Rumor: Heat think they could make John Wall an All-Star if Wizards trade materialized

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Would the Washington Wizards be willing to trade Bradley Beal to dump John Wall? This is the question posited throughout much of this offseason in D.C., but it hasn’t come to fruition just yet.

Beal hasn’t signed a new contract with the Wizards, but there is little doubt that they will offer him an extension in the future. Whether Beal wants to stay in Washington long-term is another thing altogether. Wall still has to come back from his injury, and even then it’s not clear whether he would be a top player when he does.

The problem is that even if Beal signs a contract to stay in Washington, he would do it knowing he would always be saddled with whatever becomes of Wall.

Meanwhile, the Miami Heat have been in rumors surrounding both Wall and Beal all summer long. Pat Riley has tried to rebuild his team starting with star power by signing Jimmy Butler. It has been thought that the Heat will want to add another player here soon, and both Wall and Beal have been mentioned alongside guys like Chris Paul.

So, would the Heat take on Wall if it meant getting Beal? According to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, Miami thinks they can rehab Wall enough to make things work between him, Beal, and Butler.

Via Miami Herald:

What about the other scenario, with the Heat taking on both Wall and Beal with the understanding that Miami wouldn’t need to give up nearly as much quality in return?

As we reported in early July, that scenario has been seriously discussed inside the Heat and there’s sentiment to do that, because of how much the Heat loves Beal and because of the internal belief that Miami can get Wall back to All-Star level following his ruptured Achilles, which is expected to sideline him this upcoming season.

But the Wizards have shown no inclination to package Beal with Wall in an attempt to purge the final four years and $171 million of Wall’s contract.

This is all to say nothing of the fact that Washington doesn’t seem inclined to use Beal to get off of Wall. The star point guard’s massive contract is an albatross, one that will be hard to trade save for a deal like the one that Oklahoma City found with the Houston Rockets in exchanging Russell Westbrook and Paul.

The Heat have a desire to be a good team and quickly — at least that’s the rumor — and them wanting to grab Beal away from the Wizards makes sense. If they have the “internal belief” they can make Wall a useful player once again, more power to them I guess.

Washington doesn’t want to budge for the time being, and that makes sense, too. Often NBA teams Chase good money after bad, and utilizing Beal as a trade piece to offload Wall would be doing exactly that (especially if Beal wants to re-sign in D.C.)

For now, Butler is just hanging out in South Beach but I feel like he won’t be there alone for long.

Knicks’ Obi Toppin out at least 2-3 weeks with knee fracture

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Obi Toppin is a fan favorite and Knicks faithful were hoping to see more of him as the season progresses.

However, they are not going to see any of him for at least the next 2-3 weeks due to a fractured knee, the team announced.

Toppin suffered the injury in New York’s win Wednesday over Atlanta, the same game that saw Dejounte Murray sprain his ankle leading him to be out for a few weeks.

Toppin — the reigning All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk contest champion — is averaging 7.7 points in 25 games off the bench. With him out, coach Tom Thibodeau suggested he could lean more on RJ Barrett, asking him to play up at the four.

Report: Zach LaVine not available for trade from Bulls

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Front offices of potential contenders from Los Angeles to Philadelphia have their eyes on the Chicago Bulls — will the struggling Bulls pivot to chase Victor Wembanyama and the top of the lottery, making them sellers at the trade deadline? Teams have interest in Chicago’s three stars: Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic.

Except just-extended LaVine isn’t currently available, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Wednesday on his network’s pregame show discussing the Knicks.

“The Knicks will be watching Chicago. Is Zach LaVine a player who before the deadline possibly can become available? He certainly isn’t now.”

Chicago is not yet ready to pivot to tanking, so none of its stars are truly available. That said, the Bulls don’t look like a playoff team, they miss Lonzo Ball, and even if things do come together where do they stand in the East hierarchy? If the Bulls do become sellers, they aren’t going to tear this team down to the studs, it would likely be trading just one star. Possibly a second if the offer was strong enough.

LaVine — who signed a five-year, $215 million extension this past summer — is the least likely to be available, league sources have told NBC Sports. The expectation is that Vucevic would be the Bull first made available if the Bulls decide to start seriously listening to offers. And that remains an “if.”

That said, front offices around the league have their eyes trained on Chicago.

Dejounte Murray added to growing Hawks injury report, out 2-3 weeks with sprained ankle

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John Collins is out for at least another week with a sprained ankle. DeAndre Hunter has been out with a strained hip flexor.

Now you can add Dejounte Murray to the Hawks’ growing injury report, he is out at least 2-3 weeks with a sprained ankle, Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic report.

The injury happened on a closeout from RJ Barrett of the Knicks.

The Hawks have already had chemistry and fit issues this season, and missing key players for an extended period only exacerbates the problem. Atlanta looked flat getting their doors blown off by the Knicks Wednesday night, 113-89, a game that added to a string where they have lost 5-of-7. Now they will have to find a way to right the ship without their second-best playmaker.

There also is an update on the Hawks’ play-by-play announcer Bob Rathbun.

NBA, WNBA players react to news Brittney Griner coming home

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Brittney Griner is finally coming home.

The WNBA and USA Basketball star has spent 10 months in Russian prisons — including being convicted and sent to a Russian penal colony — for having vape canisters with small amounts of cannabis oil in her luggage as she went through Russian airport security back in February. She became a political pawn in the tensions between the United States and Russia, mostly surrounding Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, and was freed via a prisoner swap announced Thursday.

The basketball world — WNBA players in particular — had worked to keep her name front and not let Griner be forgotten during this ordeal, pushing President Joe Biden and the government to reach a deal. With the news Griner was freed, NBA and WNBA players took to social media to react.

“Brittney has had to endure an unimaginable situation and we’re thrilled that she is on her way home to her family and friends,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “We thank the members of the NBA and WNBA community who never wavered in their efforts to raise awareness of Brittney’s unjust circumstances.”

“We are overwhelmed with relief and gratitude that our sister Brittney Griner is finally coming home,” the NBPA said in a statement. “Her strength and courage throughout this last year have been truly remarkable, as have the efforts of her wife Cherelle, our WNBPA sisters, Terri Jackson and the WNBPA staff, who have been relentless in their call to bring Brittney home. We know this homecoming would not have been possible without their unwavering support and continued work to keep BG always top of mind, and our players are honored to have contributed to those efforts. While this is a celebratory moment for our sisters and us, we must not forget the other political prisoners who remain in dire circumstances all over the world. These individuals must be remembered and fought for every single day as BG was so that they too can have this moment. Welcome home Brittney, we are so happy to have you back! #WeAreBG”