Andrew Bogut’s elbow is as good as it’s going to get.’

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Andrew Bogut’s not angry with Milwaukee for not contending. He’s not demanding superstar talent alongside him or clamoring for the bright lights of a bigger city and the sponsorship money that comes with it. He’s not even requesting a trade. He’s just fine if it happens. And the reason for that is he just doesn’t want to be “injured Andrew Bogut” anymore. Or “injury-prone Andrew Bogut.” Bogut has suffered some gruesome injuries the past three seasons which have done major damage to his body. But in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel which outlined his current tenuous and potentially temporary trade situation with the Bucks, Bogut talked about his injuries and how they’re not common ligament issues, they’re impact injuries. And the elbow is never going to really improve.

“It’s a frustrating injury because you don’t know the extent of it,” said Bogut, who will have another ankle scan in two or three weeks. “If we made the playoffs, I would like to be back.

“But at the same time, with these injuries you have to be 100%. You come back at 80%, then you have an Achilles’ problem or a calf problem. As opposed to the elbow, where I knew I wasn’t coming back 100%.

“This is a little different. When it’s a wheel carrying 120 kilos, 270 pounds, you’ve got to be careful with it.”

Bogut said his right elbow has improved but will never be the same as it was before his injury.

“The elbow is basically as good as it’s going to get,” Bogut said. “Last season was frustrating.

“It feels great. I had an off-season of shooting and conditioning where I could do that every day without any setbacks, and it (surgery) really helped.”

via Bogut at crossroads with Bucks – JSOnline.

“As good a it’s going to get” is not really what you want to hear if you’re shopping for Bogut.

Bogut could transform a franchise, even without the elbow ever getting better. He’s so good defensively, a team like the Warriors, Bobcats, or Rockets would be dramatically altered by his presence. But you have to have pieces next to him, a true superstar, to win. The injuries will impact his trade value, but Bogut’s on target. He doesn’t suffer from conditioning issues or bad genetics in his knees. He just has bad things that keep happening to him. Maybe a fresh start will mean better times for Bogut and the Bucks. They have to find a deal, first.

Counter-report: Kyrie Irving has been ‘communicative and forthright’ with Celtics

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Kyrie Irving, according to a report, has ghosted the Celtics as free agency approaches.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Whoever leaked the initial information wanted to make Irving look bad. Whoever leaked this wanted to make Irving look good. Who’s telling the truth?

Who knows?

Maybe Irving’s and Boston staffers have differing definitions “communicative and forthright.” They could each be telling their own truths. But neither side is above spreading inaccurate rumors to sully someone else’s reputation.

Breakups get messy, and it appears this one is already there.

Beyond all the noise about how Irving is leaving, the most important detail: This is yet another report he’s leaving for the Nets.

Report: Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist opting in for $13 million

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The Hornets’ last hope for super-maxing out Kemba Walker and avoiding the luxury tax without trading or stretching anyone has been extinguished.

With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist‘s $13 million salary locked in for next season, Charlotte faces hard choices.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

If the Hornets re-sign Walker to the super-max, sign their draft picks (Nos. 12, 36 and 52) and add no other free agents, they’d project to be about $9 million over the tax line.

Would Walker take that large of a discount? That $9 million below the super-max would be for just next season. Over a five-year contract with max raises, he’d be leaving about $54 million on the table. And that’s all to maintain a lottery team that’s not really upgrading.

Would Michael Jordan pay the tax? He never has, and I doubt this mediocre team sways him.

The most likely outcome if Walker re-signs: Charlotte trades an undesirable contract – Kidd-Gilchrist’s, Nicolas Batum‘s, Marvin Williams‘, Cody Zeller‘s) – or stretches Bismack Biyombo. Trading those rotation players would probably require a sweetener. Stretching Biyombo would create a cap hit through 2022.

So, the Hornets get even more depleted in the long-term, maybe also the short-term.

That’s the cost of overpaying so many players – including Kidd-Gilchrist, who plays hard and defends well but hasn’t developed enough of an offensive game.

Report: After working out Darius Garland, Knicks set on R.J. Barrett with No. 3 pick

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R.J. Barrett is the consensus No. 3 prospect in this draft. The Knicks have the No. 3 pick.

A potential snag  – New York working out Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland today – apparently won’t keep Barrett from his desired Knicks.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The top of the draft looks clear:

1. Pelicans: Zion Williamson

2. Grizzlies: Ja Morant

3. Knicks: R.J. Barrett

New Orleans has the No. 4 pick but is looking into trading it. I rate Garland as the top available prospect, but the Pelicans already have Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday in the backcourt. They could still take Garland, but the fit would be tricky.

Will New Orleans pick Garland? Take someone else? Trade the pick?

The draft will get interesting at No. 4.

Trade who? Wizards reportedly will offer Bradley Beal three-year, $111 million contract extension

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Predicting what the Wizards will do this off-season — from the No. 9 pick in the draft on Thursday through what to do with Jabari Parker‘s $20 million team option — is difficult because they do not have a permanent general manager. The Wizards have made a run at Toronto’s Masai Ujiri (something sources told me is true despite owner Ted Leonsis’ denials), but for now in-house candidate Tommy Sheppard is running the show (and will for a while longer).

The biggest question: What will the Wizards do with Bradley Beal?

While every team in the league has called to try and feel out trade possibilities, the Wizards are leaning toward offering him a three-year, $111 million extension to his current contract, something reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

“He’s eligible for a three-year, $111 million extension. I’m told it’s the team’s intention to offer that up to him and try and move forward.”

The Wizards should offer it up.

It would be a surprise if Beal accepted it.

In part because he will want to see who is in charge and what direction this person takes the franchise before he commits to it, but also in part because it doesn’t hurt him financially. Beal can get a larger-year four-year extension in the summer of 2020, or become a free agent and sign a max five-year contract in 2021 (or, he could bolt them to another team that summer). Beal is just 25 years old and has not had the kind of injury issues that would make him think he needs to take the security now (he has played 82 games the last two seasons).

This little dance will go on in our nation’s capital, but it signifies nothing. Meanwhile, Beal will gear up for next season, another without John Wall where Beal will once again be the focal point of the office.