Storyline: Wall-Beal Dynamic

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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.”

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.”

“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.”

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.

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.”

“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.

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.”

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.”

“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.”
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September 15, 2019 | 1:07 pm EDT Update
“But everyone has ideas of what they want their role to be, and for most people it never fits what they want,” Winslow added after saying he wants to play as a point guard this season. “Everyone always wants a bigger role, whatever team you’re on. So you just have to understand that as a basketball player — everyone wants the ball late in the games, everyone wants the ball in their hands, everybody wants every play to be run for them.”
With the Heat trading Josh Richardson to the 76ers as part of the Butler deal this offseason, Winslow said of the departure of his close friend and fellow member of the Heat’s 2015 draft class: “Just the emotional standpoint, that’s someone I grew close to. So even more than just having him as a teammate, just having him around the city, being able to go to his house, go out to eat, having that just easy communication, I’ll always have by my side. As a competitor, it won’t be too hard. It’s part of the business, but the emotional part is a little hard, but we’ll be Rook 1 and Rook 2 forever.”
“That’s super-sweet,” Nowitzki said Sunday at his Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic on the SMU campus. “That was a surprise to me. It’s of course an honor. I don’t think anybody else has done that before. I’m super, super thankful to Mark (Cuban). I think it was actually his idea for the Mavericks to execute that. It’s going to be surreal going to games and seeing that right there. It’s definitely special.”
He’s the NBA’s sixth-leading all-time scorer and will have a stretch of Olive Street in front of AAC renamed Nowitzki Way. While no word has come yet about when a statue will be erected in front of the building, it’s fair to say that the day will come sooner than later. “Yeah, it’s a lot, but of course, that will be something I’ll always be proud of,” Nowitzki said of all the honors. “If I take my kids to the game in 10 years and driving on Nowitzki Way, I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that. It’s been a beautiful summer, I got to say. Getting honored everywhere. All the sports teams here and went to all sorts of galas and they honored me. It’s been special.”
September 15, 2019 | 11:40 am EDT Update
September 15, 2019 | 11:23 am EDT Update
The Toronto Raptors center becomes the second player to win an NBA title and a FIBA world gold medal in the same year, joining Lamar Odom — who did it for the Los Angeles Lakers and USA Basketball in 2010. Gasol also became the 19th to win either an NBA or WNBA crown along with a gold medal, either of the Olympic or World Cup variety, in the same year. The first 18 all did it for the U.S. This time, Vamos España! “NBA champion and a World Cup champion as well,” Gasol said. “What can I say? How does it sound to you? I feel very fortunate to be in this position and be able to play this game and help these guys be part of history of Spanish basketball.”
September 15, 2019 | 9:55 am EDT Update
September 15, 2019 | 7:18 am EDT Update
Globally, there has been a lot of talk about Team USA’s absences, and the 32 players who withdraw their names from the preliminary roster. Fournier, 26 was critical of his competitors in the NBA: “It does [bother me]. To be honest, when you look at LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and all these guys… they came here already and won, so it’s fine. But for friends of mine like Tobias [Harris], I thought it was a great opportunity for him to see something different and compete. I think they don’t realize how beneficial this is for their career. It’s a great tournament, great basketball, super intense. I know you have to work on your game, but this is way better.”
September 15, 2019 | 5:35 am EDT Update
Of course, everyone in Milwaukee wants Giannis to stick around until the day he calls it a career. If he were to sign the deal, it would prevent him from entering free agency in July of 2021, when his current contract is set to expire. It’s long been assumed that the Bucks will give him anything he wants, and on Saturday, it was confirmed by general manager Jon Horst at a town hall with fans of the team. “First of all, the answer for it, right now, is we can’t talk and negotiate anything,” Horst said. “So Giannis, basically a year from now, will be eligible for a supermax extension. At that time, of course, he will be offered a supermax extension.”
LiAngelo entered the G League player pool last season and went unsigned, without a peep of interest from teams the entirety of the season. During a recent radio interview with Big Boy, Lonzo Ball gave some interesting thoughts on LiAngelo’s game and whether he could hang in the NBA. “I think he can make it. He’s 6-foot-6, he can shoot, he’s 240 pounds, so he’s strong enough to guard anybody. I mean, as long he gets healthy and works on his handle, he should be alright.”
A mere three months after helping the Toronto Raptors win the NBA Finals, Gasol has led Spain to the gold medal game at the World Cup. It’ll be Spain against Argentina on Sunday, with both nations looking for their second title. Spain won the world championship in 2006 when Gasol was a 21-year-old backup, and Argentina won the inaugural tournament in 1950. “I’m so deep in the rabbit hole right now that I don’t get to see much light,” Gasol said. “You’re so focused on your opponent, your next rival, recovering, doing whatever’s necessary to win games that you don’t look at the big picture. It’s been great. I’m very fortunate. “I knew that committing to the national team this summer would not be easy physically. But it’s so worth it, and not just because we’re in the final game.”
Sanders was asked during an appearance on “The Kyle Kulinski Show” who he’d pick between James and Jordan, and unsurprisingly this is another area where his opinion differs from the current president: Kulinski: Last question: Michael Jordan or LeBron James? Sanders: LeBron James. Kulinski: Is that because of the policy he just supported with you? Sanders: Well actually, yes, I think LeBron has been willing to do what a lot of athletes are not and get involved in the political process, put money into education, and I respect that.
Storyline: LeBron vs. Jordan Debate
September 14, 2019 | 6:36 pm EDT Update
Conley spent 12 seasons with the Grizzlies, more than a third of his life, and so “this is still home,” the 31-year-old said. “It’s all I know.” Still, he arrived in Memphis for the first time since being traded to the Utah Jazz in June, and even the flight Thursday night felt strange. He went to the house he still owns here, where half the furniture has already been moved to Utah and thought, “this doesn’t even feel like my home anymore.”
“Not a lot of players get that connection with the team or the organization. Like I really did care about how the team would fare after I left if I got traded, who they got in the trade,” Conley said. “It was almost like I was negotiating the deal for them, like make sure you get this, that and the other because you want to have more picks or more people, and I’m just thrilled to see the guys they got. They got a heck of a future in front of them because of the trades they were able to make for Marc, or myself, or Chandler (Parsons), and just really turned it over well.”
“I’m excited to welcome Gabe and Dan as my partners in Hornets Sports & Entertainment,” said Michael Jordan. “While I will continue to run the Charlotte Hornets, make all decisions related to the team and organization, and remain the team’s NBA Governor, Gabe and Dan’s investment in the franchise is invaluable, as we continue to modernize, add new technology and strive to compete with the best in the NBA. Both Gabe and Dan are industry standard-setters and proven leaders, with a belief in philanthropy and a passion for the game of basketball. They share my commitment to Charlotte and the Carolinas, and I look forward to working with and learning from them.”
September 14, 2019 | 5:03 pm EDT Update
Mark Leonard was the owner of a car wash here Compton. Witnesses say he was shot and killed after an argument with an associate. Investigators are hoping Kawhi’s NBA fame and his return to Los Angeles may jog some memories about the murder and may bring some clues to who was behind it. “Now they are finding out this was Kawhi’s father and they may not have known that back then. Although it may be risky to get involved, they may be compelled to come forward, Lt. Shaun McCarthy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
22 hours ago via ABC7
September 14, 2019 | 4:56 pm EDT Update
Horst’s response: “First of all, the answer for now is that we can’t talk and negotiate anything. So Giannis, basically, a year from now will be eligible for a supermax extension. At that time, of course, he will be offered a supermax extension.”


September 14, 2019 | 2:49 pm EDT Update
Popovich said it’s too early to think about what USA Basketball needs to do before getting ready for the Tokyo Games. But he warned — just as two-time gold medalist Kobe Bryant did on Friday — that the days of American romps to gold are done. “There are a lot of great teams in the world,” Popovich said. “It’s not written in stone that the United States is supposed to walk to a championship. That’s pretty old-school thinking. Even the teams that have won in the past had a lot of close calls.”
24 hours ago via ESPN
The Raptors-branded sports hijab, the first of its kind in the NBA, has been in the works since the playoffs this past spring, said Jerry Ferguson, senior director of marketing at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. The inspiration to release the hijab came from the Hijabi Ballers, Ferguson said, referring to a group of young Muslim women in Toronto who play basketball every Sunday, and advocate for increased participation of Muslim women in sports.
September 14, 2019 | 12:04 pm EDT Update
September 14, 2019 | 9:58 am EDT Update
“People want to play the blame game, there’s no blame to be placed anywhere,” Popovich said. “They want to play the shame game, like we should be ashamed because we didn’t win a gold medal? That’s a ridiculous attitude. It’s immature, it’s arrogant, and it shows that whoever thinks that doesn’t respect all the other teams in the world and doesn’t respect that these guys did the best they could.”
Storyline: World Cup
“I don’t fault anybody that decided not to come — everybody’s got a life,” Popovich said. “Things happen in people’s families. People have things going on. Could be injuries, could be personal commitments that they have. Whoever came, came. “This group I couldn’t have been happier with any other group no matter who would’ve come. They wouldn’t have worked any harder this group.”
September 14, 2019 | 2:22 am EDT Update

Sebastian Telfair out of jail

Sebastian Telfair is FREEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! … for now. The ex-NBA star and former H.S. prodigy is out of prison just days after he was sentenced to 3.5 years in his gun case … but there’s a chance Telfair could end up back behind bars. Here’s the deal … 34-year-old Telfair was convicted of possessing an illegal firearm stemming from a June 2017 incident where he was caught with an arsenal of weapons during a traffic stop.
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Steve Kerr: It’s hard to express how thankful I am to have coached this man the past 5 years. What an amazing combination of talent, grace, & character. I will miss his calm leadership,his presence, his passing & his turnaround jumpers in the post. Nothing but great things ahead!

Storyline: Shaun Livingston Retirement
“Dot’s a legend,” David West said via text. Livingston’s teammates called him Dot, a spinoff of S-Dot, as in S. Livingston. Jay-Z, whose government name is Sean Carter, made it a popular nickname for “S” names with his 1999 song “S. Carter.” “He came back from an injury that would have sealed the fate of most players,” West said. “He had a determination that should be admired for years to come. Great teammate and even better person. Proud to call him a friend.”
He really appreciated winning. He really liked being around the guys. He really liked good conversation. I’ve seen him pull a reporter aside and compliment a piece. I’ve also seen him politely chastise a reporter about a piece in defense of his teammates. I’ve heard him be critical about himself and I’ve heard him break down what a teammate needs to work on. I’ve seen him give that look-you-in-the-eye thank you to the workers most others overlook.
The loose ball foul against Andrew Bogut is the one most will point to – he sure did – with the centre apparently making contact with Marc Gasol, who would hit a pair of free throws to give Spain a one-point lead. Patty Mills would split a pair on the other end, sending the game to overtime. “They’re furious. They’re crushed and furious,” Longley said. “Where their fury is directed, I can’t tell you. Probably all over the place. It’s very quiet in there. That’s the team we lost to in Rio, but we felt like we deserved to win it. We felt like we played well enough to win it. Yeah, it’s pretty quiet in there.”
Rose and Noah were teammates on the Bulls and New York Knicks. Rose says Noah is a free spirit, loving guy and wants his son — PJ — to grow up like Noah. The closest teammate I’ve had—other than Randall Hampton in high school—was Joakim Noah, and that’s where Arthur Ashe comes in again. A lot of people don’t mess with Joakim because they think there’s some bad shit that comes with him or just how outspoken he is or whatever. For me, I can respect that, knowing everything about him, like for him to be who he is and act the way he is. It’s an amazing story behind it. I actually want my son PJ to grow up to be like Joakim. You know, a free spirit, a loving guy. Joakim loves people. He’s just a great role model. And his story is special. And think of Jo. To be this silver-spoon kid, his dad is a big star, rich and famous, and he don’t want nothing to do with that. Like, “Nah, I’m doing my own thing.” Gets multiple contracts by himself when he easily could have lived off of his pops forever. His pops could’ve got him jobs. But he didn’t want that. He’s got his own individuality. That’s what I love about Jo, how he created something on his own.
Charles Barkley wasn’t playing to the crowd when talking about how much he believes in the current 76ers. On the day that he became the eighth former Sixer to have a sculpture unveiled in his honor at the team’s practice facility, Barkley let it be known that he has the highest expectations for this coming season. “I already picked the 76ers to win the championship next year, so no pressure,” he said during a stirring acceptance speech before the unveiling of his statue. “I mean that sincerely.”
Former German national team and NBA superstar Dirk Nowitzki has been appointed as Chair of the Players Commission on Saturday at the first FIBA Central Board meeting for the new term. With this appointment, he also becomes a member of the 25-member FIBA Central Board. Nowitzki has had an illustrious playing career for Germany and consistently was a star performer at numerous FIBA tournaments for more than 15 years. He led his country to its best-ever result at a FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2002, finishing in third place, the nation’s only podium finish at the world level. He also led Germany’s run to the Final of FIBA EuroBasket in 2005, finishing in second place.
2 days ago via FIBA
Klay Thompson: These past few weeks have been so unimaginably hard for Bahamians, especially on the islands of Abaco and Freeport. People have lost everything- loved ones, family, possessions, homes. Whatever you cherish it’s gone for these communities. This is far from a quick fix, it will take years and years of rebuilding. The @thompsonfamilyfoundation will do everything in its power to help with relief efforts right now and for many years to come. All contributions no matter how big or small will go long way and are greatly appreciated.
NBA star James Harden is being sued by a man who claims he lied about the use of a $30 million mansion in Beverly Hills according to TMZ. The man, George Santo Pietro, owns the mansion which includes 8 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a gym, a spa and a pool. TMZ said Harden signed a contract to use the mansion for one week and he paid over $82,000. One of the things Santo Pietro said that there were details in the contract that stated Harden could not have more than seven adults on the property at any time.
September 13, 2019 | 9:00 pm EDT Update
The New Orleans Pelicans announced today the additions and changes to Head Coach Alvin Gentry’s coaching staff. Chris Finch has been named Associate Head Coach, Offense. Jeff Bzdelik (Associate Head Coach, Defense) and Jamelle McMillan (Assistant Coach) join Fred Vinson on the coaching staff. Joe Boylan has been elevated to Assistant Coach/Director of Player Development, while Michael Ruffin has been promoted to Assistant coach/Player Development.
What everyone really wants to know is how top draft pick Zion Williamson looked on the course. The answer: not bad. His swing was reasonably fluid, with a nice clean takeaway and good rotation in his hips. There’s just one problem. He’s such a mountain of a man that he snapped the club with a single swing. The head of the club was eventually found some distance away.