John Wall

Eastern Notes: Harris, Satoransky, Leonsis, Heat

Nets shooting guard Joe Harris could double his salary in free agency next summer, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Harris will make $7.67MM during the upcoming season and Scotto notes that veteran shooting guards received well above that figure in free agency this summer. Danny Green signed a two-year, $30MM deal with the Lakers while J.J. Redick got a two-year, $26.5MM contract with the Pelicans.

Harris might get even more, as Scotto points out that several other comparable shooting guards are making between $17.2MM and $20MM this season. The Nets hold Harris’ Bird Rights, giving them the inside track on signing him.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Tomas Satoransky‘s price tag became too much to bear for the Wizards in restricted free agency, as Fred Katz of The Athletic details. The Bulls offered him a three-year, $30MM contract and Washington felt that was too much for a player who’d be a backup once John Wall returned from his Achilles injury. A sign-and-trade was worked out that brought back a 2020 second-round pick and other considerations to Washington. Satoransky wasn’t disappointed. “I always felt like, for me, it was always harder than for others,” he said of his experience in Washington. “I had to always keep proving (myself) to people. And I always felt like, ‘Man, I’ve done enough to have that.’ So, I felt this needs a new start.”
  • Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis will be more visible with a new front office structure in place, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “Our owners are going to be more involved,” Leonsis said. “You constantly have to gauge back and forth: is it good to be involved, or is it not good to be involved? Every agent, every player that I’ve talked to said the more they see Raul Fernandez and Laurene Powell-Jobs and me, the more connected they feel to what our vision and what our ultimate plan is.”
  • Any package that the Heat would send out in a potential Bradley Beal and Wall deal with the Wizards would need to include James Johnson, Dion Waiters, Justise Winslow and Kelly Olynyk for salary-matching purposes, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details. Trading for Beal alone would probably require the Heat to give up their three best assets, Bam Adebayo, Winslow and Tyler Herro, but they wouldn’t realistically be able to attach a draft pick until next June, Jackson adds.

Southeast Notes: Haslem, Kulboka, Simpson, Simon

Heat veteran forward Udonis Haslem, who re-signed with Miami for a 17th season just yesterday, will not commit to this being his final season, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel.

Winderman adds in a separate tweet that Haslem will not treat the 2019/20 season as a farewell tour, but given Haslem’s primary status as a reserve for the Heat, it’s probably too presumptive to conclude from that alone that this won’t be his last season.

Finally, Winderman opines that unless someone like former Heat player Yante Maten ends up flourishing for another team in the near future, the signing of Haslem as a veteran locker room presence is well worth using up the last roster spot.

There’s more news out of the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Hornets draft-and-stash prospect Arnoldas Kulboka, a 21-year-old Lithuanian swingman who was drafted No. 55 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft, has officially signed his contract with RETAbet Bilbao Basket of Liga ACB, reports Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link).
  • Per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports WashingtonWizards point guard John Wall believes that teammate Bradley Beal will sign the three-year, $112MM contract extension being offered by Washington despite the financial reasons for not doing so, as we’ve detailed.
  • The Wizards have officially announced the hiring of Mark Simpson as the team’s new vice president of player performance. Simpson has spent the last three seasons as director of performance for the Clippers, where he oversaw the team’s player load management strategies.
  • Undrafted St. John’s rookie guard Justin Simon recently underwent a workout with the Heat, but left without a contract, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

John Wall Discusses Injury, Bradley Beal, Future

Injuries have slowed down John Wall since he signed a four-year, $170MM extension with the Wizards in 2017, but he tells Michael Lee of The Athletic that he’s not interested in a fresh start with a different team.

Wall has been limited to a combined 73 games over the past two years, and he may miss the entire upcoming season while recovering from an Achilles tear. There have been rumors that Washington might try to unload Wall’s contract, but he prefers to stay with the franchise that drafted him.

“I love where I’m at. I love D.C. My loyalty is to D.C.,” Wall said. “To hear a lot of Wizards people, Tommy (Sheppard, the new general manager), (managing partner) Ted Leonsis and (Monumental Sports and Entertainment senior vice president) Zach Leonsis and all those guys, the whole community is behind me, and they’re not giving up on me, so that’s big for me.

“I’m not one of those guys that wants to play for multiple teams. I want to play for one organization. If it comes down to it, where you have to move around, and it don’t work, they’re giving me the opportunity to come back, not this year but next year after, if I don’t play well, you trade me. I can’t be mad at nobody because they gave me the opportunity and I gave myself a chance to prove myself. That’s all I ask for.”

Wall touches on several subjects during the wide-ranging interview. Here are a few more highlights:

On his sometimes rocky relationship with backcourt partner Bradley Beal:

“Me and Brad are brothers. I tell everybody, you’ve got two young guys that’s so talented. Who ain’t going to bump heads at some time? We both want to be great. We both want to take the last shot. But we built that type of bond. Brad is so mature for his age, you wouldn’t expect for him to be the age he is, but give a lot of credit to his parents and his brothers that raised him. I feel like we need one more shot. We need one more run at it. But we’ve got to add some pieces around us, some dogs that can go to war with us. I mean, me and him together, we can go against anybody.”

On the Wizards’ moves this summer that seem to be building around Beal:

“I’ve known Brad for years before he came into the league. When Brad didn’t make All-Star that one year, I said, ‘It’s crazy, he should’ve made it.’ I was vouching for him every day. It’s going to be times on the court; he don’t pass me the ball, I don’t pass him the ball. We’re going to disagree. It happens. It’s basketball. But put him in that platform, this is what he needs; this is what he should be. This is the type of rise, popular spot that Brad deserves, even if I’m there or not there. When I come back, give him the same treatment, because he deserves it. He’s put in the work. He’s earned it. You’ve seen it from Day 1. Even when John Wall is playing, John Wall is not playing. Give him that same stuff, whether I’m there or not there. He don’t have to be in the shadow. I’m the franchise guy because, yeah, I was here before him. He’s right there. There’s no John Wall without Bradley Beal. There’s no Bradley Beal without John Wall. It’s that simple. And I got nothing to hide to say that. I’m a talented basketball player. That ain’t going to get accomplished if we’re not together.”

On criticism from social media:

“It fuels me. (The) ’16/17 (season) was my best year. (Averaged) 23 (points) and 11 (assists). John Wall is a top-two point guard. I get injured. John Wall is not a top-five point guard? Now, because I’m injured, I can’t defend myself. Now I’ve got the worst contract ever? That’s fine. I deserved that contract. My whole mindset is – it’s in my notes – I didn’t deserve it? When I come back, I’m going to show them I earned it. I never want a handout. I always worked for mine.”

On dealing with an extended injury:

“The one thing I take from this is never take the game for granted. Never. Never. Never. I can’t control injuries. They happen. You can’t. Some people are healthy forever. Some are not. But don’t ever take the game for granted. I never did that. But I just started jogging. For five months. I couldn’t do nothing. I couldn’t walk. I’m thankful that I can jog and walk. And play basketball. … But if the basketball stop bouncing today, the Washington Wizards are going to get their franchise guy. And John Wall, if he stopped playing basketball today, they’ll get a new guy. If John Wall retires tomorrow, the NBA is going to keep going on. I ain’t God. It ain’t going to stop. But I’m doing what I can while I’m here, and enjoying the process. I can’t wait to get back. I got a lot of fire in my belly. I’m itching. I’m itching to get back.”

Wizards Notes: Leonis, Sheppard, Brown, Medina, Roster

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis believes the franchise can make a quick turnaround, as he told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. He believes that with backcourt stars John Wall and Bradley Beal leading the way, Washington can become a contender. However, Wall is expected to miss all of next season as he recovers from an Achilles tear.

“My belief is that you can you do things fast. We have the wherewithal and resources and facilities and technology,” Leonsis said. “If we can bring John back and, with Brad, develop our draft picks and assets, start to manage the [salary] cap, why can’t this be quick? It doesn’t need to be a five years it took when we drafted John and Brad. We can turn this one faster.”

We have more on the Wizards:

  • Leonsis indicated that new GM Tommy Sheppard and chief planning and operations officer Sashi Brown will have equal say on decisions where their duties overlap, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes. There is going to be much more shared decision-making in the new front office setup. However, Brown said that basketball personnel decisions will ultimately be made by Sheppard (Twitter links).
  • Daniel Medina will also play a major front office role, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt. Medina has been hired as the chief of athlete care and performance for Monumental Basketball. He will focus on medical, training, mental health, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and physical therapy and recovery. “The goal is to create a very collaborative, many-hands-make-light-work level and be prepared for the new NBA where data technology and health and wellness and all of these services merge with what is happening on the court,” Leonsis said.
  • Leonsis now believes having three max players on the roster isn’t conducive to building a successful team, David Aldridge of The Athletic tweets. Leonsis previously felt that having three max stars was the way to go but he now subscribes to the theory that spreading the wealth is a better approach. “Depth is becoming so much more important in this league, just because of the injuries,” he said.

Wizards Owner: Wall “Probably Won’t” Play In 2019/20

Speaking today to reporters, including Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link), Wizards owner Ted Leonsis acknowledged that injured point guard John Wall “probably won’t play” during the 2019/20 season.

Wall is recovering from an Achilles tear he suffered earlier this year and the Wizards are taking his recovery and rehab process slowly to make sure they get it right, Leonsis said today.

Wall is entering the first season of a four-year, $171MM super-max contract which will run through the 2022/23 season, so the Wizards will certainly be motivated to get him healthy and rebuild his value for the last few years of that deal.

Leonsis’ comments confirm what we already expected, since a report earlier this month indicated that the Wizards had applied for a disabled player exception as a result of Wall’s injury. A DPE permits a team to replace a seriously injured player by adding someone without using cap space.

Before granting the exception, the league would have to rule that the injured player is “substantially more likely than not” to be out of action through at least June 15 of the league year. There has been no word on whether the Wizards’ request been approved, but even applying for a DPE represented a tacit acknowledgement that Wall was unlikely to play in 2019/20.

If the Wizards receive a disabled player exception, it would be worth $9.258MM. The club would be able to use it to sign a player to a one-year contract worth up to that amount, or to trade for a player on an expiring contract, assuming his salary fits into the DPE. It could also be used on a waiver claim.

Wizards Apply For Disabled Player Exception

The Wizards have requested a Disabled Player Exception for injured guard John Wall, tweets Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. If approved, the team will be able to use $9.258MM to sign a player to a one-year deal or to make a trade or submit a waiver claim for a player with one year left on his contract. That figure represents the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception for 2019/20.

Wall underwent surgery in February for a torn Achilles tendon that he said might sideline him for all of next season. He is entering the first year of a super-max contract that will pay him $170MM over the next four seasons.

Washington was granted a DPE for Wall last season, notes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). Hughes adds that it would be a longer-than-usual rehab time for an Achilles injury if Wall does miss all of next season (Twitter link).

Wall is undergoing rehab work and hopes to return at some point next season, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link). However, his representatives said he will “definitely work” with the Wizards if they believe he will miss the entire year.

The DPE permits teams to replace seriously injured players by adding someone without using cap space. Before granting the exception, the league would have to be convinced that the player is “substantially more likely than not” to be out of action through at least June 15 of the league year. The Wizards would have until March to use the DPE if it is approved.

If the Wizards’ request is approved, Wall would still be permitted to play this season if he can “beat the odds” and make it back. However, Washington would lose the DPE if Wall makes it back on the court before the exception has been used.

Luke Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Beal Interested In Extension, Not Expecting Trade

A report last week indicated that the Wizards will likely offer Bradley Beal a three-year contract extension later in the offseason. On Monday night, Beal told Ben Golliver of The Washington Post that he’s “definitely” open to discussing such an extension, which would begin in 2021/22 and projects to be worth about $111MM.

“I have thought about it, but I haven’t really full-out processed it,” Beal said, per Golliver. “I still have two years left. We just drafted Rui [Hachimura] and I want to see what we do in free agency before I make the ultimate decision. I haven’t even been offered it officially. Until that happens, I’ll wait and think about it. I’ll have an ample amount of time to process everything and make a decision when the time is right.

“I’d be naive to say I wouldn’t be [interested in extension talks],” Beal continued. “Washington is where I’ve been the last seven years, going on eight. It would be great to play in one place forever. But at the same time, you want to win and make sure you’re in a position to do so. I’m definitely going to evaluate who we hire as the GM and who we pick up on the team. All that plays a factor.”

For the time being, Tommy Sheppard continues to serve as the interim general manager for the Wizards, whose owner Ted Leonsis indicated recently that the club won’t hire a new head of basketball operations prior to free agency. As Golliver relays, Beal trusts Sheppard to “run the show until Ted makes his decision,” but with the Wizards’ front office still in state of flux, it makes sense that the All-Star guard isn’t ready to make any long-term commitments quite yet.

Given the Wizards’ place in the lottery last season, Beal’s name has frequently come up in speculation about potential trade candidates, but he tells Golliver that he has been told separately by Leonsis, Sheppard, and head coach Scott Brooks in recent weeks that he’s not going anywhere.

“They’ve been very transparent and that’s been great,” Beal said. “They’re not keeping me in the dark about anything, even about the trade rumors. . . . It’s great having that peace of mind.”

Meanwhile, Beal’s backcourt mate John Wall, who continues to recover from surgery on his torn Achilles, will begin jogging in about two weeks, he told Chris Miller of NBC Sports Washington on Monday night.

“I’m able to move, do ladder steps, doing those types of things,” Wall said. “Just taking my time and progressing and letting everything heal the right way so I don’t force myself back and get another injury.”

Southeast Notes: Beal, Dragic, Reddish

While Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is reluctant to trade Bradley Beal, doing so may represent the team’s quickest path to contention, David Aldridge of The Athletic writes.

Beal is an enormously valuable asset that could net a batch of valuable assets. The Wizards, then, could focus on John Wall‘s rehabilitation in hopes of surrounding him with a strong rotation once he’s healthy.

Aldridge clarifies that the Wizards shouldn’t trade Beal because of any shortcomings, in fact, the opposite. An abundance of teams are clearing space to sign max free agents this summer but there’s only so much top talent to go around.

Beal, as a result, could draw a significant return if the Wizards are willing to leverage the 25-year-old’s excellent 2018/19 campaign.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

Wizards Notes: Beal, Wall, White, Draft

Retaining Bradley Beal in his prime, rather than trading him for assets, might be the best course of action for the Wizards, Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington argues. Beal could be the ideal role model to establish a new identity and culture for the franchise, Standig continues. Beal could be the main locker room leader next season with John Wall recovering from his Achilles injury and he’d embrace that role, Standig notes. Giving Beal that power might deepen his connection to the franchise’s long-term success, Standig adds.

We have more on the Wizards:

  • With Wall’s super-max extension kicking in, owner Ted Leonsis wants his star point guard to take all the time necessary to make sure he’s fully ready when he starts playing again, as Leonsis expressed in an NBC Sports podcast and relayed by Chase Hughes“John understands his commitment will show from this rehab,” Leonsis said. “If it takes the whole season, we don’t care. We are not putting pressure on you on a time. Make sure that you are rehabilitating in the right way so that when you do come back, you don’t have that little voice in your head [saying], ‘Did I do everything the right way to be able to come back and be a great, great player?'”
  • North Carolina shooting guard Coby White and Kentucky small forward Keldon Johnson are among the prospects the Wizards are bringing in for workouts, Hughes reports in post written by NBC Sports Washington’s Josh Luckenbaugh. White is currently ranked No. 8 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and the Wizards have the ninth pick. Johnson is ranked at No. 19. The Wizards will also soon bring in Georgetown’s Trey Mourning, Duke’s Marques Bolden and Temple’s Shizz Alston Jr.
  • Unless the franchise promotes interim president Tommy Sheppard and ends its long search for a new front office leader to replace Ernie Grunfeld, it’s unknown who will determine Washington’s draft decisions this month, Hughes writes in a separate story.

Wizards Notes: Brooks, Wall, Draft

Scott Brooks still has two years and $14MM left on his contract and while he hasn’t heard a definite answer on his future, he expects to be on the Wizards‘ bench next season.

“I haven’t been told anything different,” Brooks said (via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post). “I’m not saying this in an arrogant way, but I worry about my job day-to-day. I don’t worry about my job long-term. I worry about doing my job today. If that’s good, I can do it again tomorrow.”

The Wizards were plagued with injuries this season, but Brooks has done well with the hand he was dealt. Bradley Beal evolved into a premier player under his leadership and Brooks made several prudent rotation decisions, such as inserting Thomas Bryant into the starting lineup instead of Ian Mahinmi when Dwight Howard was forced out of action. Mahinmi was the team’s fourth-highest paid player at the time so the decision wasn’t an easy one to make.

Here’s more from Washington:

  • Brooks acknowledges that he has to continue to improve as a coach, as Buckner relays in the same piece. His defensive scheme could be an area where change occurs.“We have to, myself and my staff and I have to be — I have to evaluate just like Ted and our new person will evaluate, as well,” Brooks said. “But it’s a lot of things we have to look at, and everything is on the table.”
  • According to some within the Wizards‘ organization, John Wall lost his edge once he signed his mammoth deal and some questioned his level of commitment to the game, The Athletic’s Michael Lee writes. Wall has gained a greater appreciation for the game being away from basketball and he’s anxious to prove all of his doubters wrong. “Just hearing what people say, that just keeps my fuel going,” Wall said. “I read all the articles. It’s over. His career is over. All that type of stuff. So, it’s fun for me.”
  • The Wizards can’t let Wall deter them from drafting a top point guard prospect during the upcoming draft, Lee argues in the same piece. The scribe believes Washington should take Ja Morant if available but ultimately the team needs to take the best player available regardless of position.