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.”
July 1, 2022 | 10:15 pm EDT Update
In his first national team appearance in six years, and first game in his hometown since high school, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 of his 32 points in a dominant third quarter, leading Canada to a 95-75 victory over the Dominican Republic in World Cup qualifying.
Nick Nurse started his four NBA players Friday: Gilgeous-Alexander, who received loud applause from his hometown crowd at what used to be Copps Coliseum, Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Utah Jazz), Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks), and Olynyk (Detroit Pistons), plus national team mainstay Melvin Ejim.
July 1, 2022 | 8:21 pm EDT Update
The Jazz sent Rudy Gobert to Minnesota in a deal that netted Utah four future first-round picks and 2022 first-round pick Walker Kessler, per ESPN. Reports from The Athletic and ESPN stated that Utah has no plans to trade Mitchell and would retool its roster around Donovan Mitchell. But there is some skepticism about Utah’s long-term plans in the wake of the Gobert trade. Several teams still view Mitchell as attainable for the right return.
People in touch with the Knicks prior to the draft said the club was wary of trading the combination of picks and players that it would take to land a player like Mitchell. The thinking, according to people in touch with the club at the time, was that there wouldn’t be enough left on the roster to field a contending team.
If Utah decides to trade Mitchell, Miami is certainly a team to watch. The Heat’s situation is complicated by the club’s pursuit of Kevin Durant (according to a source, several people were lobbying Durant on behalf of Miami on Thursday and Friday in the wake of his trade request out of Brooklyn).