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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.

Wizards’ Rui Hachimura exits World Cup due to load management

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The Washington Wizards drafted Rui Hachimura No. 9 overall in the 2019 NBA draft, and we don’t know exactly what that means for this team moving forward. The Wizards still have John Wall under contract, with his Albatross of a salary cap figure looming over them. Meanwhile, Bradley Beal is a burgeoning superstar but it’s not clear whether he will remain in the District of Columbia long-term.

To that end, it appears that Washington and the Japanese national team are monitoring Hachimura’s stress load this summer. In a release put out on Thursday, it was announced that Hachimura would not finish the rest of the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China due to load management.

Japan was eliminated from the championship bracket, and is now in what’s called the Classification Round.

Via Twitter:

Japan will play New Zealand and then Montenegro in their final two games of World Cup play.

As much as Kobe Bryant may complain about players taking time off, it seems that now even guys who have not played a single minute of NBA basketball are already under load management.

Nope, not yet: Wizards have reportedly still not made Bradley Beal available via trade

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We still don’t know what the plan is for the Washington Wizards. They drafted Rui Hachimura No. 9 overall in the 2019 NBA draft, and John Wall‘s contract appears to be immovable. Meanwhile, star Bradley Beal still doesn’t have an extension done with the Wizards yet, and it’s not clear whether he would want to sign one to remain in the District of Columbia.

Beal has shown a tenacity for being the number one star, and it was immediately apparent after Wall went down last season that he was up to the task. But Beal is also a great piece of trade bait, and even if he decides to stay, Washington will likely be in a kind of cap purgatory until they can get out from under Wall’s deal.

Even still, Washington has not shown any propensity to trade Beal. We have heard all summer about how other teams are interested in his services, and how the Wizards won’t budge. Now there appears to be another report that Washington has still not made Beal available as we get closer to the NBA preseason.

Via Zach Lowe of ESPN:

Beal checks the age and fit boxes. Whether he has enough raw, supernova talent — Beal has made two All-Star rosters and zero All-NBA teams — is something each suitor will have to decide based in part on who is already on its team (and if the Wizards ever make Beal available, which they have not, per sources).

Many teams have felt bullied into making decisions with their stars in the modern NBA, and so Washington slow playing things with Beal is actually sort of refreshing. However, it doesn’t look like they are going to get out of Wall’s contract anytime soon… so the question remains just what are they waiting for?

The trade deadline is in February of 2020, and it’s still a complete mystery whether Beal will be on the Wizards come March. For now, we just have to sit back and wait.

Without Marcus Smart, Team USA crushes Japan in FIBA World Cup (video)

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No Marcus Smart. No Jayson Tatum.

But Team USA still had enough Celtics to overwhelm Japan.

Jaylen Brown (20 points and seven rebounds) and Kemba Walker (15 points and eight assists) led the U.S. to a 98-45 win in their final first-round game Thursday. The domination is a welcome bounce-back for the Americans, who barely beat Turkey in their prior game.

The victory sets up a second-round opener against reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece on Saturday. It’ll be the rare game where Team USA doesn’t have the best player.

It’s still unclear which players Team USA will have at all. Tatum is out a couple games after hurting his ankle against Turkey. Smart, who was banged up during training camp, is the new addition to the injury report.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

The United States will also face Brazil in the second round Monday. Brazil beat Greece, indicating just how much more difficult the competition will get.

Thursday, Japan was completely overmatched. Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura, who had begun to build hype, scored just four points while Japan got outscored by 48 points in his 24 minutes. But he had a big dunk over Myles Turner late:

Japan’s Rui Hachimura proving himself in World Cup as matchup with Team USA approaches

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SHANGHAI (AP) Rui Hachimura believes his game his grown this summer.

He knows his confidence has.

It has been a hectic and nonexistent offseason for the soon-to-be Washington Wizards rookie – drafted No. 9 overall in June, played NBA summer league in July and has been with the Japanese national team since. Japan’s 89-76 loss to the Czech Republic on Tuesday meant Hachimura and his team will likely finish no better than 17th at this 32-team World Cup, but he’s still seeing plenty of upside to his summer.

“It’s been crazy,” Hachimura said. “I got drafted, went to D.C. and we had like a minicamp, then Summer League and now the World Cup. It’s been a crazy summer but I’ve been having fun with this experience, this process. I’ve played a lot of games this summer, everywhere. I don’t know how much I grew, but I have more confidence.”

Japan might be winless in its two World Cup games – and has a matchup against the U.S. looming Thursday – but the stage has not seemed too big for Hachimura. The 6-foot-9 forward has averaged 18 points so far on 50 percent shooting, while adding 6.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard even made the trip to Asia to watch Hachimura in person, going to Japan first for the pre-tourney games and then following the team to China.

“He’s going to be a really nice player in the NBA,” Sheppard said. “He’s got a lot – a lot – of upside. He’s got a lot of learning to do, but he’s got excellent skill and excellent will. … It just takes time, and we have to develop that.”

Hachimura’s talent was on obvious display in Las Vegas at Summer League, where he averaged 19.3 points on 50 percent shooting in three games. He scored 31 points in Japan’s pre-World Cup win over Germany – a game attended by nearly 20,000 at the Saitama Super Arena last month – and already has captured his homeland’s attention, as evidenced by the many Japanese fans who made the trip to China.

“Rui’s got a lot of talent,” said Nick Fazekas, Japan’s U.S.-born center. “He works hard, but he has a lot of fun.”

Basketball is growing in Japan for many reasons. The Tokyo Olympics are less than a year away, and the NBA – in a move that should build Olympic buzz – is sending Toronto and Houston to Japan for a pair of preseason games in October. Those will be the first NBA games in Japan since 2003.

And it won’t take much for Hachimura, the West Coast Conference’s player of the year last season at Gonzaga, to become the best Japan-born player in NBA history. He’s the first Japanese player to be a first-round pick and the only two players from the country to appear in an NBA game are Yuta Tabuse in 2004-05 and Hachimura’s World Cup teammate Yuta Watanabe last season.

Combined, Tabuse and Watanabe have 46 points in 19 NBA games, all off the bench.

“I’m just excited for the season,” Hachimura said.