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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”
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.
But why would the Wizards trade a young, productive star on a reasonable deal? According to the rival executives and agents, the Wizards may not and have indicated no willingness to part with Beal. The problem is Wall. “Wall is unmovable,” one of the rival executives told B/R.
Every time you ask Wall or his people, they say he wants to be a Wizard for life. It’s good to hear, and also understandable-he’s been given the keys to this franchise since he got here. But the Wizards are putting a lot of coin in his pocket, too. “It’s on John to demand more of John,” a veteran Eastern Conference front office executive said last week.
Some in the league believe the Knicks are stocking up their young assets and will make a major play for Wall if he becomes available. The Wizards (9-14) were said to be ready to break it up after their disastrous start. It would have to be a three-team deal with the Knicks throwing in Ntilikina, Dotson, Courtney Lee (for cap purposes), a 2020 first-round and second-round pick.
Alan Hahn: Literally no one believes this. No one. This is the definition of Fake News
NBA teams remain uncertain about the trade bonus in John Wall’s contract, league sources confirmed to ESPN. As Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this month, the All-Star point guard — along with the rest of the Washington Wizards’ roster — is available to discuss in trade scenarios. Interest in Wall is close to nonexistent around the league, per sources. Still, teams are going through the complicated exercise of trying to understand how a Wall trade would even work.
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.
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.”
On Tuesday, ahead of the Wizards’ next game against the Clippers, Wall made his first comments on the matter. He noted it was the first time he’s been mentioned in a credible trade report. “I don’t know what [trade rumors] feel like,” he said.
While discussing the possibility of leaving, Wall made it clear he doesn’t want to be traded. “I love being here. I want to finish my career here,” he said. “That’s all I can control is playing basketball. I can’t control nothing else.”
SLAM Magazine: John Wall: “To hear certain things like being traded… It’s kind of funny and frustrating at the same time. But I’ve been through worse things. I just stand over top of all of that.” 💯 (via @HoopDistrictDC) pic.twitter.com/uXzQnwGu1I
Several executives said Tuesday that finding a suitor for Wall would be difficult at best. One put it more bluntly. “If they can get anything for Wall and don’t do it, they are idiots,” the executive said.
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.
Fred Katz: From talking with people around the NBA, the league is as down on Wall’s value as you’d imagine. Supermax deal ($170-plus million over four years) starts next year, and people are genuinely wondering about his locker room dynamic. Today isn’t helping that.
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.”
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.
Granted, the money will make any negotiations complex. If there is a Wall suitor that makes sense, it’s the Miami Heat, who need an injection of star talent, and are financially saddled entering next summer’s potentially starry free agency period. Stuck with Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson through 2020, the Heat are in a position to take a risk and inject some energy into a roster replete with tough players, but lacking in ceiling. It was a poorly-kept secret that the Heat were part of the preseason sweepstakes for Jimmy Butler, which ended over the weekend as the Timberwolves dealt him to the 76ers. That move served to beef up an established Eastern Conference hierarchy that includes neither Miami nor Washington—a Wall trade between the two teams would be more about shaping plans for the future.
Wall already spends a large chunk of his summers living in Miami. There is ongoing chatter that his partying habit has become an issue, which he’s addressed publicly. But the Heat have long held a firm organizational belief in their ability to get the most out of their players, with a focus on conditioning and discipline and a track record of rehabilitating careers. It would still be a serious long-term financial risk for the Heat, but if nothing else it’s a fresh approach to rejiggering a team that has grown somewhat stagnant, and clearly fallen short of its intended ceiling.
A Wall deal before July 1 is unlikely in part due to complexities surrounding his 15 percent trade kicker — believed to be the first trade kicker that would be spread over the length of a supermax contract. Trade kickers cannot lift a player’s salary above his maximum in the year he is traded, meaning Wall’s payout could shrink if the Wizards trade him in 2019-20 once he shifts onto his supermax deal — and perhaps close to $0 in that 2019-20 season, sources say.
If they trade him before then, they might owe him a giant lump sum, sources say. (Wall’s 2018-19 salary of $19.2 million is well below his eligible maximum because he signed his current deal under a lower salary-cap figure.) None of this is 100 percent clear in the collective bargaining agreement, and it will need to be studied further if it proves relevant. Rises in salary cap at some point during the length of Wall’s supermax could trigger further trade kicker payments to him. We might be down to one plausible candidate to send Washington real value for Wall at some point over the next year-plus: Phoenix, run by an impatient owner, Robert Sarver, without a seasoned GM to check his most dangerous impulses.
Steve Kyler: Huh? Wizards not remotely interested in trading John Wall.
Larry Berger: Hearing 3 impact guys available – Wash exploring moving John Wall, Det. willing to entertain offers for Reggie Jackson and Stanley Johnson.
Most, if not all, NBA talent scouts, would have Wall, based on ability and potential, rated significantly ahead of Dragic, and it’s not as if the Heat are in any position to throw in draft picks to sweeten such a deal, with a pair of first-rounders still owed for Dragic. But the Wall possibilities do appear to grow more interesting by the day, particularly at moments of venting. The Heat’s next home game is against the Wizards, on Monday night, so perhaps we’ll see if there is a welcome wagon in place.
In talking to multiple persons with knowledge of the situation as recent as Wednesday afternoon, the Wizards remain determined to keep their core intact which means Beal stays put with John Wall, Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat, Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter.
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May 25, 2019 | 8:19 pm EDT Update
Sportradar, an authorized data distributor for the NBA, sent a letter Thursday notifying sportsbook operators that the league was forcing it to “cease providing to you NBA Official Data for use in the United States unless and until you are an Authorized Gaming Operator of the NBA.” According to the letter, obtained by ESPN, Sportradar will shut down access of the feed at 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Game 1 of the Finals is Thursday.
The NBA’s data feed is primarily used by sportsbooks to run their live betting options, updating odds that are offered on different outcomes throughout the game. Live or in-game betting is a growing market in the U.S. but still does not represent significant betting handle for sportsbooks in Las Vegas. The vast majority of money bet on in-game wagering options is on the point spread, money-line and over/under total points, bookmakers say.