Bradley Beal

How All-NBA Choices Could Impact Contract Situations

Last month, we outlined how the Anthony Davis saga in New Orleans could significantly impact what Karl-Anthony Towns next contract looks like.

Towns’ new extension, signed last fall, will start at 30% of the cap if he earns All-NBA honors in 2019, as opposed to 25% of the cap if he misses out on an All-NBA slot. With Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid expected to claim two All-NBA center spots, Towns is in position to grab the third, in part due to Davis’ trade request — not only will AD’s role in the Pelicans’ dysfunction be considered, but he’s playing limited minutes down the stretch while Towns puts up some of the best numbers of his career.

Assuming Towns does earn an All-NBA nod, it’ll be a $30MM+ decision by award voters, bumping the projected value of his five-year deal from about $158MM to nearly $190MM. However, KAT isn’t the only player who could have his contract situation significantly impacted by this year’s All-NBA selections.

As Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com and Andrew Sharp of SI.com have detailed this week, there’s a lot at stake for a handful of players who are candidates for this year’s All-NBA teams. Let’s break it down, taking a closer look at some players who could become eligible for a super-max contract this year…

The All-NBA locks:

While there’s some debate over which six guards will get All-NBA nods, Lillard looks like a slam dunk for a spot on the first or second team — Lillard, Stephen Curry and James Harden appear to be the strongest candidates for the two guard spots on that first team.

Assuming he does, in fact, earn All-NBA honors, Lillard will become eligible for a Designated Veteran Extension. His current contract runs through 2020/21, with no options, so he’d be eligible to tack on four extra years to that deal, starting in 2021/22.

For now, i’s impossible to say exactly what the NBA’s salary cap will be in 2021/22, but based on projections for ’19/20 ($109MM) and ’20/21 ($118MM), we can safely assume a max deal for Lillard starting in ’21/22 will be worth a lot more than it would be now. Conservatively, estimating a $120MM cap, Lillard’s super-max extension would start at $42MM and would be worth $188MM+ over four years.

With Lillard in position to gain eligibility for a super-max extension, the big question in Portland this summer could be whether the Trail Blazers will actually put that offer on the table. There have been no indications that either Lillard or the Blazers wants to end their union, but the club might be wary of offering such a massive deal to a player who will be 31 years old when the four-year deal begins — that decision hasn’t worked out well for the Wizards with John Wall.

As for Antetokounmpo, he’s on track to become eligible for a Designated Veteran Extension too, and that decision figures to be a much easier one for the Bucks. However, Milwaukee won’t be able to actually put that super-max offer on the table until the 2020 offseason, once Giannis has seven years of NBA experience under his belt.

The All-NBA guard contenders:

Read more

Southeast Notes: Portis, Walker, Briscoe, Vucevic

The Wizards and Bobby Portis will decide this summer if they want their relationship to be long-term, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Acquired from the Bulls at the trade deadline, the 24-year-old power forward will be a restricted free agent in July. Portis is posting career highs with 15.3 PPG and 8.9 RPG in his nine games with Washington and is enjoying his new surroundings.

“Everything is pretty good, man. I like being a Wizard. I love being here,” he said. “I think this is a good fit for me through and through.”

However, Portis’ return next season isn’t a sure thing. Thomas Bryant will also be a restricted free agent, and Hughes doesn’t expect the front office to invest heavily in both. Washington will also have decisions to make on free agents Trevor Ariza, Wesley Johnson and Jeff Green, who will all be unrestricted.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Even if the Hornets can re-sign star guard Kemba Walker, there’s no guarantee they can ever surround him with enough talent to become a contender, observes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. GM Mitch Kupchak made inquiries about Bradley Beal, Marc Gasol and Harrison Barnes prior to the trade deadline, but wasn’t able to acquire any of them. Bonnell notes that if Charlotte commits about $200MM to Walker over the next five years, it will become tougher than ever for the team to add a second star.
  • Isaiah Briscoe‘s journey to the NBA took a detour through Estonia, but that experience has given him a toughness that benefits the Magic, writes John Denton of NBA.com. Briscoe was passed over in the 2017 draft and had to spend a year in Europe before receiving an NBA opportunity. “Isaiah is a tough-minded kid, undrafted and went overseas to get to the league, so he has a chip on his shoulder, and he has that mindset,’’ said teammate D.J. Augustin. “He’s a big, physical body for a point guard and he uses it out there well.’’
  • Magic center Nikola Vucevic hasn’t decided if World Cup basketball will be part of his summer plans, he said in an interview with TrendBasket (translated by Sportando). Vucevic indicated that Orlando’s postseason fate could determine whether he suits up for Montenegro. “I have not decided yet,” he said. “First we have to finish the season where we are trying to make the playoffs. We are focused on making the playoffs now. I will be free agent when the season ends. I am going to be busy for a while. I hope my situation will be clearer in July.”

Southeast Notes: Heat, Olynyk, Beal, Walker

Trading Wayne Ellington and Tyler Johnson has led to a more coherent rotation for the Heat and the players appreciate that stability, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. The team was overloaded at the guard and small forward positions before the logjam was broken. “It’s calming knowing you’re going to play X amount of minutes every night,” Josh Richardson said. “We love those guys [but] before, it was different. Now the guard rotation is thinned a little bit so we can play through stuff a little more now instead of it being the other way around.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat big man Kelly Olynyk will likely lose the $1MM bonus in his contract because he’s not on pace to reach 1,700 minutes. However, Olynyk is not fretting over it, according to Jackson. “It’s not something you can control,” Olynyk said.
  • Wizards guard Bradley Beal took some time during All-Star weekend to do some recruiting, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington reports. Beal wouldn’t name the players he spoke with because he wanted to avoid any league discipline. “The recruiting process is really going alright. It’s going alright. I’m trying,” Beal said. “This is new for me. I’m definitely getting some ears and seeing what guys are looking for.”
  • Beal declared he would never demand a trade from the Wizards despite injuries and deals that have changed the outlook of a once promising season, Hughes writes in a separate story. “I always feel like if I requested a trade, and I didn’t get traded, there’s no way in hell I’m gonna be able to go and play with my teammates who know I don’t want to be here. That’s mind-boggling to me,” he told Hughes.
  • Kemba Walker dropped a hint during All-Star weekend that he’ll stay in Charlotte if the money’s right, according to Shaun Powell of NBA.com. The Hornets point guard, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, says the thought of playing in the same place throughout his career holds a lot of appeal to him. “There’s something to be said for being on a team for your whole career,” he said. “Not many players have done that. Only a select few. That’s a goal to accomplish.”

Bradley Beal Hopes To Retire With Wizards

Coming out of last week’s trade deadline, the Wizards had been one of the league’s more active teams. In salary shedding moves, the team had parted ways with Otto Porter and Markieff Morriswhich signaled a restart of sorts in Washington.

Among the players left, Bradley Beal is the centerpiece of the Wizards’ core. The 25-year-old is in Charlotte this week, partaking in All-Star week festivities for the second straight season. Beal, who signed a five-year, $127MM deal with Washington in July 2016, is committed to the organization despite their recent trades and 24-34 record entering the break.

“If I can retire in this jersey, I will. I’m all about loyalty,” Beal said during a Q&A session earlier this week, per Fred Katz of The Athletic (subscription required).

Katz noted that in a post-trade deadline meeting with Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, Beal did not echo that exact sentiment. However, Beal and Leonsis mutually agreed that Beal is a focal point of Washington’s future.

“You do emphasize the fact that this is home. This has been home for me for seven years. He knows that. Ted knows me. Everybody knows me,” Beal said. “I’m gonna be committed until I’m not, until I’m moved. That’s just my mindset. I’m gonna continue to lead and continue to do what I possibly can to help get us to that.”

Statistically, Beal is in the midst of his best season to date. Through 58 games, Beal is averaging career-bests in PPG (25.1), APG (5.4), RPG (5.1) and minutes (37.2). Also, despite the Wizards’ inconsistent play, the team is just three games back of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

In an overall assessment of the current NBA, Beal said, “I hate super teams.” The Warriors are the gold standard of that phrase, boasting a lineup of five perennial All-Stars. However, the two-time All-Star said that the Wizards can be a competitive force in the league without a chorus of superstars spread across the roster.

“I’m a firm believer that no matter who we have — I think I can do it with anybody. I feel like it’s possible with anybody as long as you have that work ethic and that dedication to get to that level,” Beal said. “But it’s not gonna be easy. It’d be naive to say that. I’d be naive to say it’s been a great year. But it’s definitely been one that I’ve embraced and learned a lot throughout the course, too. Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”

Southeast Notes: Dragic, Ariza, Fultz, Beal

The Heat have dealt with rotation issues all season and they’ll have another dilemma when they return from the All-Star break. Point guard Goran Dragic is expected to return after recovering from arthroscopic surgery to his right knee. That will impact Justise Winslow, whose role as a playmaker and ballhandler has expanded in Dragic’s absence. Winslow enjoys playing with Dragic but doesn’t want to lose his starting spot.

“I’m going to think about that and let my curiosity go crazy during the All-Star break,” Winslow told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “That’s something that is out of my control. I can say what I would want, but it’s up to the coaches and I am ready to execute whatever role they give me.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Trevor Ariza was glad he was traded to the Wizards because of his familiarity with the organization and some of their players, Kimberly Cataudella of NBC Sports Washington relays. Ariza even implied he had some input on the trade made with the Suns, with whom he signed a one-year contract last summer. “If I [were] to leave [Phoenix], for me, it would be home or a place that I’m familiar with, and the opportunity came to come to Washington, and I chose Washington over everything,” he said. Ariza is averaging 15.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 4.3 APG in 28 starts since the trade.
  • Not only do the Magic have big plans for Markelle Fultz, they’re already envisioning what he could do for them if they reach the postseason in upcoming years, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel reports. The No. pick in the 2017 draft was dealt by Philadelphia to Orlando earlier this month. “Watching film of him in Philly and then also of him in college … I’m not sure there’s an aspect of the game he can’t excel at,” coach Steve Clifford said. “Particularly in playoff series, you’ve got to have guys that can play both ways.”
  • Wizards guard Bradley Beal may have irritated some Celtics and Sixers fans with a comment he made during an All-Star event, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington tweets. Asked which team he believed would win the Eastern Conference championship, Beal replied: “I think it’s going to be Toronto or Milwaukee.”

LeBron, Giannis Draft 2019 All-Star Teams

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo drafted their teams for the 2019 All-Star Game on Thursday, officially finalizing the rosters for this year’s contest. James and Antetokounmpo were chosen as captains because they were the All-Star starter from each conference with the most fan votes.

Both James and Antetokounmpo first had to select from a pool of starters, then from a list of reserve players. The starters, which consisted of eight other players, were voted on by the fans, players and media this season. The reserve players were voted on by the NBA’s 30 head coaches.

James drafted Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and James Harden as starters, choosing Durant as his first selection. His reserves were Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Karl-Anthony Towns, Bradley Beal and Dwyane Wade.

Antetokounmpo drafted Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Paul George and Kemba Walker as his starters, selecting Curry with his first pick. He drafted Khris Middleton, Nikola Jokic, Ben Simmons, Blake Griffin, D’Angelo Russell, Nikola Vucevic, Kyle Lowry and Dirk Nowitzki as his reserves.

James later traded Westbrook to Team Giannis in exchange for Simmons, making an effort to repair the relationship of Westbrook and Embiid.

The 68th NBA All-Star Game is set to commence on February 17 at Spectrum Center, featuring 26 of the best basketball players in the world.

Wizards Notes: Beal, Ariza, Conley, Gasol

It was a busy night for the Wizards, who officially completed a trade that sent Otto Porter to the Bulls for Jabari Parker, Bobby Portis and a future second-round pick, then later finalized a deal to move Markieff Morris and a second-rounder to the Pelicans for Wesley Johnson.

While the pair of moves won’t necessarily make Washington a better team on the court, the financial implications are significant. The Wizards have now slipped below the luxury tax line for the 2018/19 season, which will help them avoid the repeater tax going forward.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes (via Twitter), the Wizards have now saved $18.3MM toward the tax since the start of the season, sneaking just $232K below the threshold with today’s Portis and Morris deals.

Here’s more out of D.C.:

  • After tonight’s trade of Porter to Chicago, the Wizards’ future now lies in the hands of Bradley Beal, writes David Aldridge of The Athletic. He suggests that owner Ted Leonsis should meet with Beal soon to find out how committed he is to the team’s future. Regardless of the answer, it will provide a road map for which moves need to be made next.
  • For what it’s worth, the Wizards have no intention of moving Beal this week, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Aldridge argues (via Twitter) that there’s no point in the Wizards hanging onto Trevor Ariza and Jeff Green – a pair of veterans on expiring contracts – for the rest of the season. However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that there’s mutual interest between Ariza and the Wizards in extending their relationship beyond this season. That should be easier financially for the club now that Porter is off the books.
  • Today’s trade with the Bulls came together quickly, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Sources tell her that trade talks between Washington and Chicago didn’t start until today. In a full story for The Post, Buckner explores how the trade of Porter – and the subsequent trade of Morris – shook up the Wizards’ locker room.
  • Before word of the Wizards’ second trade broke today, Buckner reported (via Twitter) that the team has inquired on Grizzlies trade candidates Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. It’s hard to envision Washington making a move for either player at this point.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Deveney’s Latest: Wizards, Sixers, Fultz, Morris

After sharing some trade-related notes on the Trail Blazers, Dario Saric, and Wesley Matthews on Monday, Sean Deveney of Sporting News is back with another handful of trade rumors today. Let’s dive right in and round up the highlights…

  • Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said last week that there are no plans to trade John Wall, Bradley Beal, or Otto Porter at this year’s deadline, and rival executives have heard the same thing in discussions with Washington, writes Deveney. “They’re not budging,” one exec said of the Wizards. “Maybe they’d deal Porter, but they want a star-type player back, and that’s not happening.”
  • The Sixers aren’t yet ready to move on from Markelle Fultz, sources tell Deveney. Fultz is still 20 years old and his value has cratered, so Philadelphia will hold out hope that he can rebuild that value. However, that stance could change in the offseason if the team views Fultz as a key trade chip to acquire important role players.
  • The Sixers have been “very active” on the trade market as they seek depth, but would be content to go the buyout route if necessary, after having success there a year ago, says Deveney.
  • Celtics forward Marcus Morris isn’t a trade candidate, given how important he has been in Boston this season. “I would hate to think where they’d be without Morris,” one scout told Deveney. “All the stuff that’s gone on, at least on the floor, he kind of holds it together for them.”
  • Morris will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and executives around the NBA predict that he’ll command a starting salary in the $11-12MM range, according to Deveney. “Two years makes sense, but maybe a third year on an option,” said one GM. Deveney names the Kings, Jazz, and Pacers as teams that could have interest in the Celtics forward during the offseason.

Leonsis: Wizards Not Trading Wall, Beal, Porter At Deadline

The Wizards have been below .500 and on the outside of the Eastern playoff picture all season, leading to speculation that the team may shop highly-paid veterans like John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter. Asked today during a Q&A with WTOP in Washington about that possibility, however, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis dismissed the idea of a huge pre-deadline deal.

“We’re not trading any of those players,” Leonsis said of his Big Three, per Noah Frank of WTOP (Twitter link).

It’s the second major declaration this month by Leonsis, who said two weeks ago that the Wizards will “never, ever tank.” It was clear at that point that Washington planned to hang onto Beal, who has been leading the charge to get the team back into playoff position. Recent reports have indicated that the Wizards may be more open to the idea of moving Porter, but Leonsis’ comments today seem to suggest that’s not in the cards this season.

As for Wall, he’ll be sidelined for the rest of the 2018/19 campaign with a heel injury and is owed approximately $170MM over the next four years, so he has always been considered an unlikely trade candidate.

Of course, even though the Wizards don’t intend to move one of their most expensive players, that doesn’t mean they’ll stand pat at the deadline. Leonsis suggested today that the club could look to add around the edges within the next week, Frank tweets. The Wizards’ owner also noted that he views Washington’s 2019 first-round pick as a way to improve the roster for next season, adding, “I wouldn’t throw in the towel on this core.”

Leonsis avoided directly addressing the future of general manager Ernie Grunfeld, but it seems safe to assume that he’ll re-evaluate the management group if the Wizards end up in the lottery. When asked if he was happy with Grunfeld, Leonsis replied that he’s happy if the club meets its goals (Twitter link via Frank). For now, the goal is a playoff spot.

Charania’s Latest: Wizards, Hornets, Grizzlies, DSJ

As Shams Charania of The Athletic details in his latest round-up of trade rumors from around the NBA, there still aren’t many clear-cut sellers out there, which may limit activity leading up to the February 7 deadline. However, clubs like the Wizards and Magic still haven’t made any decisions one way or the other and could end up being sellers if they’re trending downward a couple weeks from now, says Charania.

The Wizards have made it “adamantly clear” the Bradley Beal isn’t going anywhere, league sources tell Charania. Otto Porter could be more available though, according to Charania, who hears that the Jazz are among the clubs to show interest in Porter.

The Hornets are another team competing for one of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spots and – like the Wizards – have made it clear that they don’t intend to move their star guard. Nonetheless, teams have tested the Hornets on Kemba Walker, says Charania, citing sources who say that the Mavericks recently inquired on Walker and were told Charlotte wants to keep him.

Charania’s article includes many more rumors on the trade market, so let’s round up some of the highlights…

  • Despite indicating they’re willing to listen to inquiries on Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, Grizzlies officials told players on Tuesday that the team remains committed to winning and to tune out any trade noise, writes Charania. Elsewhere on the Memphis front, JaMychal Green is expected to attract significant trade interest and the Grizzlies have attempted to engage the Hawks about a Chandler Parsons deal, Charania reports.
  • Charania adds the Knicks and Lakers to the list of teams that discussed a possible Dennis Smith Jr. trade with the Mavericks. The Magic are also on that list.
  • In addition to discussing deals involving veterans like Kent Bazemore and Dewayne Dedmon, the Hawks may also consider moving younger players such as Taurean Prince and Tyler Dorsey, says Charania.
  • According to Charania, the Thunder plan to explore ways to use their traded player exception, which is worth nearly $11MM. Oklahoma City is reportedly seeking a forward who can shoot, though acquiring a player without sending out any salary would increase the club’s tax bill exponentially.
  • The Sixers are seeking a wing shooter and a center, sources tell Charania.
  • Cavaliers swingman Rodney Hood has emerged as a “targeted” trade asset, according to Charania, who identifies the Pelicans, Thunder, and Bucks as some of the teams that have scoured the market for wing help.