While the Washington Wizards struggled defensively last season, the organization is holding firm when it comes to rebuffing offers for Bradley Beal. The New Orleans Pelicans showed sincere interest in the two-time All-Star before Saturday’s blockbuster that sent Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. That curiosity remains and the two sides broadly discussed a trade scenario involving Beal, multiple sources told NBC Sports Washington.
The Pelicans are open to dealing the newly acquired fourth overall selection in Thursday’s NBA Draft according to numerous reports. New Orleans also landed three young players from Los Angeles -- Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart -- plus additional future picks and pick swaps. Whatever the initial parameters, the conversation never veered close to actual negotiations, according to a source.
Either way, this saga needed a finale, and the Pelicans’ future is set up nicely now. They have a bevy of young, talented pieces coming in, and soon-to-be No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson ready to be the face of the franchise along with Jrue Holiday. Griffin has been open to moving the No. 4 overall pick, and one player league executives believe the Pelicans are monitoring in a potential trade is Washington Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal, sources said. But Wizards interim president Tommy Sheppard is running the Washington front office as of now, and the franchise has been adamant for months that it hopes to build around Beal.
League front-office sources don’t expect the Wizards to even consider moving Bradley Beal unless offers are overwhelming. And they could be. Beal made a leap last season as a playmaker while maintaining his versatile scoring at a higher volume, and he turns 26 this summer with two years left on his contract. Maybe if Durant goes to the Nets, the Knicks get desperate. The Rockets reportedly offered four first-round picks for Jimmy Butler, what would Houston give up for Beal? The Wizards may not want to deal their only healthy All-Star, but with only two years left on his contract, now’s the time for teams to start calling and for Washington to start listening.
If Leonsis insists on keeping Beal, as league sources indicate remains his thinking, well, you can’t dismiss that as folly. Having asked a few people around the league who know what they’re doing, a number of them said if they were in Washington’s shoes, they’d hold onto Beal and figure out the rest later.
Bringing young, impressionable players into the fold won’t solve all issues if the culture reeks. That’s not to suggest what the Wizards have is rotten even though last year’s laborious start to the season stemmed in part from a contentious vibe. It’s to say that the mature Beal, a natural leader despite not turning 26 until next month, is the tone-setter this franchise needs. “Keep Beal as the vet who sets the culture, identity,” a league source familiar with the Wizards’ situation told NBC Sports Washington.
If there's a deal with the Lakers, most sources would want Ball involved regardless of any parent distractions from his attention-seeking father, Lavar. "People just don't grasp how good he is," a source said.
The Lakers have other players they're targeting in trades, according to league sources. Chief among them is Wizards guard Bradley Beal, though with the Wizards not yet hiring a front office honcho, no decision has been made whether to trade Beal. But LA will be in position to make an attractive offer if Beal is put on the block.
If Beal gets All-NBA honors, he will be eligible for a supermax contract. It wouldn't begin until the 2021-22 season, but it is projected to be worth $194 million over four years. His deal would start at over $40 million annually. The Wizards already have John Wall signed to a supermax deal, which kicks in next season. He will be making $43.9 million in 2021-22. He and Beal would account for roughly three-quarters of the salary cap that season.
As long as Beal, who turns 26 in June, remains an All-Star talent and under contract, they have options. If they felt they had to trade him, they could get plenty of assets in return. It would just be a difficult and possibly ugly process to go through. It all hinges on the All-NBA announcement. If Beal doesn't make the team, everyone moves on like nothing happened. If he does get it, everything changes for him, the Wizards and their offseason.
The Wizards could, in theory, sign Beal to a supermax and just deal with it later. They would have two full seasons before the contract begins. By then, Wall should be healthy and have at least a full year of games under his belt and maybe more if he returns next season. But delaying the inevitable is not a sound strategy. If extending Beal backfires either as a singular move or in conjunction with Wall's deal, it could strap the franchise for many years to come. All of this makes a supermax offer in the event Beal becomes eligible potentially a decision so massive it could be the most important call the next GM makes in their entire tenure in Washington. And that GM may have to make that decision within months of taking the job.
Do you start to build a new team around him — maybe by taking a point guard with what should be a top-10 pick in the draft, and try to again play fast next season? Or do you move Beal, at the absolute apex of his value, coming off his best season, and having proven he can get through 82 games relatively unscathed? “I’m not saying you have to trade him,” an executive from one of this year’s top teams told me on Monday — before the Wizards announced Grunfeld’s dismissal. “But you do have to think about it.”
Chris Haynes on which star may be available next: "I just got Bradley Beal on my podcast and I straight up told Bradley, 'Man, look, the Washington Wizards probably should've broken this team up a few years ago.' John Wall is out for a year. They traded Otto Porter. Is Bradley Beal the next guy? Is it time to move on [from him]? I think Washington has to do some self-reflecting. It may be time to move on from Bradley. And Bradley isn’t the type of guy who’s going to ask [for a trade] or want out; he’s a loyal dude. He’s a real loyal dude. But it might be in their best interest to trade him.”
You were mentioned in trade rumors quite a bit earlier this season. How did you react to that? Bradley Beal: I wasn’t bothered, honestly. In a way, it’s kind of [confirmation] teams want me. It’s kind of [flattering]. In a way, it’s like, “Dang, this is pretty cool.” But, at the same time, I hate change. You never want to have up and move, you don’t want to have to leave [for a new team and city].
The Wizards tried their best to put to rest any notion Beal could be gone last week. The team never engaged in trade discussions involving Beal before Feb. 7’s deadline, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. And team president Ernie Grunfeld told The Athletic last week that he has “no intention of trading Bradley.” “We wanna have him as part of our group moving forward for a long time,” Grunfeld said.
Beal, though, can already imagine the drawbacks of requesting a trade. He sees the mess that Anthony Davis and the Pelicans are dealing with in New Orleans and doesn't want that for himself. "I always feel like if I requested a trade, and I didn’t get traded, there’s no way in hell I’m gonna be able to go and play with my teammates who know I don’t want to be here. That’s mind-boggling to me," he said.
“Until the team doesn’t want me anymore, I’m gonna be here,” he said. “I’m here. I’m a Wizard, day in and day out. They pay me and I have to show up and do my work. Until that changes, that’s who I’m loyal to.”
“I kinda hate it. I hate super teams,” Beal said. “And that’s just me. … Like everybody, just get your own team and just try to win with what you’ve got. But it’s like you need five All-Stars to win, especially to beat Golden State at this point. Granted, that’s everybody’s measuring stick: Golden State. They’ve got four, five, six guys on their team that are probably All-Stars, so it speaks for (itself).”
Beal, though, insists that isn’t in his nature. “Granted, it goes both ways,” Beal said of wanting to stay with one team. “They can say they won’t trade you and [then they do.] It’s a business at the end of the day, but believe me... my parents [raised] me on loyalty and just constantly even keel no matter what. Tough time last not always, but tough people do.”
The core duo remaining from an eroded big three could be sticking around longer than the mere remainder of this struggling year. Wall’s recent Achilles’ rupture matched with a pending maximum extension makes him one of the league’s most difficult players to trade. And the organization intends to keep Beal beyond this summer, team president Ernie Grunfeld told The Athletic in an exclusive interview Thursday afternoon. “We have no intention of trading Bradley,” Grunfeld said, when asked if the Wizards would trade Beal before his contract runs up after the 2020-21 season. “We really like his development and the way his game has improved over these years: his character, his work ethic. And we wanna have him as part of our group moving forward for a long time.”
Washington, not surprisingly, has no intention of trading two-time All-Star guard Bradley Beal, a source tells NBC Sports Washington, despite having moved forwards Otto Porter and Markieff Morris the evening before Thursday's NBA trade deadline.
After months of speculation surrounding the future of players like John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. amid the Wizards’ struggles, team owner Ted Leonsis went on the record to confirm his star players won’t be involved in trade talks ahead of the Feb. 7 trade deadline. “I love when they go, ‘trade Bradley Beal. Trade John Wall. Trade Otto Porter.’ And I go ‘ok, for who?’ We’re not trading any of those players… wouldn’t throw in the towel on this core,” Leonsis said during an interview with WTOP radio.
Noah Frank: On possibility of dealing Wall, Beal, Porter before NBA Trade Deadline: "We're not trading any of those players"
The Wizards have operated as such to this point. They’ve received plenty of calls about Bradley Beal, who is bound to make his second ever All-Star Game when reserves get announced next week, but haven’t engaged in any trade talks involving him, according to multiple sources.
The Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic are still competing for a playoff berth, but both teams are preparing for the deadline with the awareness their moves will be made based upon whether the team is trending upward or down as Feb. 7 approaches, sources said. Wizards star guard Bradley Beal is not going anywhere, which Washington has made adamantly clear, league sources told The Athletic. Depending on how the next week to two weeks shape up, the Wizards could look more aggressively toward moving Otto Porter. The Utah Jazz have been an interested suitor for Porter, league sources said. Beal has helped lead the Wizards to seven wins in their past 10 games, carrying a squad that lost All-Star John Wall to season-ending heel surgery before the New Year.
Ted Leonsis expressed firmly what team officials have been indicating for weeks, that if they are active at the trade deadline, it won't be with deals involving their main guys. That means Beal is highly unlikely to be dealt. Otto Porter Jr. can be considered similarly and John Wall should go without saying given his current injury status and hefty trade kicker.
That's why is hasn't come as a surprise that a conga line of contenders have kicked the tires on Beal, by far the Wizards' most valuable—and most tradable—asset. Multiple team executives and agents tell Bleacher Report the impending Feb. 7 trade deadline is expected to be a busy one and that Beal's talent, sharpshooting, versatility, age (25) and contract (two years and $56 remaining) make him one of the most coveted assets in the marketplace. "There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.
The Wizards haven't shown any interest in dealing him, from everything I've gathered. But if any team blew any other out of the water with a major offer for any player, said team would have to think about it. Beal could get back picks and young players. Teams value him that much at this point. But I don't think the Wizards want to get rid of their top guy, and I don't blame them.
I don't personally think the Wizards need to trade Beal. He has three years left on his contract and at a reasonable price. (He's owed about $81 million during that time.) He's playing like a surefire All-Star. If the Wizards want to break it down, there's no reason to sell their best player for even 99 cents on the dollar. That said, I've spoken to smart, smart people in the NBA, people whose opinions I respect a lot that think the Wizards should think about parting with him. He could bring back a bunch. And if you're not going to win with this group (which it looks like you won't), the argument is, get as many picks or young pieces as you can and form a new core. Wall's deal matched with his injury make him an unlikely trade candidate.
I honestly am not totally sure of how they’re going to play this. They have feelers out there for some guys, including Otto Porter. From everything I’ve heard, they’ve batted away calls about Beal. And they should be in no rush to deal an All-Star with three years left on his deal playing his best basketball ever. It’s tougher to trade Morris, who’s on an expiring deal, today since his spine injury will keep him out through the trade deadline.
There’s been chatter about the Raptors pursuing Wizards guard Bradley Beal, but Washington wants two players and two draft picks for him, according to sources. That would cost the team budding star Pascal Siakam and wing OG Anunoby, plus some filler salary and two future first-round draft picks. The Raptors already owe this year’s pick to the Spurs, and they would have to persuade Washington to take a pick as far out as 2023.
Rod Beard: I've heard that the market for Bradley Beal could be something like two first-rounders, a young asset and another player. That's the ante -- just to get put the admin assistant to put the call through.
Chris Mannix: Expect teams to really start banging down the Wiz door w/offers for Bradley Beal. Beal having another All-Star level season, w/manageable contract through '20-21.
Ironically, the team they just lost to could be a starting point for a turnaround. The belief is the entire roster is available, there are no longer untouchables, sources said. This obviously includes stars John Wall and Bradley Beal, but Houston hasn’t had any deep discussions for any Wizard yet. They merely placed a few calls, the first being two weeks ago.
After the game, Beal was asked by NBA TV's Dennis Scott to address the report that he wanted out that came out earlier Monday. "That's nonsense," Beal said. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like if it ain't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me. I got this Washington jersey on, I come out and work everyday until otherwise. This is where I want to be."
Candace Buckner: (1/2) Just spoke with Bradley Beal's agent, Mark Bartelstein, re: the report that cites a source who says Beal wants out of Washington. Bartelstein strongly denies the report. Bartelstein on the Beal report: "That is absolutely not true. The only sources that would know Brad thinking’s are Brad and myself. And Brad’s focus is 100% on helping the #Wizards play consistent, winning basketball.”
Nearly at the 20-game mark, the 11-8 Los Angeles Lakers look like they could be a force in the Western Conference with a little more help. How tempted would team president Earvin "Magic" Johnson be to make a play for All-Star guard Bradley Beal? "Beal would be a perfect fit next to LeBron," an Eastern Conference scout said. "He's a much better shooter than [Brandon] Ingram, and LeBron needs shooters."
Maybe a veteran scorer like Beal would give James a more reliable, polished running mate than Ingram. "It's too early to tell for Ingram," a Lakers executive said. "Where was [Beal] at the same age?" Four years ago, Beal averaged 15.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game as a 21-year-old. He shot 40.9 percent from three-point range on 4.1 attempts. He made a big jump two years later to 23.1 points per night. Ingram, at 15.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists, probably won't ever be as consistent an outside shooter as Beal, but Beal won't ever have Ingram's 6'9" height and 7'3" wingspan.
The Washington Wizards are floundering at 7-12. While the Wizards are only two games back of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, the dysfunction in Washington is leading to widespread speculation that the organization will blow things up and trade away major players like John Wall or Bradley Beal. “John Wall is a very different situation [from Bradley Beal],” said Wojnarowski on the Woj Pod. “You can count on one hand, and probably with just a couple of fingers places that really might have interest in taking his contract on and what it all means to bring him in. “I would never say there’s no market for John Wall, but I think Bradley Beal has a much broader market. But if Washington was going to do something, they would have to get every last asset they could for Bradley Beal.”
The Wizards are reportedly willing to trade anyone on their roster. That sparked wishful speculation around the country about Washington’s most valuable player, Bradley Beal. His apparent unhappiness only increased hope. But... Zach Lowe of ESPN: "I think what they’re asking for Beal, from what I’ve heard, makes him functionally not available. But maybe. Maybe some team throws the Brinks truck or their price comes down."
The Charlotte Hornets have inquired with the Washington Wizards about the possibility of acquiring shooting guard Bradley Beal, an informed source confirmed Tuesday. The source didn’t identify what the Hornets have offered for Beal, a 6-foot-5 guard averaging 21.5 points this season, or whether any progress has been made toward a deal. Beal could be the second scoring option to point guard Kemba Walker this team has lacked in an 8-8 season. Walker is coming off two games in which he scored a combined 103 points. He is the NBA’s leading scorer at 29.6 points per game.
Though an ESPN report suggested that the Wizards are willing to move anyone on the roster in possible trades — including cornerstones Wall and Beal — league sources dispute whether that’s a plan the franchise is truly willing to execute. For one, the value for every Wizard, including the all-star backcourt, couldn’t be any lower than it is right now. Some have suggested that a public shaming might be a necessary wake-up call for players who have become way too comfortable with the fat contracts owner Ted Leonsis has handed out in recent years.
“With the news we had today, that’s either going to boost us or fuck us up a little bit,” Bradley Beal told The Athletic after Monday’s practice. “We’ll see. “We’ve already aired out a lot of our problems the last couple of years. It’s not like any of our stuff is a secret,” Beal said. “We just got to do it on the floor. It’s not like we have bad character guys or bad guys. We’re just not getting it [done] in between the lines… Maybe it’s entitlement. Maybe we’re too cool. Maybe we feel we can flip it on a switch. All the things we’ve said in the past that’s been a problem with us. I don’t know. That’s the annoying part about it. You can’t pinpoint it as one thing.”
In talking with people around the league, it’s clear that Beal’s value stands high and above Porter’s or Wall’s. Beal has three years and $81 million remaining on his contract, including this season, generally considered fair value.
But the Wizards have made no attempt to include Beal in any sort of legitimate trade discussions, according to sources.
Candace Buckner: While reporting this story, I've learned that in spite of Bradley Beal's heat-of-the-moment comments directed at #Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld, in which he said something along to the lines of 'I'm sick of this sh --!' ... Beal has NOT requested a trade,
The Wizards’ thoughts of trading either Wall or Beal are very preliminary, according to a person familiar with the situation. By putting this information out there, they are simply letting other teams know they will listen. Despite the whirlwind of reports, any major deal would likely take a long time to orchestrate. The Wizards would likely take months to lay the groundwork, even if matters get worse on the court.
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 24, 2022 | 9:16 pm EDT Update
JD Shaw: The Memphis Grizzlies are adding shooting guard Dakota Mathias (@DMathias31) to their summer league roster, his agency Edge Sports tells @HoopsRumors. Mathias holds two-way experience with the Sixers.
Law Murray: Source to @theathletic: Nebraska shooting guard Trey McGowens will join LA Clippers for summer league in Las Vegas next month. McGowens tied for team lead with 1.6 steals per game last season to go with 4.1 rebounds and 36.8% 3-point shooting. Played at Pitt before Nebraska.
JD Shaw: The Dallas Mavericks are adding swingman Isaiah Brown to their summer league roster, his agent Andre Buck tells @HoopsRumors. Brown, 24, attended a free-agent mini-camp with the team earlier this week.
June 24, 2022 | 7:39 pm EDT Update
Charlotte Hornets President of Basketball Operations & General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today the team has named Steve Clifford head coach. Clifford, who previously served the team’s head coach from 2013-2018, returns to Charlotte, where his 196 wins ranks second in franchise history, sitting just 11 behind Allan Bristow.
Damichael Cole: David Roddy said he got a text message from Tyus Jones before the NBA Draft. He called Jones one of his mentors growing up in Minnesota. He played AAU basketball with Tyus’ younger brother, Tre Jones.