Although Washington may be floundering during a 5-11 start to the season, there is a belief that the team has zero plans to move on from either of its franchise cornerstones, based on conversations with multiple league sources who have familiarity with the Wizards and how their front office operates. A Wizards spokesman, meanwhile, cited team policy by saying President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld “doesn’t comment on rumors, so he won’t comment on this one.”
When asked if he would be “surprised” if the Wizards made a deal involving Wall or Beal, Brooks responded: “I mean, like I said, the start that we’re having, there’s going to be rumors. It’s just part of the business. It’s just part of it. I’ve been in the league a long time, that’s just always been the case.”
Shams Charania: Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: The Washington Wizards had a volatile practice within recent days, with verbal altercations among players and an exasperated Bradley Beal saying toward team officials: "I've been dealing with this for seven years."
Candace Buckner: Bradley Beal on whether the report of him and Wall being made available came as news to him: "I mean, I’m not going to be naïve to it, you know. I have a phone just like everyone else, so I’ve heard those rumors weeks ago."
Washington had hopes that forwards Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre could be centerpieces of deals that could return an impact third star, but those players have fetched minimal interest on the market. Porter has a massive contract on the books, including three years, $81 million left.
“I think they’ve had enough time, but they really haven’t (broken) through,” Dudley said. “I can see by the All-Star break or summer time one of these pieces moving. It’s going to be good for them. If it’s John, or Otto or Brad, one of them three, I think their next move is going to be good for both teams."
Word is the Wolves did try to engage Washington — another team falling well short of expectations — in trade talks for the sharpshooting guard Bradley Beal. But the Wizards have kept Beal off limits amid their 4-9 start. They would naturally prefer to trade the struggling Otto Porter, or perhaps even John Wall, but both possess hard-to-move contracts. My pal Zach Lowe at ESPN recently did a deep dive on just how hard Wall will be to trade once his "supermax" contract extension kicks in next season.
Minnesota passed on a Miami deal weeks ago that would've included guard Josh Richardson, and the Heat never returned him into talks, sources said. Washington wouldn't offer guard Bradley Beal, sources said.
During a recent podcast, several media members discussed whether the Wizards should reassemble their roster in the offseason. They pointed to an example of what the Los Angeles Clippers did in the past year, trading Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst mentioned that Los Angeles would be able to pursue Beal in a potential deal.
Brian Windhorst: “If they made Bradley Beal available, I mean this is a guy with three years left on his contract, you would have multiple aggressive bids … You know what team that would be interesting for Bradley Beal would be the Clippers. They have two lottery picks. They’re in the need of a star.”
June 14, 2021 | 9:43 am EDT Update
“They’re really loaded on him,” Rivers said. “We showed him on film, the flow pass the bounce pass are the two areas where we’re going to need him to be great.” Harris’ scoring is still his calling card and the area that you look at first to cite his playoff improvement: Through eight games, he’s averaging 23.6 points per game on 60 percent true shooting this postseason compared to 15.8 points per game on 46 percent true shooting in last season’s sweep against Boston in the bubble. But especially on those backup units, teams might force Harris to be a distributor. In Game 3, he looked up to the challenge.
Rivers joked on Sunday about how he doesn’t like “football players” in basketball, emphasizing that you can’t rest on defense in basketball. For Korkmaz, who gets on the floor because of his shooting, the defensive side is where he is forced to work harder. “Furk is doing all the little things that are required out of him,” Rivers said. “We’re not asking him to be Ben. But we’re asking him to be a better version of himself defensively. And I think he’s doing that.”
But with the Nuggets’ season on the line, and their two best players — Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray — out (Jokic was ejected at the 3:52 mark of the third quarter due to a flagrant foul 2), Denver scored 43 points over roughly the final 16 minutes. The Suns suffered a bit of a defensive letdown. “We know when we’re not playing the type of defense that we need to be playing,” Devin Booker said after the game. “So we communicate that amongst each other, and we tell each other ‘It’s time to lock in.’ And that’s what we do. But we saw a different style of offense once Jokic went out. Them having JaVale (McGee) picking and rolling to the rim.
Both of them get it, that life is bigger despite being uber-competitive. Paul is known for his relentlessness on the court that borders on maniacal. But even when he was going through his shoulder issues, he kept making it clear people are going through worse and he’d be fine. “To be on this journey with him and to see it paying off is nice,” Paul said. “We’re a lot alike. We stay locked in. I don’t feel good until the buzzer sounds. Mont’s the same way. When the series is over, and the game is over, it’s nice to share those moments.”
Davis, a member of the Celtics’ 2008 championship-winning squad, had some thoughts on the injury. In an Instagram reply, Davis seemed to imply that it was a result of basketball karma after Irving stomped on Boston’s center court logo earlier in the playoffs. “Karma is real. Energy is real no matter what you guys say,” Davis said in another IG comment. “That logo means something negative or positive. Ky wished that on hisself (sic). Energy is real, always have respect for other no matter if its (sic) a logo are (sic) not.”
June 14, 2021 | 8:27 am EDT Update
A gold medal is one thing missing from his resume, but he said he has yet to make up his mind. He continues to look at the logistics of playing in Tokyo. He is curious to learn which other players are planning to go and to see how strong the team will be. “I’m literally 50-50,” he said of his decision. “I probably need to decide in the next two weeks.”