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Isaiah Thomas says he chose Washington because they were up front, had opportunity

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Monday night, Isaiah Thomas moved into the starting lineup for the Washington Wizards — something that was due with his recent play. It wasn’t a strong night for him — 9 points on 4-of-12 shooting — but he was grateful, as he told Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

“It’s been a long road for me the last couple years. I just really put in the work to finally get healthy and to be able to start,” he said. “I’m never going to quit. No matter what, I’ve been through real-life situations that are bigger than basketball.”

Tuesday, Thomas talked about why he chose Washington this past summer.

The full quote:

“I chose the Wizards because they looked me in the eye and told me they would give me an opportunity and I can’t thank them enough. I know who I am, I’m one of the best basketball players in the world. It doesn’t affect me. I approach the game the same way. But, I mean, I am happy to be starting.”

It was mostly the opportunity — Thomas hoped for a chance to prove himself last season in Denver but the emergence of Jamal Murray cut that back. In Washington — with John Wall injured and Tomas Satoransky off to Chicago — Thomas is going to get his chance. And on a one-year deal if he plays well he can get paid next summer.

There’s a lot of people around the league — and a lot of fellow players — rooting for Thomas to earn that next paycheck.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis: ‘It’s LeBron’s team in L.A. How did it go last year? Did anyone look happy in L.A.?’

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Only two teams have multiple players who’ve been on the team the last eight years:

Golden State built a dynasty. Washington…

Well, it’s not too late to achieve meaningful success. The Wizards still have Wall and and are stating belief in him. They also somehow got Bradley Beal to extend his contract another year.

That Beal extension shocked me. Not only is Beal likely leaving money of the table, he delays an opportunity to join better team.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis indicated some of his sales pitch to Beal on The Habershow:

If you get a young player, and they’re a part of building your culture, and the team and the culture really becomes theirs, right? That’s the key thing. And so, if you’re gifted and you’re going to get paid in the NBA, why go play and be the third wheel, right? It’s almost – it’s counterintuitive to me. Because it’s LeBron’s team in L.A. How did it go last year? Did anyone look happy in L.A.? So, Brad and John and the players here, they’re a part of something. And it’s going to be really, really hard. But if you’re in it together.

It’s a little weird for Leonsis to call out another team like that, but I’m all for people saying how they feel. I’m just unconvinced LeBron James and the Lakers are a good example for Leonsis’ point.

The Lakers didn’t have a second star next to LeBron James last season, let alone a third star. They were miserable because they were a losing team and management/LeBron callously put most of the roster into trade rumors.

Ask Chris Bosh about being third wheel on LeBron’s team. Ask Kevin Love about being third wheel on LeBron’s team. Both had difficulties, to be sure. But both have also expressed how gratifying it was to fill their roles on championship teams.

The better comparison is Kevin Durant, who joined the already-elite Warriors. There are real questions about Durant’s happiness – even while winning two championships – in Golden State. Durant was far from a third wheel. He asserted himself on the Warriors. But he couldn’t shake the feeling he didn’t fit after joining an established elite team.

Maybe he would’ve felt differently if he stayed with the Thunder and led them to a title. Or maybe not.

Everyone is different. Some players want to join other stars. Other players don’t. There’s no “right” way to handle a career.

Washington was fortunate to find a star in Beal who wants to stay – at least another couple seasons. Who knows whether Beal will feel the same way as his contract nears expiration? But the Wizards at least have a chance to build an appealing team around him. It’s on them to take advantage of the opportunity.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis: ‘Why is everyone so positive – Kevin Durant has the same injury as John Wall and is older’

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Kevin Durant, now 31, is out with a torn Achilles. The Nets owe him $164,255,700 over the next four years.

John Wall, now 29, is out with a torn Achilles. The Wizards owe him $171,131,520 over the next four years.

Yet, Brooklyn is viewed to have a bright future in large part due to Durant. Washington is viewed to have a grim outlook in large part due to Wall.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis called out the dichotomy.

Leonsis on The Habershow:

Why is everyone so positive – Kevin Durant has the same injury as John Wall and is older.

Nobody should be positive about either player after their devastating injuries. There was real risk giving Durant a max contract this summer.

But there’s more optimism around Durant than Wall for two main reasons:

1. Durant was better than Wall before getting hurt. Wall showed major signs of decline before getting sidelined last season. Perhaps, that was health-related. But his lackluster production can’t just be swept under the rug. Even if Wall’s slippage were totally health-related, his pre-injury form was well below Durant’s. When Durant went down, he could make a case as the NBA’s very best player. The reasonable expectation should be both players declining from their pre-injury forms, but Durant is declining from a far higher peak.

2. Durant is an elite shooter – a skill that should be less adversely affected by his injury. Wall relies far more on burst and explosion, traits that could be significantly compromised. Loss of athleticism would hinder both players. Given their styles of play, it’d like hurt Wall more.

Report: adidas in talks to buy out John Wall’s shoe contract

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Older players who don’t fit with a team’s plans — or guys willing to take a discount to get out of their contract and move to another team — get bought out of their contracts all the time.

However, a guy getting bought out of a shoe deal. That’s rare.

However, Adidas and John Wall are in talks to do just that, reports Nick DePaula of ESPN:

All-Star point guard John Wall and Adidas are engaged in ongoing buyout negotiations that will soon bring his five-year footwear and apparel endorsement deal to an end less than two years into the agreement, industry sources told ESPN.

Since signing the deal in January 2018, Wall has been sidelined by a series of injuries, limiting his on-court visibility while wearing the brand’s products.

Wall signed with Adidas back in 2018 in a contract reported to be worth $25 million in total.

However, Wall has not been able to stay healthy and on the court, which means he can’t promote the shoes and brand. He played in just 41 games the season he signed with Adidas, but injuries kept him out of the 2018 All-Star game and he played just a handful of games after the ASG break that season. Last season Wall played in only 32 games, and after tearing his Achilles this past summer he is expected to miss all of this current season with Washington. Even when he returns to the court next season, there are questions about what kind of player he will be without his trademark burst of speed.

It makes sense for Adidas to want to save some money and move on (plus, after his run of injuries, it’s better for the brand not to be tied to him). It’s hard to imagine Wall giving the company much of a discount, but how much money he gets depends on the terms of the deal.

Either way, both sides are moving on. When he returns to the court next season, we’ll have to see what shoes Wall laces up.

While league watches, waits, another report Wizards not trading Bradley Beal

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For all of you watching the Bradley Beal saga play out in Washington, waiting for your team to jump in and trade for the 26-year-old All-Star wing…

Sorry.

Nothing has changed: The league is watching, the Wizards have a three-year, $111 million extension offer on the table that Beal is almost certainly not going to sign, and Washington still has zero plans to trade him. That’s all been the case for a while now, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN updated it with a report on an NBA preview show Thursday.

“Bradley Beal has two years left on his deal and the Wizards have not given up hope on signing him to an extension. They have had a three-year, $111 million extension on the table for him to take in any form. Does he want two years? Three years? Any form he wants. They’re waiting for him. They are nowhere near the idea of moving Bradley Beal. They want to continue to try to rebuild around him. Get John Wall back healthy.”

Around the league, teams are monitoring the situation and if he becomes available there will be a long line of suitors (watch for Denver to make an aggressive move). The Wizards remain uninterested.

Some fans think Beal will demand a trade. Don’t bet on it. Beal wants a supermax contract extension — five years, $250 million — but only the Wizards can give him that money, and only if he makes an All-NBA team (or is named MVP). Beal finished seventh in All-NBA guard voting last season and don’t be shocked if, on a bad team, he puts up huge numbers and goes after one of the six All-NBA guard spots this season.

Beal has two years, $55.8 million left on his current contract. He can sign a four-year extension next summer, or wait until 2021 when he is a free agent and sign a five-year, $214 million ($43 million per year) with the Wizards or leave and sign a four-year, $159 million ($40 million a season) contract with another team.

The only reason for Beal to sign the current $111 million extension offer is security.

The Wizards are trying a re-tooling on the fly, not a complete rebuild, and they want Beal at the heart of it. Maybe that changes. Maybe if Beal looks like he will make All-NBA the Wizards realize they don’t want to pay him that much. Maybe Beal changes his mind and wants out. Maybe a lot of things, but none of them are reality right now.

Right now, Beal is going to remain a Washington Wizard.