Can Washington get Bradley Beal to take less than a max contract extension?

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Is Bradley Beal a max player?

The answer isn’t simple. Remember that there are levels of max player (nobody is saying Beal is Anthony Davis). Beal is both looking for an extension of his rookie deal and is certainly a core part of Washington’s future. Those kinds of guys get max money. On the down side, he was inconsistent last season and has missed time for three straight seasons due to a stress reaction in his leg. On the upside, he shot 40.9 percent from three last season, and he led Washington with 23.4 points a game in the playoffs. This is a guy invited to Team USA mini-camp this month — Mike Krzyzewski sees his value.

The sides are talking, and you can be sure Beal and his agent Mark Bartelstein are asking for the max.

But for Washington there is another complication — Kevin Durant. The Wizards need the cap space to try to bring next summer’s biggest free agent home to play in the nation’s capital (although that is a longshot), and a max deal for Beal makes that difficult, as Zach Lowe explains at Grantland.

The Wizards need about $25.5 million in room to fit Kevin Durant on a max contract, and if they sign Beal to a max-level extension, they would have almost precisely that amount left over. Playing the math that tight is dangerous, and makes it hard to fill a workable roster unless ring-chasers come aboard at massive discounts. The Wiz would be safer following the path San Antonio took with Leonard, only they haven’t built up the cachet that allowed the Spurs to say, essentially, “Trust us. Hold tight as a cheap cap hold, and we’ll make it worth your while.” Washington needs to nurture the good vibes, and that means at least coming to the table.

Beal may want his money now, and his side will surely propose a max-level extension. He hasn’t played up to that level yet, but 22 year olds with silky strokes and some grit on defense don’t readily accept less.

You can be sure this is where the negotiations are right now. The Wizards are likely offering just less than the max by a few million, just to give them some financial flexibility. Beal is asking for the max.

Will Beal take a little less for financial security, considering that stress reaction history? If he stays healthy this season, other teams will throw max money at him next summer when the system is flush with television money teams need to spend.

But is Beal going to bet on himself to stay healthy and have a big year? Or does he take a little less and four years of security?

The lesson of this free agent summer was guys went for security over potentially slightly larger paydays down the line. Don’t be surprised if Beal does the same.

Kevin Durant introduces shoe inspired by his MVP speech suit (VIDEO)

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Kevin Durant’s heartfelt 2014 MVP speech is one of the most memorable NBA moments of the last few years. His green-and-purple suit from the ceremony isn’t at the top of the list of reasons why (that would go to “You the real MVP”), but it was still impossible to ignore. And now, Durant is commemorating it with a new edition of his KD8 shoe from Nike, called the KD8 Suit.

Here’s the video in which Durant introduces the shoe:

It’s a cool idea and a sharp-looking shoe. Not one everyone can pull off, but if you can, it looks well worth the purchase.

Report: John Wall, after uncertainty, will attend Team USA minicamp

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USA Basketball reportedly had doubts John Wall would attend next week’s minicamp.

Considering USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo made attendance mandatory for making the 2016 Olympic roster, that could have ended Wall’s Rio bid.

But he’ll keep his name in the hat.

J. Michael of CSN Washington:

Bradley Beal will have his backcourt mate, John Wall, when USA Basketball holds camp in Las Vegas starting a week from today, CSNwashington.com has been told by a person with knowledge of the situation.

I’m glad Wall is attending. He wasn’t happy to get cut from Team USA for last year’s World Cup, and I could see why he’d be disenchanted with the program.

But I think he has a real enough chance to make the Olympic squad.

Three point guards represented the U.S. in the World Cup: Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry. Rose is uncertain about sticking with Team USA. Irving is coming off a major injury, and his Cavaliers project to advance deep into next year’s playoffs.

There’s less reason to downgrade Curry’s chances for 2016. Plus, two 2012 Olympians – Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook – are strongly in the mix.

So, it won’t be easy for Wall to make the 2016 Olympics. The U.S. is deep with point guards. But it’s not impossible.

For the same reason, I hope Damian Lillard reconsiders and attends the minicamp. I think he has a chance at the Olympics, too.

There’s probably more in it for Wall, though. Even if he doesn’t make the Olympic roster, at least Wall will get more face time with Kevin Durant during the camp.

Kobe Bryant, can this Laker team make the playoffs? “Of course it can. Absolutely.”

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Kobe Bryant’s confidence is legendary.

So when Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears asked this question, he had to know the answer.

With Kobe back, a few solid veterans such as Brandon Bass and Lou Williams, plus young stars like D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, can this Lakers team make the playoffs in a brutal Western Conference?

“Of course it can. Absolutely. We have talented players in their respective positions. We have some really young players. How exactly will the pieces of the puzzle fit? We really don’t know. We are going to [training] camp trying to piece this together just like every other team does. We have to figure out what our strengths are, figure out what our weaknesses are. And every time we step on the court we are going to try to hide our weaknesses and step up to our strengths.”

What did you expect him to say?

He’s wrong, but what did you expect him to say? It’s what GM Mitch Kupchak said as well.

I can hear the comments from the blind faith in Kobe/Lakers fans now, “everyone has doubted Kobe his entire career, he has proved everybody wrong. He will do it again.” That nobody believed in Kobe is a myth in the first place, but even he can’t overcome these hurdles.

Lakers won 21 games last season, and last season it took 45 wins to make the playoffs in the West — and that number likely goes up next season. The Lakers will be improved, but 24 games improved? Have you seen the West?

There are a lot of questions to answer and a lot of development that has to happen for these Lakers. Russell may develop into a quality point guard one day, but he’s a rookie with a steep learning curve (and he showed how steep at Summer League). Randle needs to diversify his offensive game. Clarkson is still growing and will have to work more off the ball. There are new players to fit in the mix with Bass, Williams and Roy Hibbert.

The real question is defense, the Lakers were terrible last season and likely not much improved this year. Hibbert was a rock-solid defensive anchor a couple of years ago in Indiana, but on a team with quality perimeter defenders (Paul George, Goerge Hill) who funneled drives right to him and allowed him to use his size. The Lakers lack those kinds of perimeter defenders, plus Hibbert has to show he can recognize plays and move in the same way he used to.

The bottom line is you look at the playoffs in the West and see the Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, Rockets, Thunder (with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook back), Grizzlies and Pelicans are locks. That’s seven of the eight seeds. Which leaves the Lakers trying to beat out an improved Jazz team, the Mavericks, Suns, Trail Blazers, and potentially the Kings for that one final playoff spot.

Sorry Kobe, but the 36 wins the Lakers will rack up next season will not be enough.

Cavaliers’ Mozgov can’t sign an extension this summer, wouldn’t want one anyway

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It all started with a good story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about big men getting paid. Big men always get overpaid a little in the NBA because: 1) You still need them; 2) There is a limited supply of good ones.

That story told Cavaliers fans it would make no sense for Timofey Mozgov to sign an extension to his current $4.9 million deal as he enters the last year of his contract (the Cavaliers just picked up the option on next season).

True. But he couldn’t sign one anyway, notes former Nets assistant GM and twitter sensation Bobby Marks.

There is actually nobody on the Cavaliers eligible for a contract extension.

But the point that Mozgov wouldn’t sign one even if he could is valid. Mozgov is making $4.9 million and the most that the Cavaliers could offer in a contract extension is $5.4 million a year as a starting point (a 7.5 percent raise). As arguably the best free agent center on the free agent market next summer, Mozgov will command probably closer to $13 million a year, Marks estimates. Even if that number drops a little over the course of the season, we’re talking about a deal more than double what he could get an extension. Even if he wants to stay a Cavalier, it makes more sense to become a free agent and re-sign than it does to sign an extension.

Unless we’re talking rookie contracts (where the rules are different), contract extensions are very rare in the new CBA. It doesn’t make sense for most players, because they cannot be for the max number of years (why Kevin Durant will not sign one) and raises are limited. Extensions do happen, Danilo Gallinari reached a deal for one with the Nuggets this summer, but they are the exception, not the rule under the new CBA.

Mozgov is going to be an in-demand man next summer.