Eric Bledsoe probably isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The Phoenix Suns are asking a king’s ransom for the star point guard, and several teams have apparently been taken aback at the asking price for the 27-year-old.
Then again, Bledsoe will still have to answer for his infamous tweet in which he publicly asked for a trade. Or he was at the hair salon, which some aren’t buying.
In either case, the NBA has reportedly fined Bledsoe $10,000 for the public request. This would stand in line with the league fining players for public trade requests. A recent case occurred when former Suns forward Markieff Morris publicly said he was not going to be in Phoenix in 2015.
Scoop: NBA fined Eric Bledsoe $10,000 for Oct. 22 Tweet in which he said, "I Dont wanna be here." Details soon at https://t.co/ZbmnnmvhsH
This makes a lot of sense from a league perspective. Teams lose a lot of bargaining power when a player’s trade desires become public knowledge, and thus can cloud the competitive nature of trading players.
Meanwhile, Bledsoe has been banished from the team.
Bradley Beal on Wizards spot in East: ‘I feel like we’re the best team’
In the aftermath of Gordon Hayward‘s likely season-ending injury for Boston, the question popped up: Could any other team in the East rise up and challenge Cleveland? And with the Cavaliers stumbling out of the gate, dare teams even dream of more?
The Washington Wizards popped into my head, and I am not alone.
Then I saw them play in person against the Lakers, a game where they were unimpressive and lost. A couple of nights ago they gave up 122 points to the Suns and lost at home.
“I feel like we’re the best team. That’s just the way I feel. I always stand by it because I mean, why would I sit here and say another team’s better than my team? I’m not going to sit here and do that. I’ve got confidence in myself and my teammates and what we can bring to our team and what we can accomplish.”
Beal never lacks for confidence.
It’s early, maybe by the end of the season the Wizards can be a threat in the East, but right now they are just okay. They are not focused and certainly not consistent.
Plus, the old problem of the bench being a disaster is back. The Wizards starting five right now — John Wall, Beal, Kelly Oubre Jr., Otto Porter, and Marcin Gortat — is outscoring opponents by 23.6 points per 100 possessions, but dip into the bench and Washington gets outplayed nightly.
The Wizards are fifth in the NBA in offensive rating (points scored per possession), but take garbage time out of the equation (as Ben Falk does at Cleaning the Glass) and they drop to a pedestrian 12th. The Wizards are doing well in transition, as you would expect with a Wall led team, and the Wall/Gortat pick-and-roll is always strong, but they are not getting a lot of points in the paint (38.2 percent of their points have come in the paint, 25th in the NBA), and they are not taking enough threes (23rd in the NBA in percentage of points from three, once garbage time stats are removed). That means a lot of midrange jumpers, and while Beal and Porter can hit them, it’s not the most efficient way to score.
The Wizards will get Markieff Morris back soon and that will help with depth, allowing Oubre to return to a sixth man role (where he should thrive, he’s been impressive this year as well). It’s early, and Beal is always confident, but right now the Wizards do not look like a team threatening anyone. They need to improve to get where they think they belong.
Three Things to Know: What is wrong with the Cavaliers?
Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA. Or, what you missed yesterday while bingeing the new season of Stranger Things. For a second time.
1) What is wrong with the Cavaliers? It’s a combination of three things.It’s early. The NBA tends to follow form over the marathon of the season and especially in playoff series. Which is to say LeBron James is right when he said, “It’s a long season. It’s way too (early to judge]).”
That said, the Cavaliers have lost games to the Magic, Nets, Pelicans, and Knicks in four of their last five games — coach Tyronn Lue called the last one to New York “unacceptable. In those five games the Cavaliers have the second-worst defense in the NBA and have been outscored by 11.2 points per 100 possessions, The Cavs are now 3-4 on the season, and after opening night they had a very soft schedule. All of this gets viewed through the lens of LeBron making his decision on where to play next season.
What’s wrong? Here are three things I see.
• They are in a malaise on defense. Defense in the NBA starts with effort, and the Cavaliers have given almost none of it. This shows up mostly on defensive rotations, if a team can move the ball the Cavaliers fail to rotate and spot-up shooters are getting great looks. But it’s more than that, it’s guys slowly jogging back in transition defense (the not-so-speedy Knicks abused them here), or not helping in isolation situations. Part of this is personnel — if you play Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, and Kevin Love heavy minutes it will take a toll on your defense. Tyronn Lue said conditioning — the oldest team in the NBA, plus going to the Finals three straight seasons — has played a role. Okay, but the effort is not there, and that without that nothing happens.
• The offense hasn’t been good enough to cover the D up. In recent years when the Cavaliers have decided to take a vacation from playing defense, their offense was good enough to cover it and still get the team wins. Not this time. In their last five games the Cavaliers offense has been pretty much average (18th in the NBA). They haven’t shot the ball terribly well, or gotten enough easy buckets in transition. LeBron James has been brilliant, but the rest of the Cavs? This graphic from NBA Math sums it up well (using data from before the Knicks game).
• The Cavs are still trying to integrate a lot of new faces. This is the most hopeful thing for Cavaliers fans — this team should improve as the season goes along. They are integrating Jae Crowder and Dwyane Wade into the rotation, plus still getting Kevin Love used to being in the starting five. There were bound to be kinks, and some are being worked out (J.R. Smith now starting for Wade). Plus, they will get Isaiah Thomas back in January, boosting their depth and shooting. This team is going to get better and should be who we expected when it matters come the end of the season and playoffs. But now, they are off to a rough start.
2) Victor Oladipo drains stepback three to lift Pacers over Spurs. The Spurs are another power team in a little slump, they have lost two in a row on their road trip.
The latest came Sunday at the hands of the Indiana Pacers, on a Victor Oladipo step-back three over LaMarcus Aldridge — then watch Oladipo yell “This is my city” after the make.
3) Bradley Beal, Draymond Green dodge suspensions. I find it easier to predict the strike zone in Game 5 of the World Series (that thing was all over the place for both teams) than I do the NBA’s suspension vs. fine structure. I watched the fight below and thought suspensions were coming for Beal and Green.
Nope, Beal was fined $50,000 and Green $25,000. Our Dane Carbaugh estimated those salaries works out to 5.7 minutes of gameplay for Beal and 3.75 minutes for Green.
Kelly Oubre Jr. picked up a $15,000 fine for jumping into the fray.
The real punishments came down on the Wizards’ Markieff Morris and Carrick Felix, who will be suspended for a game apiece for leaving the bench during a fight. So just to be clear: Start a fight on the court, lose 4-6 minutes of salary, leave the bench during the fight get suspended for a game. That totally seems fair.
Draymond Green, Bradley Beal avoid suspension for fight, earn fines
There was an assumption that significant suspensions could be handed out for members of the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards after Draymond Green and Bradley Beal got into an altercation this week. According to the NBA, only Markieff Morris and Carrick Felix will be suspended for a game apiece for their involvement in the scrum and for leaving the bench.
That means Beal and Green will be fined $50,000 and $25,000 respectively. Washington’s Kelly Oubre will also be fined $15,000.
The fight broke out during a rebound attempt underneath the basket on Friday when Beal and Green got tied up together. Beal appeared to be the initializer, and the two mostly just aggressively hugged until the officials separated them.
That didn’t stop several teammates from rushing to their aid, including Oubre, who accidentally punched John Wall in the back of the head. Meanwhile, Morris came off the bench in street clothes and was knee deep underneath the stanchion.
This is the second such instance this season of a player losing a game due to leaving the bench. Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum was suspended for the first game of the season after leaving the bench during a stoppage of play in a preseason game.
That didn’t make a lot of sense to those around the NBA, and neither did Green’s fine to Warriors coach Steve Kerr. When asked about the $25,000 Green would need to fork over to the league, Kerr had this to say:
So to reiterate: leaving the bench during an altercation is a suspension. Getting into a fight where you are locked up and fall down is just a cash penalty. Student loan money. By my math, it’s something like 5.7 minutes of gameplay for Beal and 3.75 minutes for Green.
Nothing to see here. Go back to your seats.
These teams play again on Wednesday, February 28.
Draymond Green on fight with Beal: “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do if someone hits you twice”
It all started with about 23 seconds left in the first half, when Green blocked a shot by Beal. The ball caromed to Kelly Oubre Jr. and he took a three, while Beal and Green battled for rebounding position. Beal seemed to try to tie up Green, and in the process struck him in the face, and inadvertent or not Green was going to have none of it and turned on Beal. Quickly everyone on the court — and a couple of people off the court from the Raptors bench — came up and joined the scrum.
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do if someone hits you twice,” Green told ESPN as he left the locker room at halftime. “Man, you’re taught as a kid not to allow that. What was I supposed to do?”
Beal wasn’t going to say anything to get him in more trouble. He got into a verbal spat with a fan on his way to the locker room after his ejection that reportedly included some foul language.
“Things were said. Things were done throughout the whole game. But I’m not going to go into detail,” he said, saying that he would “do that with the league tomorrow.”
I would expect both men to get a suspension out of this, but predicting the NBA’s punishment system is like predicting a roulette wheel.
Suspensions also are likely coming for the Wizards’ Markieff Morris and Carrick Felix, who left the Washington bench and went toward the scrum. Morris was in street clothes, still out after hernia surgery, and played a role in breaking up the scrum, but that likely will not save him.