Bradley Beal in his birthday toast to John Wall: "Every…

Bradley Beal in his birthday toast to John Wall: “Everybody count us out, doubting us every year. That’s my brother man. I appreciate you all welcoming me.” John Wall: “Love brother.” (via 5deepjak/IG)

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A lot speculation is centered around Brad’s future and the organization has been committed to you. If something changed and for some reason, he was moved, would you be comfortable with a rebuild? John Wall: At the end of the day, nobody feels comfortable with a rebuild. I don’t like to lose. I went through that my first couple of years. Me and Brad are brothers. I tell everybody, you’ve got two young guys that’s so talented. Who ain’t going to bump heads at some time? We both want to be great. We both want to take the last shot. But we built that type of bond. Brad is so mature for his age, you wouldn’t expect for him to be the age he is, but give a lot of credit to his parents and his brothers that raised him. I feel like we need one more shot. We need one more run at it. But we’ve got to add some pieces around us, some dogs that can go to war with us. I mean, me and him together, we can go against anybody.
John Wall and Bradley Beal called out their teammates for having their "own agendas" after a 116-112 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday night. Washington dropped to 1-4 to start the season, with the pair of All-Star guards blasting the Wizards' effort on the defensive end of the floor, where Washington is giving up 122.8 points a game, second-worst in the league. "Sometimes we have our own agendas on the floor, whether it's complaining about shots, complaining about playing time, complaining about whatever it may be," Beal said. "We're worried about the wrong (expletive) and that's not where our focus needs to be and it's just going to continue to hurt us."
Wall agreed after the Wizards committed a season-high 21 turnovers and wilted in the fourth quarter. "Everybody on their own agenda," said Wall. "We showed glimpses when we do stuff as a team, we show how good we can be, and then we go back to trying to do it individually, and that's mostly on the defensive end."
Fred Katz: John Wall on if he's surprised the team is having this convos only five games into the year: "For sure. I am, because I feel like we have a veteran team and it’s like, we go back to the same thing...Just because it’s on paper don’t mean anything," pic.twitter.com/siQdpxRvSL
John Wall had to be the bold one, too. In 2010, a month before Wall was drafted first overall by the Wizards, he was in Los Angeles to watch the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League and to check out a high school shooter from St. Louis. After the game, Wall made a beeline through the gymnasium packed with fans trying to see him and approached Bradley Beal, saying he was a fan of his game. Two years later, Wall petitioned the Wizards’ front office to draft the quiet kid who could shoot like Ray Allen. Over time, Wizards teammates took to calling him “Baby Ray.” “I viewed [Wall] as a big brother,” Beal said.
Even now, Beal must carefully dodge potential land mines when discussing his relationship with Wall. He knows there always will be someone dissecting every word or interpreting anything he shares about the duo’s growing pains as signs of irreconcilable rancor. No, they’re not BFFs, but they like each other just fine — though Wall hasn’t come over to Beal’s McLean, Va., mansion, Beal has taken his five dogs over to Wall’s property in Potomac, Md. Beal believes they can both lead the Wizards. In doing so, healthy disagreement should be expected. “We’re not always going to be on the same page. There are times when we will get into it, we will argue. He’ll chew me out, and I’ll chew him out, but at the same time, there’s a respect factor that we have,” Beal said, before concluding, “Brothers do that.”
Though Wall was going for laughs — several Washington Wizards teammates recognized the impression — there was a sincerity to his acknowledgment of Beal’s hot streak. “He’s already a lethal scorer,” Wall said before the Wizards faced the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, “but he’s finding ways to do it in so many other ways, getting downhill and getting to the basket and a guy like that that can score in various ways and get into a rhythm, the basket’s big.”
“No matter if you’re there or not, there’s nothing you can do about it,” Wall said about defenders against Beal. “When a guy’s making shots like that, there’s nothing you can do.”

https://soundcloud.com/siriusxmnba/randy-wittman-on-wall-beals-relationship-they-werent-best-friends-but-you-dont-have-to-be
“It’s the same thing I went through,” Wall told The Vertical of Beal’s steady climb. “A lot of people get success later on, and a lot of us get it late. Both of us are getting it late in our career, but that doesn’t define what you did early in our career, because we still showed glimpses. We just never were healthy and never had a great team. He put in the work and is deserving of everything he’s got. All you can do is keep going up. And all we can do is keep getting better and better as a tandem.”
Marc J. Spears: "We understand how to find each other, at the same time play our game," Wizards guard John Wall on backcourt mate Bradley Beal. "That's where I excel a lot. I normally have the ball. I'm going to get my shot whenever I want to. But my job is to get him going. That's where we are a better team."
Bradley Beal: Maturing has had a big impact on how John Wall and I play together, too. We’ve both grown—in our mental approach to the game, our intellectual approach to the game, and how we relate to each other. We both understand that the team won’t be successful unless we’re on the same page, and that’s where we are now. With time, we’ve gotten better and better, and as a backcourt, we feel like we’re second to none. We know where each other’s spots are on the floor. I know where he’s going to be in the flow of the offense. He knows where I’m going to be. Everything just naturally flows, and on top of it, we’re both having career years. We’re constantly getting better, and challenging each other to be the best we can be.
Before accepting the job, Brooks had heard of a possible rift between his two best players, Wall and Beal. The relationship dominated headlines over the summer after Wall told Chris Miller of CSN Mid-Atlantic that they had a tendency to “dislike each other” on the court. But Brooks’ concerns about how the young backcourt would mesh were alleviated before the start of training camp. “I met both of them and it confused me a little bit, because both were great guys. And I know when players can get along and I know when this is not going to work. I never felt that, from meeting both of them individually over the summer, ‘How are we going to make this work? I’m going to have to bring in some guys way above my thinking.’ But I never felt that,” Brooks told The Vertical.
“I never had a conversation with them where I had to say, ‘John, you’ve got to say nice things to Brad. Brad, can you say nice things to John? Let’s have a group hug right now.’ I’ve never done that. I don’t think I have to. I just like how they both acknowledge each other’s greatness on the floor. I think they’re one of the best backcourts in the league and could be for the next 10 years.”
Talking to both of them, I think we can get there. John has the ability to impact the game without scoring, by just defending and passing." Will he remain happy doing that? "I can't answer that with 100 percent certainty," Brooks admits. "If Kyrie Irving is going for 40 and he's having a bad shooting game, is he going to worry about the game or…? We'll see. If you're going to be a leader, it's about doing the things to lead your team and moving on to the next game."
A rival Eastern Conference personnel scout wonders how much longer the Wizards can wait to find out if Wall and Beal are truly made for each other. "If they're the building blocks, by now they should be turning the corner," says the scout. "You look at their team, they should be pretty good. I don't know that they blow it up, but you have to think about tinkering with it."
"People always assumed why we weren't connecting," Wall says now. "People asked, ‘Well, are you mad?' No, I'm not mad. I can't control the CBA. It's good timing for him. All I'm saying is let him earn it. I didn't deserve it until I went out and made the All-Star Game and then they said, 'All right, he earned it.' Let him earn it. I had to earn mine." Big Panda agrees that he has to join Wall in testing his physical limits, and he addressed the issue prior to sitting out the Wizards' recent loss to the Cavaliers, the first of three games he missed with the strained hamstring. "No matter how our bodies might feel, no matter what we did the night before, there are no nights off," Beal says.
“And I wouldn’t have begged him to come back,” Wall interjected. “I would’ve been, ‘Don’t come back because in two years, I ain’t coming back.’ We would’ve figured something out. … I think everybody blew it out of proportion for no reason. I mean, if you look at any two great teammates, and two young, great guys, that’s talented and want to be great, you’re going to have ups and downs. Everything is not going to be perfect.”
“My individual goal is to add [Beal] to the All-Star game with me. I feel like if he’s not there, then I didn’t do my job of leading the team,” Wall told The Vertical. “We’ve proved it. I ain’t an All-Star if he ain’t playing. Simple as that. We’ve had arguments in games. You’re going to do that. But if I can put that to the side, see him wide open and make that pass … and if I don’t make that pass and take that shot …”

http://twitter.com/JohnWall/status/780627299901243392
On Friday afternoon, Brooks shared his thoughts for the first time since John Wall and Bradley Beal spoke of on-court chemistry issues in separate CSN interviews. Brooks has read their admissions — and he doesn’t plan on holding emergency counseling sessions before the 2016-17 season begins. “There’s a lot of things I’m worried about going into camp, and every coach in this league is worried about, that is not one of them,” Brooks said about Wall and Beal’s possible rift. “I haven’t even talked to our assistant coaches about it. Will I meet with each player individually? Yes. Will I meet with the team? Yes. Will I meet with the positions together? Yes. But I don’t see our team having a problem with chemistry.”
“Two things I noticed about both of them, they’re very competitive and they care about their teammates. When you have those two qualities, you will never have problems with me as the coach and you’ll never have problems with your teammates,” Brooks said. “With that being said, they’re like brothers and you’re going to have arguments. If you don’t have an argument as an NBA team, that’s odd.”
“I just wanted to clear the air for all these people talking about how I’m watching other people’s pockets and I’m not worried about basketball and getting better,” Wall said directly to the camera. “Listen, that doesn’t matter to me. If I produce like I’m supposed to on the basketball court and take care of myself and image, I’m going to be fine with making money. That’s not why I play the game of basketball.”
“Me, talking about Bradley Beal [making] more money, I’m not mad. I’m happy. He’s my teammate,” Wall said Friday. “He came out at the right time when the contract money came up. I can’t control that." Wall added that if he does what he’s “supposed to do and the Washington Wizards win,” he’ll get his own salary bump in the future.
If Harden’s contract was irritating, just imagine how Wall felt when Beal signed for a five-year max contract worth $127.2 million, tied for the fourth-most-valuable contract in the NBA. An agent described it to me like this: “Whatever is public, multiply it by five and that’s how they really feel about each other. It’s probably a total disaster.”
John Wall recently said he and Bradley Beal “have a tendency to dislike each other,” which is a strange thing to publicly admit. The Wizards’ chemistry issues are apparent, and it’s not like Wall said they actually hate each other, but an inclination to get agitated is not out of his character. Wall is known to keep a close eye on what other players are making, and the paper tossed around this summer has reportedly irked him. One league source familiar with Wall’s state of mind simply put it this way: “Wall’s got jealousy issues. He’s always upset with someone who makes more money than him.” A lot of players will make more money than Wall this year. He signed a five-year, $84.8 million deal in 2013, which looks like chump change now.
Wall admitted he and Beal “have a tendency to dislike each other on the court.” Beal acknowledged he and his back-court mate “lose sight of the fact that we need each other.” With these confessions, suddenly fans’ hopes of the duo matching the dynamic of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson gave way to the fear of an unraveling more akin to Jason Kidd and Jim Jackson, Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning, Chris Paul and everyone. “They got to figure it out,” said Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell, who was a Wizards assistant from 2009 to 2014. “I’m not going to [say] who’s wrong or who’s right, but they got to figure it out.”
On Wednesday morning, Hanlen spoke from Los Angeles and when peppered with questions about Wall and Beal’s relationship, he plainly stated: “If it was a Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook thing, I would have not commented.” “I don’t think there’s a [feuding] situation because I’m as close as anyone to Brad and he’s never said anything bad at John.”
"I think a lot of times we have a tendency to dislike each other on the court. … We got to be able to put that to the side. If you miss somebody on one play or don’t have something go right ... as long as you come to each other and talk. If I starting arguing with somebody I’m cool. I’m just playing basketball," Wall said in a sitdown interview with CSN's Chris Miller that airs tonight, Wizards Central: Offseason Grind, at 7:30 p.m. ET. "Now that you have your money you got to go out there and improve your game. I want you to be an All-Star just as much as I’m an All-Star. If we were playing well as a tandem like the other two superstars that play together as a backcourt, play as a tandem, one night it’s going to be his night, one night it’s going to be mine, some nights it might be both of us. Those are nights it’s going to be tough to beat us."
"It’s tough because we’re both alphas. It’s always tough when you have two guys who firmly believe in themselves, who will bet on themselves against anybody else, who want to be that guy. We both can be that guy," Beal said. "Sometimes I think we both lose sight of the fact that we need each other. I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in without John. John wouldn’t be in the situation he’s in without me, without the rest of the team. It goes hand-in-hand so it’s kind of a pride thing. We got to (hash) out our pride, fiigure out what our goals are individually, help each other achieve those goals, figure out what our team goal is, where do we see ourselves five years from now, 10 years from now and go from there."
Storyline: Wall-Beal Dynamic
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April 8, 2020 | 7:24 am EDT Update

KAT's mother remains in hospital

Two weeks ago, former Kentucky star Karl-Anthony Towns announced his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, was not only diagnosed with COVID-19, but had since been placed in a medically induced coma. In our first public update since that announcement, UK head coach John Calipari told fans “Ms. Jackie” was still fighting for her life in the hospital.
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There was no word of an update on how Towns’ mom, Jacqueline Cruz, had been doing since then until Monday, when John Calipari, Towns’ college coach at Kentucky, said she is still in the hospital. Calipari held a Facebook Live chat and said he has been getting updates from Towns’ father, Karl Sr., on Cruz’s condition in a New Jersey hospital. “She’s fighting. She’s there …” Calipari said. “Keep praying for her. Send her unbelievably positive thoughts, and I just can’t wait until she gets out of that hospital.”
“Ms. Jackie, Karl-Anthony Towns’ mother, is still in that hospital fighting. She’s there,” Calipari said in a Facebook Live video stream Monday evening. “We get updates, every single day we get an update from Karl Sr. about how she’s doing from the nurses at the ICU.” Most importantly, Calipari asked fans to continue to pray for her and send positive thoughts her way during this difficult time. “Keep praying for her, send her unbelievably positive thoughts,” the Kentucky head coach said. “I can’t wait until she gets out of that hospital. It’s been a tough road.”
The Mavericks are set to Dirk Nowitzki’s jersey at the start of next season. During the ceremony, taking place during the team’s second game, the hope was to also unveil the model a Nowitzki statue—no doubt in his signature one-legged jumper pose—that will eventually stand outside the American Airlines Center. Now, that might not happen. “You know, this obviously slowed it down,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told me in a recent interview. “The hope was to have a model ready to show the second game of this coming season when we retire his jersey. We’ll have to see how everything plays out.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
The longest-tenured Knick will enter the final year of his rookie contract, making a hefty $6.2 million in 2020-21. Knicks fans either love or hate their 2017 lottery pick it seems. “Knicks fans, they love the team,’’ Ntilikina said. “They really want the team to be successful. They really have that drive with basketball. Also that’s what makes it really special to be able to play at the Garden.’’
The writings were on the wall and FIBA Europe confirmed today the obvious. No basketball tournaments will be held this summer and the fate of Eurobasket 2021 will be decided on Thursday. Per the press release: The FIBA Europe Board convened on Tuesday to discuss and take decisions about upcoming events. The meeting, which took place via video conference, was chaired by FIBA Europe President Turgay Demirel, with FIBA President Hamane Niang, FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis and FIBA Executive Director Europe Kamil Novak also in attendance.
Fisher, 45, a retired pro after 18 years in the NBA, former New York Knicks head coach and currently head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks, reflected on his time with the one-time MVP and 18-time All-Star Bryant, via ESPN’s First Take. “It’s been up and down. There [have] been days and moments where I feel inspired and motivated and energetic to keep moving on, keep working on … to be great.”
Fisher also referenced Bryant’s commitment to women’s athletics and women’s basketball as the departed Lakers legend remained steadfast in providing an opportunity for 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who also perished along with seven others in the Calabasas, California, helicopter crash in late January. “There are other days where it is a struggle … obviously they have been showing old games of ours, every time you look up there’s something Kobe-related that sometimes makes it tough to accept the fact that he’s not here, makes me feel like I can hit him up when I see him … “I know he would want us all to keep pushing on and channel our inner toughness and keep being who we are, try to be the best version of ourselves.”
April 7, 2020 | 9:30 pm EDT Update
The repayments will hit hardest for players who receive their paychecks on a six-month cycle, who receive more money per pay cycle but don’t get checks during the off-season. (Agents usually prefer 12-month payment plans to protect players from over-spending, and to keep them from struggling once the season ends and paychecks stop rolling in.) It will also hit hard for some players who received advance payments on their contracts. Teams often use advances to lure free agent players to sign deals sooner, at times offering full or partial payment of contracts upfront.
April 7, 2020 | 8:31 pm EDT Update

Arturas Karnisovas favorite to lead Bulls front office

Front office stability has been a gift and curse for the Chicago Bulls, a marquee franchise that’s finally beginning to act like it. Team President and COO Michael Reinsdorf, son of managing partner Jerry Reinsdorf, has taken more of a leading role in the last couple of seasons and is spearheading the search to hire a new top basketball executive. Multiple sources tell Yahoo Sports Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas is the leader in the clubhouse. Karnisovas has a strong draft record and is known to be good in player development, two of the bullet points the Bulls have earmarked for their next top basketball executive.
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Paxson has been involved in the implementation of the search and restructuring of the organization. He’s a favorite of Jerry Reinsdorf, having been a player on championship teams, a broadcaster and now, as executive vice-president. Sources say he’ll be as involved or uninvolved as the new head of basketball operations wants him to be, and it hasn’t been a deterrent in the search, given the awkward nature on its face.
The team now comes together every Friday virtually through Zoom. It’s the new reality NBA teams face with the season suspended, but coach Taylor Jenkins has made sure the meetings are less formal and more fun. “We do some trivia games, try to keep it lighthearted and see as many smiles and some playful banter back and forth as if guys were in the locker room,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins was hopeful the season would resume but also placed basketball in a bigger context “This is a global pandemic, and we realize that basketball pales in comparison to what’s happening in just life in general,” Jenkins said. “We do realize that basketball is a big portion of people’s daily lives and happiness and outlets, just like sports in general. But we all do realize that doesn’t come without making sure there’s a safe world that we’re living in.”
April 7, 2020 | 7:31 pm EDT Update

Joe Harris hoping to remain a Net for life

Harris not only loves basketball, but being in Brooklyn. In February, the pending unrestricted free agent said he hopes to re-sign with the Nets this summer, and Monday he told YES Network’s Ian Eagle he would love to remain a Net for life. “In [an] ideal world, I’d play my whole career in Brooklyn,” Harris said. “I came in with [GM] Sean [Marks] even the ownership. It’s just one of those things where you have a close connection with a lot of people that are within the organization. You kind of all came in together.
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With the coronavirus pandemic gripping much of society and four Nets having tested positive for COVID-19, Joe Harris reassured fans he is healthy — albeit stuck in quarantine and having to find creative ways to do what he’s best known for: shoot the rock. “Yeah, everybody is good health-wise thankfully,” Harris said Monday in an Instagram Live session on the NBA account. “Obviously crazy times for everybody, but definitely fortunate on my side of things that everything is going well.”
“I have some basketballs around, I have enough space in my apartment where I can tinker around with some different basketball training apps like HomeCourt, do some different dribbling drills,” Harris said. “Then just little form shooting, if you’re sitting on the couch just watching Netflix hanging out I can just sit there shooting like you would back in the day when you were a kid, just laying there thinking about different scenarios, shooting the ball in your hands.”
Garnett said he will not call for his induction to be a ’08 Celtics reunion, but everybody is invited. “That’s not important,” he said Monday. “I wouldn’t dare ask those guys to do that. I’m not a guy to do that. If someone wants to do something on their own, fine. That ’08 team, I have connections with everybody on that team. We will forever be brothers. Nothing more, nothing less.”
“I’ve been very vocal on my distaste for what Ray did, that was real for everybody that was involved,” Garnett said. “That’s real life. We was in real beef with Miami at the time and very similar to if someone was to go from the Lakers to the Celtics and vice versa. No one will speak on the underlyings of it, but that was a real thing. Miami and Boston. That was a real thing. Yeah, Ray made a decision; I wouldn’t expect Ray to be at anything of mine. And vice versa. If I see him, I’ll speak. I’ll say hello to his family like always and keep it pushing. He knows that decision altered and made us all feel different.”
April 7, 2020 | 5:28 pm EDT Update
The Lakers plan to ask top-level executives to voluntarily defer 20% of their pay as the team navigates its finances during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to people familiar with the situation. The requests have not been made, but will be done in hopes of avoiding cuts that impact lower level staff members. Once the deferments begin, they will last until the first regular season game of the 2020-21 season or mid-December, whichever comes sooner.
Storyline: Salary Reductions
“I feel like they need our help right now,” Bogdanovic told The Athletic. “It doesn’t matter where you donate, where you’re trying to help, I feel like the whole world needs some kind help. So it’s good to be there (to help), especially in this tough time. I’m just following the example of others I saw and I hope I will be an example for someone else.” According to the U.S. Embassy in Serbia, there are 2,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 58 deaths as of Monday. Commercial flights in and out of Serbia have been suspended indefinitely.
Storyline: Coronavirus
Bogdanovic plans to continue to monitor the happenings around the world and how he might be able to help. He also believes players can begin to look at their lives from a bigger perspective and what they might want to pursue after basketball. “I feel like everyone should see what is going on and what it might be like when you’re retired,” Bogdanovic said. “That’s what you can learn from this situation, and follow the rules that the government is giving us, the World Health Organization as well, for this pandemic to go away as quickly as it can.”
April 7, 2020 | 4:32 pm EDT Update
For a scout used to being on the road 25 days a month, that’s a shock to his system in itself. He is not fully recovered yet, though. “I’m to assume that I still have it,” for at least 12 more days, Hanks said on Tuesday. But he’s not complaining. “It’s a lot better than the alternative,” Hanks said Tuesday morning. “A week ago, they gave me a 12% chance of walking out of the hospital. I’ve always been a glass half-full guy. And I still am. But now, if the glass is a quarter full, I’m happy with that.”
Storyline: Maury Hanks Health
What he’s sure of is that the coronavirus is nothing like the flu. He sees his experience as a cautionary tale for everyone. “It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on politically, people have got to take this thing seriously,” he said. “I really believe the next 60 days will be worse than the last 30. People have got to stay home and stay 10 feet apart, or whatever it is the doctors say we need to do. I can tell you first-hand, this is no joke. I don’t want anybody to go through what I went through.”
April 7, 2020 | 4:15 pm EDT Update
Last summer, Adebayo was cut from the USA Basketball tryouts for the World Cup. That only added fuel to his fire. “For me, it’s just going out there and proving people wrong,” he said. “I took that to the chin, and it gave me a bigger chip on my shoulder for the season.” It is why he is hopeful that this is not all there will be for the 2019-20 season. “I’m thinking bigger picture; I want a championship,” he said. “I feel like we can make a run and make noise and do a lot of things that people said we couldn’t.”
The coincidence in the Bulls’ search for a new head of basketball operations isn’t as much that Zanik interviewed Monday and is considered a finalist for the job. It’s that Josh Paxson and Kevin O’Connor enjoy a respectful professional relationship, and the family ownership structures and philosophies of the Jazz and Bulls are similar. The Reinsdorfs, like the leaguewide perception of Jazz ownership, are known for running the business side and letting basketball operations do their jobs.
Storyline: Bulls Front Office
The Reinsdorfs are known for their loyalty and Paxson, along with Gar Forman, who has held the general manager title since 2009, has headed basketball operations for 17 years. But the perception that Paxson will be some hovering presence, going kicking and screaming into the night, is simply wrong. Early this season, Paxson communicated his vision to ownership for a new-look, more modern front office. He initiated some of this need for change.
April 7, 2020 | 4:02 pm EDT Update
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