Report: Bradley Beal’s agent meets with Wizards to discuss guard’s future

Wizards star Bradley Beal
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Bradley Beal‘s agent, Mark Bartelstein, flew to Washington to meet with Wizards management.

And it wasn’t to discuss just Beal undergoing season-ending wrist surgery.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal — who’ll undergo season-ending surgery on his left wrist — and his agent Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports met with owner Ted Leonsis and general manager Tommy Sheppard on Monday to discuss the three-time All-Star’s future and the franchise’s plans for constructing a roster, sources told ESPN.

The conversation — which included reaching a consensus on Beal’s ultimate decision to repair a torn scapholunate ligament — will start to shape Beal’s decision on his future with the organization.

Beal and Bartelstein have been in consistent contact with ownership and management about the direction of the franchise, and the Monday meeting in Washington D.C. was further dialogue ahead of the Thursday’s trade deadline.

This sounds ominous.

Beal and the Wizards are at an inflection point. This is their last chance to trade him before he can become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Though his injury saps his value to any team that wanted him for the 2022 playoffs, perhaps a team would still trade to acquire his Bird Rights now if Beal pledges to re-sign. That team would not have to open cap space, not trigger a hard cap with a sign-and-trade and not risk tampering penalties with an opt-in-and-trade in the summer. Plus, Beal could secure more money than he’d get joining a new team through a different route this summer.

Because of his injury, Beal could reconsider the $181,301,299 max contract extension Washington can offer right now. Probably not, though. His max on a new contract in free agency projects to be about $245 million over five years if he re-signs or about $182 million over four years if he leaves.

The Wizards prefer to keep Beal. But what does he want?

Bartelstein is presumably conveying that to Washington.

This report feels similar to when Ben Simmons‘ agent, Rich Paul, met with the 76ers in June. Wojnarowski at the time:

Discussions on Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons’ future with the franchise started in Chicago this week and included Simmons’ agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, and Sixers management, sources told ESPN.

Paul met with president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand at the pre-draft combine to begin evaluating the next steps in Simmons’ Sixers career, sources said.

Though Wojnarowski reported “no request was made,” Morey later revealed: “They came to us and asked for a trade shortly after the season, his representatives in Chicago. We were not looking to trade him.”

Maybe we’ll eventually hear what Bartelstein and the Wizards discussed this week.

At some point, Beal’s future with the franchise will come into focus.

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

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Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.