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Wizards GM has no plan to trade Bradley Beal: ‘Every team would love to have him, and we do’

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Bradley Beal is the next potential big trade piece in the NBA — and in a league that thrives on drama and big player moves, fans and pundits are drooling. The Wizards put a three-year, $111 million contract in front of Beal this summer and he chose not to sign it (at least not yet), which led to even more calls from the outside for another dramatic NBA trade.

Inside the Wizards, that has never been on the table. Beal still has two years on his contract and has not demanded out (we’ll get to that, keep reading). Teams call, and newly-minted Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard shoots them down. Why? Because he wants to build around 25-year-old Beal as he moves into his prime, not start over. Here is what Sheppard told Brad Botkin of CBSSports.com.

“The way that I look at this is pretty simple: If you were looking to build a team, Brad would be the type of player anyone would want to start with,” Sheppard told CBS Sports. “You look at the character, the talent, the age, just the whole package … Brad is without a doubt a core player in this league. Every team would love to have him, and we do. So we’ve never considered anything other than a situation where Brad is with us and leading us forward. We made that clear to him on the first day we could offer him an extension, and we’ll continue to make that clear.”

Right now, Beal is not available, and that does not seem likely to change. For now.

There are two parts to the question of trading Beal: What Beal himself wants, and what the team should do.

Beal hasn’t asked for a trade and nobody should expect him to, and there are 250 million reasons for that. Beal wants a supermax extension ($250 million over five years), but to get that he would need to be named to an All-NBA team — he came in seventh in the guard voting last season, but only six make All-NBA (two guards each for the first, second, and third teams). Beal, with John Wall out this season after his torn Achilles, is going to have the ball in his hands a lot and is going to put up numbers — there is a legitimate chance he makes All-NBA next season. Then he becomes supermax extension eligible. However, if he gets traded Beal is no longer eligible for that extra five percent of the salary cap (only the Wizards can offer it). Beal doesn’t want to go anywhere, and don’t expect him to rack up DNP-Rest games either (he played a full 82 the last two seasons). Beal has his goal set.

Do the Wizards want to pay Beal that much and be committed to him for that long? That is the bigger question.

Is this a case, as we have seen with other teams, where Washington will balk at that payday for that player and decide to make a trade (ala the Kings and DeMarcus Cousins). The Wizards would get a lot back in a Beal trade — you’ve seen the haul for Paul George, Anthony Davis, and other elite players — and it would jumpstart a rebuild.

Right now, Sheppard and the Wizards want to be in the Beal business, they have no plans to trade him. Calls continue to be turned away. If, come the trade deadline, it looks like Beal is on track to make All-NBA then the real test comes for the Wizards: Are they $250 million worth of committed to Beal? Maybe the mind of management and ownership shifts when the money gets real.

Right now, however, Beal is a Washington Wizard and that’s not changing anytime soon.

NBCSports.com’s 50 best players in 5 years: Kristaps Porzingis, James Harden, players 20-16

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What is the NBA going to look like in five years? Who will be the game’s best players? The All-Stars, the guys on the cover of 2K24, the guys with signature shoe deals?

As a fun summer project, the NBA team at NBCSports.com put our heads together, pulled out our crystal balls, and tried to project forward who would be the 50 best players in the NBA in five years — in the summer of 2024. We took into account a player’s age, his potential ceiling and how likely he is to reach it, injury history, and more. The team working on this included Dan Feldman, Tom Haberstroh, Rob Dauster, Tommy Beer, Steve Alexander, and Kurt Helin (and thanks to Tess Quinlan and Mia Zanzucchi for the design help).

There were plenty of disagreements (and we don’t expect you to agree with all of our list), but here it is.

Here is the link to here are the links to players 50-4645-41, 40-36, 35-31, 30-26, and 25-21. These are players 20-16 on our list.

20. Pascal Siakam

Last season the switch flipped for Pascal Siakam.

He went from promising young player to critical contributor on both ends for a championship team. He became a guy who could average 21.3 points per game for a month (February). What fueled the change was his jump shot started falling — the season before he shot 22 percent from three, but last season that jumped to 36.9 percent, and with that came more attempts. Coach Nick Nurse believed in Siakam, gave him some freedom and touches, and Siakam responded with a Most Improved Player season.

Siakam will be in his prime the next five years, and the question now becomes just where is his ceiling? He’s a 6’9” elite athlete who is a strong perimeter defender on one end and can create his own shot on the other. There are not a lot of those around. Nurse said that Siakam now has “gotta be the man” for the Raptors, can he be that No. 1 option (Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol will start this season in Toronto but likely are not there a year from now). Siakam got a lot of wide-open looks at threes last season, with defenses often focused on Kawhi Leonard, but how will he adapt when he is the guy at the top of the opponent’s scouting report? (To be fair, defenses focused on him more and more last season with Leonard sitting out games, but this is a new level.)

The next step for Siakam All-Star and maybe All-NBA level seasons. He’s got that in him, both in terms of raw talent and in terms of the work ethic to reach those goals. In five years, he’s going to be one of the game’s elite wings.
—Kurt Helin

19. Kristaps Porzingis

One of the ways we looked at how to evaluate players for this project, projecting out five years ahead, was to ask this question: If you were a GM who could give a player a five-year max contract right now, would you with this guy? And how comfortable would you be with that fifth year?

The Dallas Mavericks answered that question on Kristaps Porzingis with a resounding “we believe” this summer, inking the big man to a five-year, $158 million max extension. They want to pair him and Luka Doncic as the cornerstone of a contending team for years to come (their new Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki).

That’s a big bet on Porzingis as he returns from missing an entire season with a torn ACL — there is not a lot of precedent for mobile guys this size coming back from this injury. When healthy Porzingis is a 7’3″ unicorn of a big man who can defend inside, run the floor, and knockdown threes. He averaged 17.8 points and 7.1 rebounds a game over his career with the Knicks, all while shooting 36.1 percent from three. There are no other big men who bring his skill set to the game.

But will we get the same Porzingis going forward? How well will he move coming back from that ACL, and can he stay healthy? Our evaluators think he can get back to form, or close to it at least, and that why he is on the teens in this list. But if he can get all the way back and stay healthy — two big “ifs” — this ranking will be too low.
—Kurt Helin

18. James Harden

James Harden is the greatest offensive force in the NBA right now. One of the — or, if you ask GM Daryl Morey, THE — most unstoppable offensive force the game has ever seen.

Morey could be right. Harden averaged 36.1 points per game last season, shot 36.8 percent from three, plus dished out 7.5 assists and pulled down 6.6 rebounds a night. His step-back three is the most unguardable shot in the game today. The beard is an unstoppable force right now (unless you take the ball out of his hands to make sure Russell Westbrook is happy, but that’s also a discussion for another day).

The questions for evaluators in this series were, “How good will Harden be at age 34 heading into his age 35 season? How will his game age?”

Probably pretty well, which is why he is still so high on this list (while some of his current elite contemporaries were down farther around 30 on our list). Harden’s game is all about craft, it’s not built on his explosive athleticism or his freakish skills for someone so tall. Harden’s unconventional, hesitation-filled game is more about throwing his defenders off-balance — he has a lot of old-man-at-the-Y in his game. That will still work well as he ages. Harden has logged a lot of miles on his body, and while he’s stayed healthy so far that will be harder and harder to do. Still, there’s no reason to think the perpetual MVP candidate will not still be able to go out in five years, isolate on a defender, and just get a bucket. He’s going to be able to create space and get off his shot. Which is why in five years he’s still going to have a lot of value.
—Kurt Helin

17. Bradley Beal

Right now Bradley Beal is standing at one of the crossroads in his career. The two-time All-Star — who averaged 25.6 points, 5 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game last season — has heard his name come up in trade rumors, but on the other hand the Wizards have put a three-year, $111 million max contract extension on the table in front of him, trying to lock him up.

What does Beal want to do? He has yet to take the safe route and sign the extension, but it sits there on the table if he wants it. He could say he’s not signing any extension with the franchise, essentially forcing a trade. Or — and this may be the most logical option — he can just wait, sign a four-year, $154 million extension next summer, and if he makes the All-NBA team (he was seventh in guard voting last season but there are only six All-NBA guard spots), Beal can get a $250+ million max extension from the Wizards.

Whatever he chooses, wherever he is playing, Beal is going to be one of the top shooting guards in the game the next five years as he is just entering his prime (he will be 31 in 2024). Beal has made more threes in his career than any other player through their age 25 season (Beal has 1,071, Klay Thompson is second at 1,060, then Stephen Curry is third with 905). Beal can shoot the three (35.1 percent last season), put the ball on the floor and drive, moves well off the ball (he ran more total miles last season during games — 222.7 total, or 2.75 per game — than any player in the league), and is an active and willing defender.

With John Wall out likely for the entire coming season in Washington, the Wizards become Beal’s team. He is option No. 1 on offense, the guy who gets to have the ball in his hands when he wants it. Beal is going to get to eat all he wants on offense next season for the Wizards. Providing he still wants to be in Washington.
—Kurt Helin

16. Jaren Jackson Jr.

This kid has Chris Bosh written all over him — and he can be even better. It feels odd to call him “kid” when his game screams wily veteran. Jackson Jr., is still just 19 years old, but he already can stretch the floor and block shots like a seasoned big.

There’s a reason why Kevin Garnett is one of his top statistical comps, but I like the Bosh parallel because of how he came into the league in a similar vein. Drafted No. 4 overall in a stacked draft with Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley, it’s easy to overlook Jackson Jr.’s production, especially playing in a small market like Memphis.

But Jackson’s game is tailor made for the pace-and-space era. He made 51 triples last season and converted 35.9 percent of his tries beyond the arc, making him one of the sweetest shooting bigs in the league already. He has a guard-like handle and moves fluidly on the block. On the other end, he has a great nose for creating turnovers, but there’s plenty of room to grow as a rim protector. If he can iron out his focus and court awareness on the defensive side, he can be a perennial All-Star like Bosh.

With Ja Morant in town, this could be the most promising tandem in the NBA. Jackson Jr., is so young that he still wouldn’t be in his 30s if we looked 10 years down the line instead of five. Get on board now.
—Tom Haberstroh

Wizards hire 17-year pro Antawn Jamison as director of pro personnel

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New Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard continues to put his imprint on the franchise — this is not the Ernie Grunfeld show anymore.

The latest move: Hiring veteran NBA forward — and former Washington Wizard — Antawn Jamison as the new director of pro personnel.

“We are absolutely thrilled to bring Antawn back to the Wizards organization,” Sheppard said in a statement. “In addition to his strong feel for the game and basketball knowledge, he has always been a true professional and a dedicated worker. We look forward to him bringing those qualities to our front office.”

Jamison played six seasons of his 17 NBA seasons in Washington and was a two-time All-Star in our nation’s capital. Jamison was also the 2004 Sixth Man of the year.

Since stepping away from the game in 2014, Jamison has worked on front office jobs, spending the past couple of years as a scout for the Los Angeles Lakers.

In his new role with the Wizards, Jamison will work with VP of player personnel Johnny Rogers to head up and organize the Wizards’ NBA, G League, and international scouting.

Sheppard has shaken up the Wizards front office after taking over from Grunfeld, who was fired after 16 mediocre seasons in Washington. Among the moves was to change up coach Scott Brooks’ staff — Mike Longabardi, Dean Oliver, Corey Gaines, and Jarell Christian are Wizards’ assistant coaches now — plus Mark Simpson was brought in as the vice president of player performance. In addition to Jamison, Laron Profit and John Carideo were hired by the Wizards as pro scouts.

Changes to the franchise culture and infrastructure are the first steps to rebuilding the product on the court. With John Wall likely out for all of next season due to a torn Achilles, the franchise is trying to show All-Star Bradley Beal it is on the right path to contending and convince him to stay with the Wizards. Sheppard offered Beal a three-year, $111 max contract extension (the most Washington can offer right now), but Beal wisely has not signed it yet. While it would give Beal financial security short term, if he makes the All-NBA team next season (he was seventh in guard voting last season and six players make All-NBA) he would be eligible for a $250 million extension. Even if he just waits to be a free agent in 2021 and resigns with the Wizards he would make $8 million more a season. Without Beal signing it, his name will come up in trade rumors, even as the Wizards shoot down every other GM who calls about him.

 

Rich Paul: New NCAA agent rules won’t affect me, will exclude others without viable path to degree

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The NCAA implemented new requirements for agents representing basketball players testing the waters of the NBA draft:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Three years of experience
  • NCAA-issued exam
  • $250 application fee

The degree requirement made many think of Rich Paul. Paul didn’t graduate from college, but he has grown into a powerful agent whose clientele includes LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, John Wall and Ben Simmons.

Paul in The Athletic:

The media is calling it “The Rich Paul Rule,” which, while incredibly flattering, is not accurate. It has no impact on me or the business of Klutch Sports Group. However, it does have a significant impact on people like me, and the NCAA should be called out for it.

The harmful consequences of this decision will ricochet onto others who are trying to break in. NCAA executives are once again preventing young people from less prestigious backgrounds, and often people of color, from working in the system they continue to control.  In this case, the people being locked out are kids who aspire to be an agent and work in the NBA and do not have the resources, opportunity or desire to get a four-year degree.

I actually support requiring three years of experience before representing a kid testing the market. I can even get behind passing a test. However, requiring a four-year degree accomplishes only one thing — systematically excluding those who come from a world where college is unrealistic.

These rules are typical of the NCAA’s overbearing paternalism and self-enrichment. The organization deserves every bit of scorn coming its way.

Paul’s message of who gets hurt by these regulations is especially important. It’s the most marginalized people.

Paul no longer fits that description like he once did. He made it. He’s rich and successful. He could find someone in his agency with a bachelor’s degree to get certified. It’s the next Rich Paul who suffers. I respect him speaking out on something that’s not his problem.

These barriers to entry are actually good for established agents. It’s helpful for people already in the game to keep out potential future competition. In that regard, I find Paul’s support of the three-year requirement curious. That’s a bar he has already cleared.

The National Basketball Players Association certifies agents. I have yet to see a good argument why the union’s requirements shouldn’t be sufficient.

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.