Bradley Beal

Wizards Remain Focused On Retaining Bradley Beal Long-Term

With just over three weeks until the February 10 deadline, there has been no real discussion on the trade market about Wizards star Bradley Beal, and the expectation is that there won’t be, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN (Insider link).

As Windhorst details, Beal doesn’t plan to sign the extension offer that has been on the table since October and will likely opt out of his contract during the 2022 offseason. However, the Wizards are preparing to “roll the dice” on the veteran guard deciding to re-sign with the team this summer.

General manager Tommy Sheppard recently told The Athletic that both sides have been transparent in their communications, a point Windhorst reiterates. Beal has been involved in many of Washington’s recent major roster decisions, including the trade of Russell Westbrook and the free agent recruitment of Spencer Dinwiddie, team sources tell ESPN. Windhorst adds that Beal and his family have also become close with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, an offseason addition.

While there was some speculation entering the 2021/22 season that Beal might seek a change of scenery if things went south in D.C., Matt Moore of Action Network hears from two sources that – if anything – the 28-year-old has become even less inclined to jump ship. According to Moore, there’s a belief that Beal’s focus is on maximizing his next contract rather than finding a new team.

The Wizards will be able to offer Beal more years (five) and more money ($241MM+) in free agency than any other suitor would be able to, and the team’s apparent willingness to put a five-year offer on the table has resulted in “a measure of calm” within the organization about the All-Star’s future, says Windhorst. A rival team wouldn’t be able to go beyond four years and $179MM for Beal in free agency, based on the NBA’s most recent cap projections.

That doesn’t mean it’s a lock that Beal will re-sign with the Wizards in the offseason, but it appears the club’s plan in the coming weeks will be to seek roster upgrades to complement its leading scorer, rather than entertaining any offers that include him.

As Windhorst writes, the Wizards have already traded away one of their future first-round picks – along with several second-rounders – and are less than $2MM away from the tax line, so they’ll have to be careful about how they approach the deadline, given that they have no assurances yet about Beal’s future.

Southeast Notes: Bridges, Wizards, Beal, Lowry, Chalmers

Hornets forward Miles Bridges met the “starter criteria” on Friday when he appeared in Charlotte’s starting lineup for the 41st time this season. The starter criteria applies to players who are eligible for restricted free agency at season’s end, and dictates the amount of their qualifying offer. By meeting the criteria, Bridges ensured his qualifying offer will increase to $7,921,300.

The amount of Bridges’ qualifying offer probably won’t have much of an impact on his free agency. He’s having a breakout season and is a good bet to be paid in excess of $20MM per year on his next contract, so accepting his one-year QO likely won’t be an option he seriously considers, even now that it’s worth a little more.

Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate also met the starter criteria on Friday by making his 41st start of the season, but Houston holds a minimum-salary team option on Tate for the 2022/23 season, so he won’t reach restricted free agency until ’23, assuming he’s not extended before then.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Wizards announced today that Pat Delany, who was serving as the team’s acting head coach while Wes Unseld Jr. is in the COVID-19 protocols, has entered the protocols himself. Assistant Joseph Blair, Washington’s new acting head coach, told reporters that star guard Bradley Beal has exited the protocols and will be a game-time decision on Monday (Twitter link via Josh Robbins of The Athletic).
  • In an article for The Athletic, Robbins and David Aldridge discussed the Wizards‘ needs and identified some possible trade targets for the team, including Jerami Grant, Harrison Barnes, and Thaddeus Young.
  • Heat guard Kyle Lowry won’t face his old team for the first time on Monday after all, having been ruled out of Miami’s game vs. Toronto for personal reasons, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets.
  • Veteran guard Mario Chalmers admitted he was disappointed not to play at all during his recent 10-day stint with the Heat, but said he didn’t want to be a “disruption” for the team and is looking forward to proving with Miami’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, that he deserves another shot at the NBA level. “Hopefully another 10-day comes out of it and I get signed for the rest of the year,” Chalmers said, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

Wizards’ Sheppard Talks Beal, Dinwiddie, Hachimura, Bryant, More

The maximum-salary contract extension the Wizards offered to Bradley Beal in October remains on the table and will stay there all season long, general manager Tommy Sheppard told Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Beal may end up opting for free agency – where he could earn a longer, more lucrative deal with Washington or explore other destinations – but Sheppard wants to make sure the All-Star guard knows the extension is still an option.

“There’s no reason to take it off. It stands all year. He can sign it all season,” Sheppard said. “I’ve never been anything but transparent. We delivered it the first day that it was available. That’s out of respect to him. He’s an All-NBA player, and we expect him to be an All-Star again this year, and I think he’ll be there at the end for All-NBA. That’s a matter of respect. I think for him he’s going to do what’s very best in his interest. And for the franchise, it’s the same.”

With no guarantee that Beal will eventually sign a new contract, Robbins wondered if the Wizards might have to at least consider the possibility of trading him by the February 10 deadline rather than risk losing him for nothing. However, that doesn’t appear to be a path Sheppard is exploring. The general manager told Robbins that the club remains focused on keeping and building around Beal and believes the 28-year-old remains committed to that plan too.

“I understand the question,” Sheppard said. “I can only keep coming back to the same things I say over and over again: We have constant dialogue. And I’ve been very transparent. He’s been very transparent. We want the same things. We want this to work, and I see every reason to believe we’ll keep moving forward.”

Here are a few more highlights from Sheppard’s conversation with Robbins:

  • Sheppard isn’t concerned about the fact that the Wizards have been outscored by 5.5 points per 100 possessions when Beal and Spencer Dinwiddie share the court. He preached patience and still believes the two guards complement each other well. “Last I checked, Spencer’s got a three-year deal, not a 40-game deal,” Sheppard said. “It takes time for things to kind of come together. They’ve still got to figure out each other. … Forty games isn’t enough to say this is working or not working. We’ve seen it when it can really work. We’ve seen that they can play well.”
  • Asked about Washington’s up-and-down performance so far this season, Sheppard pointed out that injuries and the COVID-19 protocols have created an “incomplete picture” of the team’s potential. The Wizards’ GM referred to Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant as two of “our probably top six guys or seven guys” and said he’s looking forward to seeing what they bring to the current group.
  • Sheppard, who has spoken in the past about the Wizards making steady improvements as they build around Beal, believes they’re still headed in the right direction. “I think that our roster has some balance,” Sheppard said, referring to the club’s mix of youngsters and veterans. “I think our contracts are balanced-out now. I think that gives you an opportunity, especially around the deadline, to look and see if there’s a way to improve your team. Certainly in the offseason, it gives us opportunities to do things. So I’m really excited with where we’re at.”

COVID-19 Updates: Beal, Gill, Pacers, Pritchard, Young, Sixers

Wizards guard Bradley Beal re-entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Tuesday, as Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. It’s Beal’s second protocol-related absence within the last month — he missed three games between December 23-28 due to contact tracing, Robbins notes.

Unlike last season, when any player determined to be a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 was placed in the protocols, those guidelines only apply to unvaccinated players this season. Beal began the season unvaccinated, but confirmed when he returned in late December that he had recently received the vaccine. That could mean his absence this time around isn’t related to contact tracing, and that he returned a positive or inconclusive test.

The Wizards did get one piece of good news on Tuesday afternoon, as forward Anthony Gill exited the protocols, per Robbins (Twitter link). That means Beal is currently the only Washington player affected.

Here are more protocol-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Pacers announced on Tuesday that Caris LeVert and Goga Bitadze have exited the health and safety protocols, as James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star writes. Both players have a chance to be available on Wednesday vs. Boston. They’re listed as questionable for now.
  • The Celtics no longer have any players in the COVID-19 protocols, as guard Payton Pritchard has been cleared, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link).
  • Spurs forward Thaddeus Young is no longer in the health and safety protocols, tweets Paul Garcia of Project Spurs. However, San Antonio still has five players in the protocols, tied with Utah for the highest current total in the league.
  • Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey and forward Paul Reed aren’t listed on the team’s latest injury report, indicating that they’ve both cleared the protocols (Twitter links via Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia).
  • Of approximately 2,400 “tier 1” staffers working for NBA teams, there have been more than 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 this season, creating major challenges for franchises, writes Baxter Holmes of ESPN. “You’re basically taking an assembly of people who help the athletes and taking a few people off the line every few days for a week or more,” one athletic training official told ESPN. “It has interfered significantly with the regular protocols and people being given responsibilities/duties they don’t normally have or are even qualified to do in order to get the job done. It’s been the Wild Wild West.”

Southeast Notes: Herro, Heat, Gallinari, Beal

Heat guard Tyler Herro believes his tumultuous 2020/21 campaign has helped him succeed this season, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. Herro has showed improvement from last season, raising his averages across the board for Miami thus far.

“I think I’m more mature,” Herro said. “I’ve been through, not everything, but enough now to know what to expect, really. Just having a couple years under my belt, things change quickly in this league. So just being able to adjust, make adjustments on the fly, stay ready and just continuing to put the work in every single game. I’m just worrying about the end goal and the end result.”

Herro averaged 15.1 points and 3.4 assists in 30.3 minutes per game last season, shooting 43.9% from the floor and 36% from deep. Those averages have increased to 20.6 PPG and 3.9 APG in 32.8 MPG this season, shooting 42.7% from the field and 38.8% from downtown.

Here are some other notes out of the Southeast:

  • The Heat are moving on from their six 10-day hardship players with appreciation for their efforts, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Two-time champion Mario Chalmers is among the players Miami signed as the team dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak, but Chalmers never saw any action. The club is now 25-15, good for third in the Eastern Conference.
  • Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari would like to remain in Atlanta throughout the rest of the season, he told SkySport (as relayed by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). The NBA’s trade deadline falls on February 10 this year. “I am ready to stay and I would love to remain for the remainder of the season because a change of a team is never easy, for several reasons. But anything can happen,” Gallinari said.
  • Wizards star Bradley Beal isn’t concerned by not receiving many All-Star votes to date, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Beal wasn’t included in the top-10 rankings of the NBA’s first fan voting returns last week. “Yeah, I’ve seen it,” Beal said. “You know me, it’s the same every year or every other year. I control what I can control, I don’t control the fan voting or anyone that votes for that matter.”

Southeast Notes: Schofield, Beal, Hachimura, Bryant, Collins

Admiral Schofield spent several months trying to earn a spot with the Magic, so he was thrilled to sign a two-way contract this week, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. The 24-year-old forward signed with Orlando in September, but was waived after training camp. He spent time with the team’s G League affiliate in Lakeland and inked a pair of 10-day hardship contracts before earning a more permanent position on Thursday.

“In the summer I set out to be here in this organization,” Schofield said. “The opportunity didn’t present itself right away, but believing in the organization and what the organization believes in is a blessing. I love the direction this organization is going. Me being on this team, I can help add to that culture.”

Schofield was the 42nd pick in the 2019 draft and began his career in Washington. During the following offseason, he was traded to the Thunder, who released him before the season began. He continued his career in the G League and took advantage of the opportunity he got as a hardship replacement, averaging 4.8 points and 3.1 rebounds in his first nine games with Orlando.

“Lakeland Magic just gave me a lot of reps,” Schofield said. “A lot of opportunities to practice and see how I fit into the top team in the Orlando Magic. Being on a two-way contract, there’s a high possibility I’ll be back down there and I’ll be excited to step into that opportunity even more.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Bradley Beal‘s name isn’t being mentioned in trade rumors this year, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst states on his latest podcast (hat tip to RealGM). A popular trade target in past seasons, the Wizards guard is expected to opt out of his contract and test free agency this summer.
  • Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington looks at how the Wizards will incorporate Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant now that both players have cleared the health and safety protocols. Hachimura hasn’t played this season due to personal reasons, and Bryant is recovering from ACL surgery. Both will come off the bench initially as they compete for minutes in the team’s rotation.
  • John Collins is as frustrated as anyone by the Hawks‘ poor defensive efforts, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’ve banged my head on the wall a couple times trying to figure it out myself,” Collins said after Atlanta gave up 134 points in Friday’s loss to the Lakers. “There’s really no excuse.”

Sixers Notes: Roberts, Simmons, Fox, Haliburton, Embiid, Drummond

Outgoing NBPA executive director Michele Roberts blames the Sixers‘ front office for the acrimonious standoff with Ben Simmons, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. Roberts addressed the situation in a SiriusXM Radio interview.

“Candidly, I think a lot of this stuff could be resolved if everyone behaved like a grown-up,” she said. “I think what’s happening in Philadelphia frankly is ridiculous and I don’t know why we’re playing chicken with each other. It just strikes that this is something that could be worked out. It’s difficult.”

We have more on the Sixers:

  • Speaking of Simmons, the front office continues to ask for a massive haul in return for the disgruntled playmaker, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports. That is a source of frustration for some opposing team executives. It’s believed that president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is still hoping Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal will eventually be made available, perhaps this summer.
  • Could Sacramento wind up being Simmons’ destination? Kyle Neubeck of explores that possibility with the notion that De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton are no longer considered untouchable.
  • The 76ers went with a jumbo look against the Magic this week and outscored Orlando 11-6 during that four-minute stretch, Derek Bodner of notes. Andre Drummond and Joel Embiid shared the court and limited the Magic to one offensive rebound during that time. However, the Twin Towers combination is not something the team should do very much, due to the issues it would create with the perimeter defense, Bodner opines.

COVID-19 Updates: Wizards, Trail Blazers, Heat, Rockets, Sixers, I. Thomas, More

The league continues to be battered by players entering and exiting the health and safety protocols. If any of the players entering the protocols registered a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, they’ll remain sidelined for at least six days or until they can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Here are the latest updates from around the NBA:

Eastern Notes: Rubio, Iwundu, Beal, Livers

Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio, who left Tuesday’s game after injuring his left knee, will get an MRI on that knee today to determine the severity of the injury, according to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez and Adrian Wojnarowski.

Rubio has played a key role in the Cavaliers’ resurgence this season — although he hasn’t been in the starting lineup for most of the year, the veteran point guard has logged 970 total minutes, the second-highest mark on the team.

Rubio, who wasn’t able to put any weight on his left leg as he left the court on Tuesday night, tore his left ACL back in 2012, Lopez notes. The Cavaliers are holding their breath and hoping that this injury isn’t as serious as that one.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Hawks wing Wes Iwundu has exited the health and safety protocols, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). According to Woj, Iwundu will rejoin the team in Chicago on Wednesday ahead of its game vs. the Bulls.
  • Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who stated in September that he remained unvaccinated, has since received a COVID-19 vaccine, people familiar with the situation tell Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. Beal is currently in the health and safety protocols, but his updated vaccinated status was “welcome news to many in the organization,” says Wallace.
  • After growing up in Kalamazoo and playing his college ball at Michigan, Isaiah Livers appreciated the opportunity to stay close to home with the Pistons and tells James L. Edwards III of The Athletic that he had a sense entering this year’s draft that Detroit would try to land him. “(General manager) Troy (Weaver), we were talking. A lot of the pre-draft, he was very interested,” Livers said. “He told me straight-up that he was interested in me and talked about what I could bring to the table, to the team. Once he told me that, he was one of the few GMs to say that to me. I thought he was definitely going to grab me if he had the chance. I was ready.”

COVID-19 Roundup: Nets, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Knicks, Wizards, Thunder

The NBA’s new guidelines regarding its health and safety protocols have resulted in several players being released from protocols this morning. The league and its players union agreed Monday to shorten the minimum required quarantine period for a vaccinated COVID-positive players and coaches from 10 days to six.

Here is the latest news on who has entered and cleared protocols today:

  • Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are out of protocols, as is LaMarcus Aldridge, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. While Durant and Aldridge may be ready for Thursday’s game, Irving is still working his way back into game condition and remains ineligible to play in home games because he hasn’t met New York City’s vaccine requirement.
  • Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince has cleared protocols and will rejoin the team, but won’t play tonight against the Knicks, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Minnesota also gets back Anthony Edwards and Naz Reid (Twitter link).
  • Cavaliers power forward Evan Mobley has cleared protocols and is set to reunite with the club today, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Chris Fedor of tweets that the Cavaliers hope to have Mobley play in tonight’s game against the Pelicans, but will put him through his pregame paces first to gauge his conditioning level.
  • Unfortunately, just as one of Cleveland’s best players recovers, another will be absent. Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, enjoying a nearly All-Star-level season with Cleveland, has entered the NBA’s coronavirus protocols, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic.
  • Knicks rookie point guard guard Miles McBride has cleared protocols, the team has announced (via Twitter). New York adds that he has rejoined the team ahead of its game tonight against the Timberwolves.
  • Veteran Heat power forward Udonis Haslem has entered the league’s coronavirus protocols, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Heat point guard Kyle Lowry is also in protocols. Miami assistant coach Chris Quinn will return to the sidelines, Chiang adds.
  • Wizards forwards Rui Hachimura and Montrezl Harrell have entered the league’s COVID-19 protocols, joining six other Washington players, the team has announced (Twitter link). Hachimura has missed the Wizards’ entire season thus far due to personal reasons. Among the others, unvaccinated All-Star guard Bradley Beal is still in protocols and Wallace reports that his status is “questionable” prior to the Wizards’ upcoming contest against the Heat tonight. Center Thomas Bryant, wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and guards Anthony Gill, Aaron Holiday and Raul Neto are still in protocols.
  • Thunder rookie guard Josh Giddey has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Head coach Mark Daigneault has also entered the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, and will be replaced by assistant coach Mike Wilks starting with this evening’s contest against the Kings, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). Wilks, a former journeyman NBA guard, suited up for four games with the Thunder during the 2009/10 season, Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman adds (Twitter link). Players Darius Bazley, Tre Mann, Aleksej Pokusevski, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl remain in the protocols for Oklahoma City.
  • Keep track of all the players currently in COVID-19 protocols through out our daily tracker.

Arthur Hill contributed to this report.