Bradley Beal

Wizards Notes: Wall, Gortat, Beal, Satoransky

While it has been overshadowed by the drama in Cleveland, there has seemed to be some uneasiness in Washington this season. After a team meeting earlier in the year, multiple Wizards players admitted that the meeting might have had a negative impact on the locker room, which is something we almost never hear.

Now, with John Wall sidelined for several weeks as he recovers from knee surgery, the star point guard appears to have felt slighted by the notion that his team might be moving the ball better without him in the lineup. Last week after a win in which the Wizards racked up 30 assists, Marcin Gortat tweeted that it was a great “team” victory. Wall addressed that comment during an appearance this week on SportsCenter, as Candace Buckner of The Washington Post details.

“I know I’m a team player. I average almost 10 assists a game,” Wall said. “I’m very prideful in finding my teammates and getting guys easy shots. Even more just shocking hearing it from him and understand he gets the most assists from me and gets the most spoon-fed baskets ever.”

As we attempt to determine how real the apparent tension in the Wizards’ locker room is, here’s more out of D.C.:

  • Responding to Wall’s appearances on SportsCenter and NBC Sports Washington – during which Wall said that “any guys [who] have a problem with me can talk to me face-to-face as a man” – Gortat insisted that neither his comment nor one made by Bradley Beal last week were intended to attack or frustrate the All-Star point guard. “I talked to him a few days ago,” Gortat said, per Buckner. “I thought we verified that. I told him that it was nothing personal and I definitely didn’t think about him when I was writing that or whatever I was saying. We never thought about attacking him and I thought we had this verified.”
  • Beal offered another defense of his his “everybody eats” comment from last week too, as Buckner details. “I keep telling everybody it’s not a shot at John,” Beal said. “I’m sure Gortat didn’t mean anything by his [tweet]. We understand — nobody is sitting here saying we’re a better team without John. That’s just nonsense. I’ll say it a thousand times if I have to. I’ll go on every media outlet if I have to to get that point across: we’re not a better team without John. I want to nip that in the bud ASAP. He’s a tremendous player. He’s our leader. We need him back but we want him to be 110% before that happens.”
  • Despite the Wizards’ impressive ball-movement numbers over the last few games, the idea that the team might be better without Wall is ridiculous, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.
  • Tomas Satoransky‘s play in Wall’s absence may have an impact on the Wizards’ trade deadline plans, says Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Hughes’ piece was published when Satoransky was averaging 11.0 PPG and 5.8 APG in place of Wall — in the two games since, those averages have dipped to a more pedestrian 5.5 PPG and 4.5 APG.
  • On Tuesday, we learned that the Wizards have engaged in some trade talks involving Gortat. That story is right here.

NBA Fines Beal, Green, Oubre; Suspends Two Wizards Players

The NBA announced on Sunday that Wizards players Carrick Felix and Markieff Morris have each been suspended one game without pay for leaving the bench during Friday’s on-court confrontation between Warriors forward Draymond Green and guard Bradley Beal.

Felix and Morris will serve their suspensions the next game each player is active and physically able to play.

Green ($25,000) and Beal ($50,000) were issued hefty fines for their roles in the skirmish. Beal’s fine is higher than Green’s because he initiated the fight. Green was issued a fine for failing to disengage from Beal, the league noted in the press release.

Wizards’ forward Kelly Oubre Jr. was also fined $15,000 for aggressively entering the confrontation.

It was a tumultuous week for the Warriors as Stephen Curry was fined $50,000 on Monday for throwing his mouthpiece at a referee in the fourth quarter of Golden State’s 111-101 loss to the Grizzlies last Saturday. Andre Iguodala was also fined $15,000 for abusive language toward a referee during the sequence.

Southeast Notes: Beal, Monk, Collins

A number of developments in Bradley Beal‘s game could help the Wizards two-guard earn his first career All-Star berth, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes. Last year, for instance, the guard managed to stay healthy after missing considerable time the previous two seasons and looked to gain confidence attacking the basket as a result.

In 2017/18, with last year to reflect back on, Beal could ride that confidence to a new level. Another component that contributed to Beal’s success last season was his improved ball handling. If that continues, the swingman will be able to slash more competently and maybe even drive up his free-throw attempts as Wizards teammate John Wall has done.

Beal watched his average jump from 17.4 points per game to 23.1 last year and there’s no reason to believe that he can’t continue to thrive heading forward. Still just 24 years old, Beal represents a major part of the core that Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is so eager to keep together.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The ankle injury that kept Hornets rookie Malik Monk out of summer league is still “significant” and could even limit his availability at the start of the season, Dane Carbaugh of NBC Sports writes. In the article, Carbaugh cites two Steve Clifford quotes that Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reported via Twitter. Monk, who was initially said to be out 2-4 weeks, is still regaining his conditioning and recently struggled with a relatively lightweight optional workout.
  • After ten consecutive playoff appearances, the Hawks have handed the reins of the team over to their young players, Shaun Powell of writes. With little established competition on the team’s depth chart, rookie John Collins could find a way to produce in Year 1.
  • The Hornets have every intention of keeping Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the starting lineup, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. The only tweak to Steve Clifford‘s starting five will be the addition of Dwight Howard in place of Cody Zeller.


Eastern Notes: Howard, Hawks, Wade, Wizards

Tuesday’s trade between Atlanta and Charlotte, which sent Dwight Howard to the Hornets for an underwhelming package that included Miles Plumlee and Marco Belinelli, signaled to many that Howard’s value is at a low point. While that may be the case, Hornets head coach Steve Clifford is confident that he can help Howard become an All-Star caliber player again, as Steve Reed of The Associated Press (via The Charlotte Observer) details.

“I know what he has to do to play well,” Clifford said of Howard, whom he coached as an assistant in Orlando and Los Angeles. “He understands that I know him. I know his game. Being around him in different settings I have a feel for what he likes to do… There is no reason he can’t get back to playing at a really high level.”

While we wait to see if Clifford can help Howard rebound after his stint in Atlanta ended with the big man complaining about his role, here are a few more notes from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Howard trade between Atlanta and Charlotte will leave the Hawks with a modest trade exception. Atlanta’s new TPE will be worth $4,346,942, and will be the fourth – and largest – trade exception available to the team, as our list of TPEs shows.
  • Asked why he decided to exercise his player option to remain with the Bulls, a candid Dwyane Wade told David Aldridge of TNT that there were “24 million reasons” (Twitter link). Wade’s option will pay him $23.8MM next season.
  • The Wizards have reportedly expressed interest in Paul George, and John Wall is on board with the idea of acquiring the Pacers star. However, a trade for George is a long shot, since a sign-and-trade of Otto Porter would be tricky and the inclusion of Bradley Beal is, of course, a non-starter, writes J. Michael of

Southeast Notes: Wall, Porter, Gortat, Waiters, Ball

During the Wizards‘ Game 7 loss to the Celtics, Washington’s bench was outscored 48 to 5. That glaring disparity was certainly not lost on John Wall, writes Jeff Goodman of In fact, Wall’s last words before leaving the court Monday night were, “Forty-eight to five,” which he then repeated before departing with, “Our bench had five points.”

Here’s more out of the Southeast:

  • Despite the immense disappointment Wizards players are feeling after their Game 7 defeat, players expressed confidence that the team can continue to compete at a high level if it can keep its best players together. Otto Porter, a restricted free agent this offseason, is considered by teammates Wall, Bradley Beal, and Markieff Morris to be a vital part of the team’s core, reports Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Morris tells Buckner that Porter is worth a max contract and he hopes that he gets it.
  • As reported earlier today, Marcin Gortat feels underappreciated by the Wizards and may request a trade.  More details and quotes on Gortat’s feelings can be found via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.
  • Impeding Heat free agent Dion Waiters said that the Heat do not need Lonzo Ball because they are covered at the point guard position with Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, and “other [players],”  reports Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Waiters also offered advice for Ball: “He’s got to go somewhere where he’s able to play his game. He’s got to go somewhere where he’s able to make mistakes. Because I think in this game today, he’s got to be able to make mistakes and have a coach who allows you to make mistakes, and you can learn from it.”
  • Luke Babbitt‘s future with the Heat is written about by Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Winderman concludes that, while Babbitt likely will not be an offseason priority for the Heat, the team will consider him because of his Bird Rights and skill set.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Wall, Beal, McRoberts

The Hawks haven’t settled on their point guard rotation for the rest of the season, according to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Jose Calderon, who was claimed off waivers earlier this month, has been the backup to Dennis Schroder in the past four games, but that doesn’t mean the job is his to keep. Coach Mike Budenholzer said Malcolm Delaney, who had the role before Calderon arrived, will also be part of the mix. “No doubt that Jose has been great,” Budenholzer said. “Jose is so positive and talking and in Dennis’ face, in everybody’s face. He’s like wow. To have both of those guys, I wouldn’t under-sell what Malcolm does. I think he’s been real good next to Dennis.”

There’s more news from the Southeast Division:

  • Wizards point guard John Wall is downplaying claims that he and backcourt partner Bradley Beal had a strained relationship. In an interview with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Wall says much of the dissension stemmed from a misunderstanding over Beal’s contract talks. “Everybody said I tried to play him or something. I was watching his money. I was mad. That wasn’t it,” Wall said. “All I said was, ‘Let him be healthy. Let him earn his money.’ It’s the same way they said I didn’t earn my money. ‘How did he get $80 million? He didn’t deserve it.’ But then all of the sudden when everybody was getting paid, nobody was saying nothing.” Beal agreed to a five-year, $127MM contract last summer.
  • Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld reached out to the Nets in the trade that sent Bojan Bogdanovic to Washington, tweets Brooklyn was hoping for a first-round pick in return and wound up with Washington’s first-rounder along with Andrew Nicholson and Marcus Thornton in exchange for Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough.
  • A stress fracture in his left foot has kept Heat forward Josh McRoberts out of action since December 27th, but he still might play this season, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Coach Erik Spoelstra offered an update today, saying, “He’s on the court a little bit now, and we’ll just have to see how he progresses.” McRoberts missed the preseason with a stress reaction in the foot, then returned to start 14 straight games before being sidelined again. He has a player option for 2017/18 worth slightly more than $6MM.

Wizards Notes: Beal, Brooks, Jennings

Bradley Beal believes the arrival of coach Scott Brooks has changed the culture in Washington, as he writes on his new blog.

“With Coach Brooks, it’s never been about one player dominating the game, or winning us a game,” Beal writes. “There’s no favoritism for any of us. We’re all being held to a high standard, and knowing that has actually given all of us confidence. Coach trusts us all with the same responsibility, from the top down, and it’s spread throughout the players, too. The team atmosphere is great. It’s a family, brother-like atmosphere.”

Here’s more from Washington:

  • In the same piece, Beal praised the Wizards‘ recent roster moves. “We picked up a couple guys recently that should help us a lot,” Beal writes.Bojan Bogdanovic is a scorer, and he showed that against Orlando the other night. We just tell him, ‘If you’re open, you knock it down,’and he does that. He has a big body, and he’s able to switch from defense and help us out on the glass, too, which should make things a little bit easier for us. Brandon Jennings is a good addition, too. He’s a fierce, feisty guard, and I think he’ll definitely intimidate point guards on other teams.”
  • Brooks wants Jennings to be more aggressive on offense and the point guard feels his new coach has helped him to be more confident on the floor, Chase Hughes of Comcast Sportsnet relays. “I think this is the first coach to ever tell me to shoot more,” Jennings said. “Honestly. When I first came into the league, shooting wasn’t really that popular where guys didn’t really like point guards to shoot that much. Now it’s like ‘shoot the ball.’ I’ve gotta get back to that.”
  • The Wizards‘ bench appeared to be holding the team back earlier this season, but after making upgrades, the team is prepared to make a deep postseason run, Candace Buckner of The Washington Post opines. Buckner is particularly high on Bogdanovic, adding that he can play with the starters or lead the second unit.

Hoops Links: Lowry, Embiid, Antetokounmpo, Porzingis, Nicholson

On Sundays, we link to some of the very best work from around the basketball blogosphere. Do you have a link to a great basketball blog post – either your own or someone else’s – that you want to see featured on Hoops Rumors? Send it to us at Here’s this week’s rundown:

Southeast Notes: Battier, Beal, Ibaka, Ross, Mahinmi

Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel wondered if Shane Battier, recently hired as the Heat‘s Director of Basketball Development and Analytics, will eventually assume leadership of the franchise from Pat Riley. For the interim, Winderman writes, Battier’s position will be the “first step” toward a post-Riley front office. Battier will work alongside Andy Elisburg and Nick Arison, executives with an advanced “business-of-basketball” acumen. While there is no reason to believe Riley is ready to step away from the game, Winderman could see Riley moving into a role similar to Jerry West’s with the Lakers; an executive board member who isn’t accountable for mundane, day-to-day front office operations.

More from around the Southeast…

  • Jared Dudley of the Suns stuck up for his former teammate, claiming Bradley Beal was snubbed of an All-Star roster spot. “The @NBA tells us players that winning matters! Wizards are the hottest team in the NBA! Bradley Beal is healthy and balling!”, Dudley tweeted on Thursday. (Twitter link) Keely Diven of CSN Mid-Atlantic argued that Carmelo Anthony received the All-Star nod due to his ability to attract media attention. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today gave further insight to ‘Melo’s selection, noting that Anthony received more votes from coaches than Beal.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders described it as “a little obvious” that Serge Ibaka did not bond with his teammates in Orlando. Ibaka, who was dealt to Toronto on February 14, didn’t mesh with the playing styles of Orlando’s younger players (Twitter link). By Kyler’s account, it seems that Ibaka’s teammates “had real issues” with the 27-year-old, and welcomed a change.
  • Terrence Ross told Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders that he embraced the “fresh start” in Orlando. “I was kind of aware that something could have been happening before the deadline so it wasn’t too shocking,” Ross said. “At the same time, being drafted to a team and playing for one team, it’s a little different, but I’m enjoying the process. It’s a good opportunity. It’s a new fresh start for me and I’m looking forward to it. I just kind of hope we can bring some of that experience I got in Toronto and bring it here, and really just helping wherever I can.” Ross, who has averaged 10.4 points through 54 games in 2016/17, is in the first season of a three-year, $31.5MM contract.
  • Jason Smith will likely see a dip in minutes as the Wizards ease Ian Mahinmi into the lineup, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post writes. Smith, who has averaged 7.8 points with 4.8 rebounds over his last six games, has been a serviceable back-up to starter Marcin Gortat“What he’s [Smith] done the last two or three months is what he’s done his entire career and he’s been terrific,” said Coach Scott Brooks. “But if you have a good team, everybody’s going to have to sacrifice. It’s not just Jason, starters are going to have to sacrifice.”

Southeast Rumors: Magic, Wizards, Sanders, Ibaka

Weighing in on recent Serge Ibaka and Nikola Vucevic rumors, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reports that the majority of trade talks the Magic have been involved in are “very exploratory” in nature. That applies to the Vucevic talks with the Celtics, in particular, with sources telling Kyler that no deal involving Vucevic going to Boston was ever “actively under consideration.”

The Magic have been very active in pursuing potential deals, with GM Rob Hennigan recently vowing to be aggressive as he attempts to improve the roster. But Orlando doesn’t appear ready to make a deal yet, and sources who have talked to the team tell Kyler that the Magic may be overvaluing some of the players on their roster.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Larry Sanders, who is attempting an NBA comeback, is on the Wizards‘ radar, but Washington’s interest in Sanders depends on Ian Mahinmi‘s health, sources tell J. Michael of If Mahinmi can return to the court for the Wizards, the team’s interest in Sanders would fade. Michael also adds that Washington doesn’t have interest in trading for Ibaka.
  • There were some offseason questions about the relationship on and off the court between Wizards guards Bradley Beal and John Wall, but Beal is tired of answering questions on that topic, as Ohm Youngmisuk of writes. Appearing on ESPN Radio’s NBA Insiders, Beal said that his relationship with Wall is going “really well” this season. “It’s kind of getting old, people saying that we don’t agree and that we don’t click,” Beal said. “We’re just going out and proving it on the floor.”
  • The Heat‘s supporting cast has played a huge role in the team’s recent winning streak, and many of those players are eligible for free agency this summer. In a mailbag, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel examines whether it makes sense for the club to try to keep players like Dion Waiters, James Johnson, and Willie Reed beyond this season.
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