteran Heat forwards Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder continue to settle into their new environs, as David Furones of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes. Iguodala has enjoyed the Heat’s team practice methodology.

“It’s really game-ready type practices,” Iguodala said of working out with the Heat. “I think it’s really going to show in the games once I really get acclimated with everything… It’s really a winning environment and you can see it right away.”

Crowder, too, appreciates the tenor of the Heat’s conduct. “Just the championship mindset,” Crowder relayed about what impressed him during his initial time in Miami. “You always think about the guys playing for it all and I think, being on the outside looking in, that’s what I see.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • All-Star Hawks point guard Trae Young has practically doubled his free-throw output from his rookie season, as Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution relays. Young concedes that this is in due in part to growing respect from league referees now that he is no longer a rookie. But it can also be attributed to conscious adjustments in approach from Young. He is now second in the NBA in made free throws per game at 8.0, behind just James Harden‘s 10.5 made free throws per night.
  • Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal has been struggling with inefficient long-rage shooting this season, per the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner. During the worst three-point shooting season of his career to date, Beal has converted fewer than 20% of his long-range tries in 10 games this season. He is connecting on just 31.6% of his three-point attempts overall.
  • Although the Hornets will have $28MM available in salary cap room this summer, general manager Mitch Kupchak intends to spread that money around across a few young free agent candidates, instead of pursuing a single star, per The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell. “I don’t anticipate us being one of those teams that is in the running for those big free agents,” Kupchak said. The team may trade for a young player or sign a role player still in his prime, like Nets shooting ace Joe Harris.