Just when you think Dwyane Wade playing basketball with a 90-year-old woman couldn’t get any better, the Heat star works in a playful dig at Mario Chalmers. Gold!
One voter – Kennegh Lau of BesTV, a Chinese outlet – is responsible all those. His ballot:
G: Stephen Curry (Warriors)
G: James Harden (Rockets)
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)
F: Kevin Durant (Warriors)
C: Joel Embiid (76ers)
G: Klay Thompson, Klay (Warriors)
G: Dwyane Wade (Heat)
F: Danilo Gallinari, Danilo (Clippers)
F: Luka Doncic, Luka (Mavericks)
C: Andre Drummond, Andre (Pistons)
G: Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers)
G: Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
F: Marvin Bagley III (Kings)
F: Pascal Siakam (Raptors)
C: Rudy Gobert (Jazz)
A couple other standout All-NBA votes: Michelle Beadle of ESPN voted Eric Gordon third team at guard ahead of Kemba Walker, Bradley Beal, Klay Thompson, etc. Richard Walker of the Gaston Gazette voted Domantas Sabonis third-team forward ahead of LeBron James (who played more minutes than Sabonis!).
There are outlier votes for every award. You can dig through all the results here. Massimo Lopes Pegna of La Gazzetta Dello Sport (an Italian newspaper) apparently submitted his All-NBA team as his All-Defensive team (though it doesn’t exactly match his actual All-NBA team). Beyond that, these votes aren’t necessarily wrong. The consensus isn’t always right.
But All-NBA voting has taken heightened importance with its super-max connection. Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake. Ballots like Lau’s will increase scrutiny on the system.
That’s an overreaction. There are 100 voters so no single ballot carries too much importance. Again, it’s OK for someone to stray from the consensus.
It’d still be good to reconsider the salary incentives of All-NBA, though. The players who had the best regular seasons – my All-NBA criterion – aren’t necessarily the ones who deserve the highest salaries in years to come. It’s a flawed link, and that goes far beyond Lau’s ballot.
Russell wasn’t ready to run a team on the court. His work ethic and maturity off it left plenty to be desired. Most infamously, he alienated his teammates by recording and posting a video of Nick Young discussing sleeping with women other than his fiancé.
But Russell went to Brooklyn and became an All-Star.
So, with rumors swirling about Russell returning to Los Angeles in free agency, Johnson is changing his tune.
Johnson, via Bill Oram of The Athletic:
“Now he’s ready,” Johnson said. “He’s much more mature. I said the only thing, he was immature back then. He could always score, but the guys would never play with him because of what he did (with the Young video). But now all those guys are gone and he’s on another level now.”
This is peak Johnson – talking about players on other teams (no longer tampering), spinning the story to make himself look good and directing the Lakers’ roster without having to take responsibility for it.
There is truth to what Johnson is saying here. Russell is more mature now. It would have been difficult to keep him in a locker room with teammates who didn’t trust him.
But Johnson is also the one who moved Russell rather than betting on his talent. With the right nurturing, Russell could have become a star in Los Angeles in the first place. The Lakers wouldn’t have to use all their cap room to sign him now. They could have already had him.
It’s a little disingenuous for Johnson to present this as him being right all along.
Markelle Fultz has played just 33 games, the most recent one in November, since the 76ers drafted him No. 1 overall in 2017. Philadelphia traded him to the Magic in February, and he didn’t play at all for Orlando last season.
When will Fultz return?
Magic general manager John Hammond on 96.9 The Game:
He will not play in summer league with us. We didn’t think there was any way that he was going to do that. We didn’t plan on him doing that. So, probably not the place for him right now.
But overall, I can just say that he’s doing well.
He’s working extremely hard. He’s in good shape. His weight is good. His overall body-fat percentage is very good. So, if you look at him, you say, “Wow, he looks great.” So, it’s just a matter of him just continuing to get more comfortable, continuing for him to get himself in a position where he’s ready to step on the floor and help us.
And look, we have no idea when that’s going to be. We’re hoping much, much sooner than later. But once again, we’re trying to do this the best we can, and that’s have that word of patience.
We want to have patience with him and get him ready and put him on the court when he can be most productive.
Patience is probably the right approach, because I don’t know an alternative. But I’m also not sure where patience gets anyone.
Fultz’s issues run so deep. It doesn’t appear time is solving anything. Does Fultz have a long-term injury that’s actually healing? Does he have a mental block that’s actually being addressed? It’d be nice to see some signs of progress.
Unfortunately, that won’t happen in summer league. The next opportunity for Fultz to publicly display his ability will likely be training camp.
But the way this has gone, I have no expectations of Fultz being ready for that, either.
The Wizards don’t have a long-term general manager.
They do have a plan for Bradley Beal.
Washington coach Scott Brooks, acting general manager Tommy Sheppard and owner Ted Leonsis have each conveyed it to the star guard.
Beal said that Leonsis, Sheppard and Coach Scott Brooks have each independently told him in recent weeks that he would not be moved.
“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.”
Leonsis is the most important deliverer of that news. He’s the only one guaranteed to last into a new front-office regime.
These declarations are obviously non-binding, and Leonsis doesn’t have a great track record of sticking by his word. The owner might say John Wall aggravating his injury changed Washington’s outlook. But that’s the point. Situations change.
What happens if the Wizards are one of the NBA’s worst teams next season? That’s quite possible given their roster/cap outlook entering free agency. Would they keep Beal through a year of his prime even if playoff-bound teams are making lucrative trade offers?
And what if Beal reaches the final season of his contract? Would Washington keep him and just hope for the best in unrestricted free agency?
How long does this no-trade pledge last?
The Wizards reportedly plan to offer Beal the largest extension possible this summer. That’d be worth $111,786,897 over three years.
That’s also way less than he could get by playing out the final two years of his contract and hitting 2021 free agency. Especially if he makes an All-NBA team in 2020-21, which would make him super-max eligible. Or he could make an All-NBA team next season that would make him eligible for a super-max extension, which would be worth the same as a new super-max contract as a free agent.
Beal’s projected max contracts:
- Extension in 2019: $111,786,897 over three years ($35,134,668 per year)
- Super-max extension in 2020: $250 million over five years ($50 million per year)
- Re-sign regular-max in 2021: $214 million over five years ($43 million per year)
- Re-sign super-max in 2021: $250 million over five years ($50 million per year)
- Leave in 2021: $159 million over four years ($40 million per year)
So, Beal will likely reject an extension this summer and wait until he makes an All-NBA team or his contract expires, whichever comes first. That’d at least be the financially prudent path.
In the meantime, he can know the Wizards say they won’t trade him – however far that assurance goes.