Davis Bertans

Wizards Notes: Brooks, Bertans, Winston, Hachimura, Avdija

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks doesn’t think the All-Star Game should be played this season, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. The league and the National Basketball Players Association agreed to hold it in Atlanta next month.

“I saw (LeBron James‘) thoughts on it. I agree. I’m upset,” Brooks said. “I love Atlanta, but I don’t want to go. I’ve been to two All-Star Games…and I don’t want to go. I agree with him.”

We have more on the Wizards:

  • Davis Bertans re-signed with the club for five years and $80MM in November, but his 3-point stroke has been off this season. Katz breaks down Bertans’ struggles in an in-depth Athletic story. Bertans is shooting 33.1% from long range after making 42% of his attempts the past two seasons and it appears he still doesn’t have his legs under him, according to Katz.
  • Rookie guard Cassius Winston has been transferred to the Erie BayHawks to play in the G League season in Orlando, the team tweets. Washington’s G League team, the Capital City Go-Go, is not participating in the event. The second-round pick out of Michigan State has appeared in six NBA games and will receive much-needed playing time in Orlando.
  • Prior to Washington’s 27-point loss to Miami on Friday, second-year forward Rui Hachimura and rookie forward Deni Avdija appeared to be trending in the right direction after the team’s COVID-19 pause, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post writes.

Trio Of Wizards Returning From COVID-19 Protocols

A triumvirate of Wizards big men in Dāvis Bertāns, Rui Hachimura and Moritz Wagner have cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols and will be joining their teammates in a battle with the Hawks tomorrow, per Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Bertāns, Hachiumura and Wagner represent crucial additions to Washington’s frontcourt rotation, especially given the absence of injured starting center Thomas Bryant, who tore his left ACL and is out of commission for the rest of the season. With Bryant out, second-year starting power forward Hachimura, the No. 9 pick in the 2019 draft, becomes the team’s third-leading scorer at 13.6 PPG.

Bertāns will add much-needed outside shooting for the Wizards. The team expected him to be a key contributor when it re-signed him to a lucrative five-year, $80MM contract during the 2020 offseason. Bertāns is averaging 36.0% from long range on 7.8 attempts per night this season.

Katz notes that Wizards rookie forward Deni Avdija, reserve small forward Troy Brown Jr. and backup point guard Ish Smith are still in the league’s coronavirus health and safety protocols and will be unavailable for the immediate future. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington adds that Avdija, Brown, and Smith will need to log practice minutes once they clear protocols before a return to game action.

The depleted Wizards saw several games postponed for 13 days after the club was unable to field eight healthy players. At 3-11, the team currently holds the worst record in the NBA by percentage.

Beal Acknowledges Frustration As Wizards’ Slide Continues

Wizards star Bradley Beal scored 47 points on Wednesday, but it wasn’t nearly enough to topple the Pelicans, who won by a score of 124-106. The Wizards’ record dropped to an NBA-worst 3-11, and the outcome made Beal the first player in NBA history to lose 10 consecutive games in which he scored 40 or more points (Twitter link).

Asked after the game if he’s frustrated by how things are going for the team as of late, Beal replied rhetorically, “Is the sky blue?” (link via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com).

When trade speculation about Beal was beginning to heat up in 2019, the All-Star guard quieted it by signing a two-year, $72MM contract extension to remain in Washington through at least 2021/22. However, the team has a 28-58 (.326) record across parts of two seasons since then, which aren’t exactly the results Beal was hoping for.

“It’s tough,” Beal said, per Youngmisuk. “I am not going to sit here and be naive. … We want to win, and I want to win. This is why I stayed. I want to win. I figured this is the place I can get it done. It’s tough. Last year was what it was. We had a lot of guys out. John (Wall) was out. It was just a rotten year. COVID hit.

“This year it’s the same thing. Like in a mini-bubble outside the bubble. No fans, no nothing, no practice time. It’s been tough.”

The Wizards have had some bad injury luck this year. Starting center Thomas Bryant suffered a season-ending ACL tear, while newly-acquired point guard Russell Westbrook – who sat out the second half of a back-to-back set on Wednesday – has also been limited by health issues, including a quad injury.

Additionally, Washington has been hit harder this year by the coronavirus pandemic than perhaps any other NBA team. Seven of the Wizards’ players have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 since the 2020/21 season began.

While Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans, Troy Brown, Rui Hachimura, Ish Smith, and Moritz Wagner all remained sidelined due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Wednesday, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said last night that he thinks there’s a “great chance” the club will get a few of those players back soon, perhaps as early as Friday (Twitter link via Fred Katz of The Athletic).

Those reinforcements could help stabilize the Wizards’ rotation, and with 58 of 72 games still to play, there’s plenty of time to turn things around. Beal said on Wednesday that the group’s confidence level remains high (link via Katz), while Brooks expressed hope that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and stressed that Beal’s desire to win is “critical to our future success” (Twitter link via Ava Wallace of The Washington Post).

Still, it’s safe to assume teams around the league will continue to monitor the situation in Washington in the coming weeks or months. For now, Beal’s frustration hasn’t risen to the point where he’s seeking a change of scenery, but he’d instantly become the NBA’s most sought-after trade target if he’s made available at any point this season.

NBA Postpones Friday’s Wizards/Bucks Game

The game between the Wizards and Bucks that was scheduled to be played on Friday in Milwaukee has been postponed, the NBA announced tonight (Twitter link).

It’s the sixth consecutive postponement for the Wizards, who haven’t played since January 11. The team was cleared to return to the court to practice on Wednesday, but remains significantly shorthanded.

Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans, Troy Brown, Rui Hachimura, Ish Smith, and Moritz Wagner are out due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, while Thomas Bryant (ACL) and Russell Westbrook (quad) are sidelined due to injuries, leaving just eight available players on the roster (Twitter link).

According to the NBA’s announcement, the game is being postponed due to the number of unavailable players for the Wizards, contact tracing affecting players on the roster, and the club’s lengthy layoff from practicing.

As Fred Katz of The Athletic wrote earlier tonight, Bradley Beal and the Wizards had been planning to lobby for a postponement of Friday’s game, since they felt that potentially playing with the league-mandated minimum of eight players after not practicing for the last week would result in a high risk of injury for the active players.

The next game on Washington’s schedule is Sunday in San Antonio. The hope is that the Wizards will have enough available players – and enough practice time between now and then – to be ready to play that game.

The NBA has now postponed 17 contests this season. The full list is here.

Southeast Notes: Rozier, Hawks, Wizards, Borrego

The big Hornets offseason acquisition of 2019, guard Terry Rozier, faces a new challenge in the 2020/21 season: acclimating to two key incoming pieces who will need touches in point guard LaMelo Ball and forward Gordon Hayward, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes.

“It just goes back to adjusting to what is best for the team — what can help us get better,” said Rozier, who cited the adjustment he made during the 2019/20 season to accommodate emergent Hornets point guard Devonte’ Graham. “I became a great catch-and-shoot guy last year. That’s adding to my game, doing multiple things.” 

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The College Park Skyhawks, G League affiliate of the Hawks, are among the several clubs anticipated to opt out of the proposed G League bubble season, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). The season is expected to transpire in the Atlanta area.
  • New Wizards reserve center Robin Lopez has joined the team for his first practice, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Meanwhile, newly-extended power forward Davis Bertans has arrived in D.C. and is expected to be cleared for practice by Saturday, according to Ava Wallace of the Washington Post (via Twitter). Wallace notes that visa problems delayed the big man’s arrival.
  • Now that the Hornets appear to be making a push for the play-in tournament and a crack at the playoffs, head coach James Borrego will exercise more caution in the freedom he gives young players this season, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer notes.

Wizards Notes: Beal, Bertans, Lopez, Westbrook, More

Ensuring that Bradley Beal wants to remain in Washington was a top priority for the Wizards as they made their offseason moves, including the blockbuster trade that brought Russell Westbrook to D.C. So did the acquisition of Westbrook have an impact on Beal’s desire to stick with the team?

“Honestly, I haven’t even thought about that. I haven’t,” Beal said, per Fred Katz of The Athletic. “My biggest thing is win now, you know? I wanna win.

“I’m here under contract for this year, next year and a player option, too. So, it’s just a matter of, we gotta win. And the organization knows that. It’s up to me, too, so I can’t just sit here and … look at (general manager Tommy Sheppard) like he’s crazy. I have to go out and lead the team, put in the work and get better every day and bring the results.”

As Katz writes, the Wizards have a tricky tightrope to walk, as they focus not only on building a roster capable of long-term success, but also on winning enough in the next year or two to convince Beal that he doesn’t need to move to a new team to contend.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Davis Bertans and Robin Lopez haven’t yet been able to join the Wizards for practice, tweets Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. Bertans was held up by visa issues, according to Wallace, who notes that the team also had one of its new players test positive for the coronavirus. There hasn’t been confirmation that the affected player was Lopez, but it sounds like that’s very possible.
  • The Wizards are counting on point guard Russell Westbrook, who is known for his competitiveness and tenacity, to help set the culture for their young roster, Wallace writes for The Washington Post.
  • Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said today that the starting small forward position will be “fluid,” with Troy Brown, Isaac Bonga, Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans, and Jerome Robinson all among the options there, per Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Brooks also said today that the Wizards are close to a decision on whether or not to participate in the NBA G League’s proposed Atlanta bubble. He believes there’s a good chance the Wizards will opt in, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link).

Wizards Notes: Bertans, Coronavirus, Brooks, Wall

The Wizards made a big splash in free agency, deciding to commit to power forward Davis Bertans to the tune of $80MM across five years. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington observes that expectations have increased for Bertans, but wonders if that means the way the Wizards use him will change.

Hughes posits that Bertans will remain a bench scorer but that the club will expect his scoring barrage from a breakout 2019/20 season to continue for the length of his deal.

“To me, if we win games, I’m happy,” Bertans said recently of how he feels about his role with the club going forward. “It doesn’t matter if I’m playing 25-to-30 minutes or I’m not. Last season, I didn’t start most of the games, but I did finish most of the games. In some ways, that’s more important.”

There’s more out of DC:

  • An incoming Wizards player has tested positive for COVID-19, but has yet to arrive in D.C., per Ava Wallace of the Washington Post (Twitter link). Notable new additions to the roster include rookie forward Deni Avdija, reserve center Robin Lopez, stretch four Anthony Gill, point guard Raul Neto, and new two-way player Cassius Winston.
  • Wizards head coach Scott Brooks is in the final year of the five-year, $35MM deal he signed with Washington in 2016, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington notes. Brooks sounds hopeful about an extension. “It’s no secret how much I love this team, the community, the ownership group. Those things will be taken care of at the right time. I’m excited, I’m fired up about coaching this team,” Brooks said.
  • With John Wall set to play his first games with the Wizards in two years, Brooks indicates that the club will play it safe with its starting point guard’s workload for the 2020/21 season, but notes that the former All-Star is “ready to go,” per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Brooks raved, “He has his speed and strength and his shot looks great.”
  • During a virtual news conference today, Brooks also discussed his interest in developing such a young club, per Ava Wallace of the Washington Post“You have to have the talent and skill set, which we have, but there’s a lot of new pieces,” Brooks said.

Southeast Notes: Adebayo, Bertans, Rondo, Mane

Heat president Pat Riley said signing Bam Adebayo to an extension was an easy decision, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. At age 23, Adebayo has already become one of the league’s best big men, averaging 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists last season while making his first All-Star appearance.

“One of the most important things a franchise can do is to make sure that your best, youngest, cornerstone players sign on the dotted line,” Riley said. “Getting Bam his extension was a no-brainer for us because we know he will be around for years to come. That’s great for the Heat, great for the fans and great for Bam.”

Adebayo will only receive a full super-max deal, paying him 30% of the salary cap, if he earns MVP honors, tweets John Hollinger of The Athletic. That figure is 28.5% if he is a first-team All-NBA selection and 27.5% if he wins Defensive Player of the Year. If none of those things happen, Adebayo will be paid 25% of the cap. Those figures are confirmed by Chiang, who adds that Adebayo’s new contract doesn’t contain any player or team options (Twitter link).

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Re-signing Davis Bertans gives the Wizards one sure thing on a roster filled with uncertainty, states Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. Bertans developed into one of the NBA’s most dangerous three-point shooters during his first season in Washington and was rewarded with a five-year, $80MM contract. “There’d been talk from (general manager Tommy Sheppard) and the Wizards that they wanted me to stay,” Bertans said. “But until it comes to free agency, you actually get the call that the team wants you, you can’t be sure. I was happy that it wasn’t just some talk from Tommy and the whole team, that they really, really wanted me to come back.”
  • Rajon Rondo‘s new contract with the Hawks includes a $750K incentive if he plays at least 33 games and the team reaches the playoffs, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.
  • Karim Mane, who signed a two-way contract with the Magic on Friday, has similarities in his game to Victor Oladipo and Jrue Holiday, observes Josh Cohen of NBA.com. Mane is relentless on defense, excelling in traps, and is hard for defenders to stay in front of when he drives to the basket.

Wizards Re-Sign Davis Bertans To Five-Year Deal

NOVEMBER 22, 9:45pm: Bertans’ fifth year will only be partially guaranteed for $5MM for now, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic, who tweets that it will become fully guaranteed if Bertans plays 75% of his team’s games in year four of the deal.


NOVEMBER 22, 1:06pm: It’s official, according to Bertans, who tweeted a photo that shows him signing his lucrative new deal with the Wizards.


NOVEMBER 20, 8:55pm: The Wizards and Davis Bertans have agreed to a five-year, $80MM deal, agent Arturs Kalnitis tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Bertans’ new contract will include an early termination option for year five, per Wojnarowski.

Re-signing the talented stretch four was Washington’s top priority this offseason and the team accomplished that goal at a premium price.

Bertans, who turns 28 this Thursday, opted out of the NBA’s restart due to his history of ACL injuries and a desire to preserve his value as an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Bertans was the subject of numerous trade rumors prior to February’s deadline but the Wizards chose to keep him with the intent of locking him up long-term. By retaining him, they held his Bird rights, giving Washington the ability to exceed the cap to re-sign him.

He had a career year in 2019/20 during his first season as a Wizard, averaging 15.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.7 APG in 54 games (29.3 MPG).

His calling card is his ability to stretch defenses. Bertans made 42.4% of 8.7 three-point attempts per game.

He was in the Spurs organization for three seasons and played regularly off the bench. He wound up in Washington last offseason as part of a three-way deal that also involved the Nets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agency Rumors: Whiteside, Favors, Clarkson, Bertans

The Kings have interest in free agent center Hassan Whiteside, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said today on The Jump (Twitter link via Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee). James Ham of NBC Sports California confirms (via Twitter) that he has heard similar whispers, though he cautions he’s not sure how serious that interest is.

Here are more free agency rumors:

  • Free agent center Derrick Favors is expected to have contact with his current team – the Pelicans – and his old team – the Jazz – as free agency opens, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). Other teams will also kick the tires on Favors, Jones adds.
  • The Jazz are making re-sigining Jordan Clarkson their top priority in free agency, tweets Tony Jones.
  • The Wizards are meeting with Davis Bertans as free agency opens, according to Chris Miller of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). Re-signing the stretch four has long been considered Washington’s top priority this offseason.