Wizards Rumors

Heat Notes: Paul, Beal, Expiring Contracts, Waiters

The Heat and Thunder never came close to making a deal involving Chris Paul, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Miami was pursuing Russell Westbrook before Oklahoma City agreed to trade him to Houston last week. The focus shifted to a possible deal that would bring Paul to the Heat, but they don’t have the same level of enthusiasm about acquiring him that they did for Westbrook. (Twitter link). A report today indicates that Oklahoma City is pessimistic about its chances of moving Paul and may keep him on the roster for the entire season.

The Heat were only willing to take on the three years and $124MM left on Paul’s contract if OKC met certain demands, including the return of Miami’s draft picks for 2021 and 2023, Jackson adds. The Heat are reluctant to absorb that much salary because it would restrict their flexibility for the summer of 2021.

There’s more from South Florida:

  • Miami’s next chance to add a star could come if Bradley Beal turns down an extension offer from the Wizards, according to Jackson (Twitter link). He suggests the Heat will be among the teams contacting Washington about Beal if they don’t reach an agreement. Beal will become eligible for the extension, which would pay him $111MM over three seasons, on July 26. Jackson notes that the Wizards have turned aside all trade offers involving Beal so far, but he will become a free agent in 2021 without the extension.
  • Some of the Heat’s expiring contracts don’t look so bad after this summer’s spending and may prove to be valuable trade assets, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson both have 2020/21 player options, but Winderman states that Olynyk might opt out of his $13.2MM salary in view of this year’s market. Johnson is more likely to opt in for $16MM because of his age. Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard have expiring deals with no options and are expected to be trade chips.
  • Frustrated by jokes over his body last season, Dion Waiters showed off his leaner, stronger physique in an Instragram post Monday, as relayed in an ESPN story. Waiters admits to being in a “dark place mentally & physically” during the past season as he tried to shake off the effects of an ankle injury.

Contract Details For Admiral Schofield

  • No. 42 overall pick Admiral Schofield got a three-year contract from the Wizards with the first two years guaranteed and a $300K guarantee on year three, tweets Siegel. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link), Schofield’s deal starts at $1MM in his rookie season.

Wizards Sign Justin Robinson

As expected, the Wizards have signed undrafted rookie Justin Robinson to an NBA contract. The signing is listed in NBA.com’s transactions log, confirming that it’s now official. Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported Robinson’s agreement with Washington after the draft, tweeting that it would be a multiyear deal.

While the exact terms of Robinson’s contract aren’t yet known, I’d expect it to be worth the minimum salary. Still, using the mid-level exception, the Wizards could offer up to four years. Charania also noted last month that the deal would feature a “substantial” guarantee.

A 6’2″ guard, Robinson averaged 13.5 PPG, 5.0 APG, and 3.2 RPG with a .418 3PT% in 24 games in his senior season at Virginia Tech. He ranked 12th on Jonathan Givony’s list of undrafted prospects at ESPN.com.

If Charania is right that Robinson signed a multiyear deal with a “substantial” guarantee, that suggests the team doesn’t necessarily view him as a prospect who will be released to join the Capital City Go-Go as an affiliate player after attending camp with Washington.

The Wizards currently project to have 13 players on guaranteed contracts, so perhaps Robinson will fill one of the final two roster spots on the 15-man squad when the regular season begins.

Latest On Bradley Beal

The Wizards have publicly maintained that they have no interest in trading All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal. But if Beal opts not to ink a three-year, $111MM extension expected to be offered later this month, things may change, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.

Despite Beal’s reported interest in the aforementioned extension, there is growing sentiment around the NBA that the extension is not a done deal and that Beal will likely not remain in Washington for the entirety of his career. As Buckner reports, one well-placed person within the NBA has predicted that Beal is “out of there.”

Two of the factors that lead those in the know, including several NBA executives, to surmise that Beal may now be interested in moving on are the Wizards’ ostensible rebuilding efforts and the lack of permanent leadership at the top of the organization.

The Wizards let promising point guard and restricted free agent Tomas Satoransky leave in free agency, and the team has perhaps signaled it wants to go younger by acquiring seven players with one or fewer years of NBA service this summer, including first-round pick Rui Hachimura.

Additionally, more than 100 days have now passed since the Wizards parted ways with Ernie Grunfeld, and the open president of basketball operations position remains a hot topic around the league, with one Western Conference senior executive saying it would be hard to predict Beal’s future until the team’s leadership is settled.

If Beal decides not to sign an extension, it will force Washington into the same conundrum that other teams have recently faced, and as Buckner notes, when a star player does not sign an extension, it usually ends with a break-up between player and team (see the Knicks and Kristaps Porzingis and the Celtics and Kyrie Irving as two recent examples). “If he doesn’t accept [the extension],” said a rival general manager, “it will be a big blow to Washington.”

Given Beal’s talent, there will be multiple franchises interested in his services should the Wizards change course and put the 26-year-old All-Star on the trading block. But it would likely take an organization with draft picks and young prospects intriguing to the Wizards to pull off a potential trade for Beal. Buckner notes the Nuggets, Heat, and Timberwolves as franchises that fit that criteria.

Admiral Schofield Signs Rookie Deal With Wizards

JULY 14: Schofield’s signing is official, the Wizards confirmed on Twitter.

JULY 12: Second-round pick Admiral Schofield has agreed to a three-year contract with the Wizards, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

The Wizards acquired the 6’5” Schofield in a draft-night deal with the Sixers. The University of Tennessee product averaged 16.5 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 31.8 MPG during his senior year. He shot 38.7% from long range during his four years with the Vols.

He has averaged 8.0 PPG in 20.8 MPG during four summer league in Las Vegas. He’ll likely spend most of his rookie campaign in the G League with the Capital City Go-Go.

Trade Details: Napier, Graham, Warriors, Pacers, More

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders has provided some additional details on one of the most interesting trade sequences of the offseason, filling in the blanks on the deals that sent Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham from Brooklyn to Golden State to Minnesota.

As previously outlined by cap guru Albert Nahmad (Twitter link), in order to match salaries in their sign-and-trade deal for Kevin Durant ($38,199,000), the Nets had to send out $30,479,200 in salaries of their own, but D’Angelo Russell‘s maximum salary was only worth $27,285,000.

Brooklyn included Napier’s ($1,845,301) and Graham’s ($1,645,357) non-guaranteed contracts to make up that $3,194,200 difference, but had to partially guarantee those salaries in order for them to count for salary-matching purposes. According to Pincus (via Twitter), the Nets did so by giving each player a guarantee worth $1,597,100.

The hard-capped Warriors, who only took on the duo in order to acquire Russell, didn’t want those contracts on their books, so they flipped them to the Timberwolves in a separate trade. According to Pincus (via Twitter), Golden State paid $3.6MM in cash to Minnesota in that deal, more than enough to cover both players’ full salaries and make it worth the Wolves’ while (Napier’s and Graham’s combined salaries total $3.5MM for 2019/20).

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Offseason Trades]

Interestingly, teams are limited to sending out a total of $5,617,000 in cash in trades during the 2019/20 league year, and the Warriors have now sent out $3.6MM to Minnesota and $2MM to Memphis (in the Andre Iguodala deal). In other words, Golden State won’t have the ability to send out additional cash later in the season in another trade.

Here are more details on recent trades:

  • In the three-way trade that landed them T.J. Warren from Phoenix and three future second-round picks from Miami, the Pacers sent $1.1MM in cash to the Suns, per Pincus (Twitter link).
  • The Clippers sent $110K to the Heat in the four-team Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade deal, says Pincus (Twitter link). That small amount of cash – the minimum allowable in a trade – was the only outgoing piece for the Clips in a swap that landed them Maurice Harkless, the Heat’s lottery-protected 2023 first-round pick (later included in the Paul George package), and the draft rights to 2017 second-rounder Mathias Lessort.
  • In addition to getting $1.1MM from the Wizards in their three-team Anthony Davis trade, the Pelicans also received $1MM in cash from the Lakers, tweets Pincus. Pincus also notes that Washington used its trade exception from February’s Markieff Morris trade to take on Bonga’s $1.42MM salary. That exception was originally worth $8.6MM and was also used to acquire Davis Bertans ($7MM), so it has essentially been all used up.

Wizards Sign Isaiah Thomas

JULY 10: The Wizards have officially signed Thomas, the team announced today in a press release.

“This is an ideal fit for both us and Isaiah” Wizards interim head of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard said in a statement. “He is eager to show he has regained the form that made him one of the most effective and unique players in the league and we can provide the opportunity to allow him to do so within the framework of our team concept. We value his leadership and experience.”

JULY 1: Isaiah Thomas has agreed to sign a one-year contract with the Wizards, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Thomas will receive the veteran’s minimum, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets.

It’s the latest attempt by Thomas to resurrect his career after two lost seasons. He averaged a career-best 28.9 PPG in 2016/17 season with the Celtics but hasn’t been the same since hip surgery. He appeared in just 12 games with the Nuggets last season, averaging 8.1 PPG and 1.9 APG in 15.1 MPG.

He’s the second diminutive point man that has decided to join Washington next season. Ish Smith, formerly of the Pistons, reached a two-year deal with the Wizards. John Wall is expected to miss most of next season after rupturing his Achilles in February.

The team also agreed to move Tomas Satoransky, who played a lot of point guard in Wall’s absence, to the Bulls in a sign-and-trade.

Free Agent Notes: Ellis, Green, Speights

Representatives from nearly half of the league’s teams were in attendance for a workout that included former NBA stars Amar’e Stoudemire and Monta Ellis, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

The Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, Knicks, Thunder, Bucks, Pistons, Kings, Nuggets, Blazers, Magic, Hawks, Wolves and Wizards were all in attendance. Haynes adds that 15 international teams from Europe and Asia also had representatives in Las Vegas for the workout.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Spurs, Nuggets, and Knicks were all interested in JaMychal Green before the forward re-signed with the Clippers, Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes. Those teams were offering him a more lucrative offer than the one he signed with Los Angeles. The Clippers put on a “full-court press” to retain Green, Buha adds, and the 29-year-old ended up inking a two-year deal worth slightly under $10MM.
  • Green has the ability to be a free agent next summer, having secured a player option as part of his deal with the Clippers. Buha (in the same piece) speculates that Green could have commanded a deal in the $10MM+ range this offseason and that the forward should have the opportunity for a similar contract next summer.
  • Mo Speights, who played in China last season, is working out for teams in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated tweets. Speights last played in the NBA for the Magic during the 2017/18 season.

Isaiah Thomas Talks New Deal; Wizards Seek Assistant Coach

  • Speaking to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, new Wizards point guard Isaiah Thomas said his free agency this time around was all about “opportunity,” since he wanted to join a team that would give him a chance to play a regular role. “When the Wizards called and showed interest, with John Wall being out possibly the whole year, that seemed like a big opportunity for me to be able to showcase that I’m 100 percent healthy and that I can still play at the high level that I’m used to playing at,” Thomas said.
  • The Wizards are interviewing candidates in an effort to hire a new assistant to Scott Brooks‘ coaching staff, reports Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. While it’s not clear what kind of coach the team is seeking, Hughes notes that there has been talk within the franchise about finding someone with a “strong defensive track record.”

Knicks Notes: Portis, Randle, Smith Jr., Westbrook

The way free agency played out came as no surprise to newly acquired Knicks big man Bobby Portis, relays Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Portis said was certain in February that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were planning to team up in Brooklyn for the Nets.

“We all knew that. Everybody knew that,” he said. “I just don’t think the media knew that. Us basketball players, we all knew that. … I’m not going to leak my source. But we all know where they were going.”

That decision eliminated one possibility for Portis, who wanted to play in New York. He said the Bucks, Wizards, Clippers and Lakers were among the teams that expressed interest, but his first choice was the Knicks, who needed help in their frontcourt. Portis was primarily a power forward in Chicago and a center in Washington and feels comfortable at either position.

“I’m (gonna) be playing in a beautiful city for the New York Knicks,” he said. “That’s a dream come true. … Being able to have a chance to play in Madison Square Garden for 41-plus nights, it’s a thrill. It’s what everybody dreams of as a kid. I’m ecstatic.”

There’s more today from New York City:

  • A “dream come true” is also how Julius Randle described his opportunity with the Knicks to Marc Berman of The New York Post. With a three-year, $61MM deal, Randle is the only one of New York’s six free agent additions to get a contract guaranteed beyond one season. “I had a lot of options,” Randle said. “I felt this opportunity for me was the greatest opportunity. The whole fan base that’s staving and hungry to win more than (any team) in the NBA.”
  • The Knicks are coming off a 17-win season and didn’t make the splash in free agency that fans were hoping for, but Dennis Smith Jr. expressed confidence to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that they can be a playoff team. He cites not only an upgraded roster, but his own improved jump shot. Bondy notes that Smith is going to be challenged for the starting point guard role by the newly signed Elfrid Payton, who was drafted in Orlando by Knicks GM Scott Perry.
  • Russell Westbrook‘s age, salary and lack of efficiency make him too much of a risk for the Knicks, argues Tommy Beer of Forbes. New York has been among the teams rumored to have interest in Westbrook since news of the Paul George trade broke yesterday, but its free agents signings will make it difficult to put together a deal until they’re all eligible to be traded on December 15.