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Beal handles first NBA practice in stride


Beal handles first NBA practice in stride

Even a veteran of the NBA life like Wizards 52-year-old head coach Randy Wittman admitted to some tossing and turning the night before the first day of training camp. As for 19-year-old Bradley Beal, the talented guard drafted to knock down 3's, his sleep was all about getting Z's."I didnt have any trouble at all."There's the pressure of being the third overall selection in the NBA Draft. There's the reality that less than two years ago he was playing in high school and is just a handful of months removed from the college scene - and yet Tuesday's first practice was just that, practice."It was fine. It was just like any other practice," said Beal, talking with the media on the Patriot Center court at George Mason University minutes after his first professional training camp workout."I wasnt nervous. I didnt come in nervous. Its just a normal thing. I came in to work hard and prove myself, just keep battling and try to earn my spot."The largely no-contact practice still involved plenty of running as Wittman ran the team through various offensive sets. The sweat that poured off Beal's head as he recapped the day in front of reporters and camera came from on-court effort, not stress.

"It was pretty good. It was fun to get up and down with the guys, just seeing everybody perform with energy, guys competing. No contact, really. It was a still a good time," Beal said.Call it youthful unawareness; call it being mature beyond his years, but once again Beal's composure, a trait exhibited during the Las Vegas summer league presented itself - and in a scenario where the battles for playing time are no mere exhibitions. "Very talented. Im impressed with his poise," Jannero Pargo said. Signed by the Wizards on Monday, Pargo played alongside Beal on the de facto second unit during the portion of practice open to the media. "I think a lot of rookies come in and they press and try too hard," said Pargo, himself a veteran of eight previous NBA campaigns. "It seemed like he took his time and went hard when it was time to go hard and he looked pretty good."Beal, he of the textbook jumper, also made an impression with his play."He can shoot the ball. He can really shoot the ball," said Trevor Ariza, part of the half-dozen new guys on the roster including the Florida Gator product. "Hes ready to play. He can play."The when Beal plays and for how often is yet to be determined, though early indications point to the Wizards keeping him within the confines of the familiar shooting guard role even with John Wall's injury."Nobody needs to be anything more than they are," Wittman said. "This team wasn't build solely based on one player to carry us. We're seeing it. Opportunities might expand from a playing situation. We just got to worry about Bradley being Bradley, being a rookie coming into this situation seeing how much he can handle seeing how much he can't handle before we get into deciding to thrust somebody further along that we need to be."Though comfortable with the ball in his hands, Beal is on the same page when it comes to his initial role."It shouldnt change at all," Beal said. "We still have other point guards here, and we just have to keep moving forward. Theyre pretty different than John, but thats something youve got to adjust to. Things happen in the game, injuries happen so you just have to keep moving forward."Like the rest of the roster, Beal arrived physically ready for the rigors of camp - Wittman stated he was "impressed with our conditioning." Unlike many in his age range, Beal grasps that the physical component is only part of the equation for success on the highest level."Ive been faced with this situation almost all my life. Ive always had to grow up faster than what I am. Im mentally prepared for that, honestly," Beal said. "Ive always been like that. Im humble, and guys always say I act older than what I am so I always keep that mentally and make sure everything is focused and serious. Its a business so if I have to grow up fast, like everybody wants me to, Im willing to do that."For the record, there was at least one tumble in the rookie's day. As the media shuffled into the stands overlooking the court, all eyes noticed in the flow a play the 6-foot-4 guard falling, hitting the hardwood and then staying down for an extra beat or two. Before any heartbeats were elevated, Beal hoped back up and carried on, no worse for wear."I tripped over the line," he later joked. "As soon as you guys walked in, I guess I got nervous. I get a coupon this time, but it wont happen again."We'll call it a slip. Certainly had little to do with nerves.

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Elena Delle Donne the favorite to win WNBA MVP, according to league GMs

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Elena Delle Donne the favorite to win WNBA MVP, according to league GMs

Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne is one of the best players in the WNBA, and thus is always in the discussion for MVP honors. 

And heading into the 2019 season, league GMs give her the best chance of anyone to actually hoist the trophy when it's all said and done. 

In a WNBA.com survey of general managers, 42 percent picked Delle Donne to win MVP in 2019. Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury had the second-most votes at 25 percent, followed by A’ja Wilson of Las Vegas Aces at 17 percent then Las Vegas' Liz Cambage and Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun at eight percent. 

Delle Donne won her first and only WNBA MVP award in 2015 as a member of the Chicago Sky when she averaged a career-high 23.4 points per game. And with the Mystics set to make another run at the WNBA title (58 percent of GMs predicted Washington to have the most regular season wins in the Eastern Conference), she has a great opportunity to get her second this season. 


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Explained: What is an NBA supermax contract and how does it work?

Explained: What is an NBA supermax contract and how does it work?

As All-NBA teams are announced and franchises have to make decisions about contract extensions, fans will see the term "supermax contract" thrown around a lot. 

Here's a quick primer with everything you need to know about the NBA's most lucrative player deals. 

What is a supermax contract?

Officially known as the "Designated Veteran Player Extension," this rule allows teams to re-sign qualified players to maximum five-year contracts worth up to 35 percent of the salary cap with eight percent escalation in each subsequent year.

The length of the supermax deal depends on the player's years of NBA experience and years remaining on his current contract. 

  • A qualified player who has completed seven or eight years of service and has two years left on his contract is eligible for a four-year supermax (keeping the player with the same team for a total of six seasons)
  • A qualified player who has completed seven or eight years of service and has one year left on his contract is eligible for a five-year supermax (keeping the player with the same team for a total of six seasons)
  • A qualified free agent who has completed eight or nine years of service is eligible for a five-year supermax 

Furthermore, teams cannot trade a supermax player for the first year after he signs the contract.  

How much is a supermax contract worth?

Valued up to 35 percent of the salary cap in the initial year and subject to eight percent escalation in each subsequent year, these deals are mammoth money.

For example, the Wizards signed John Wall to a four-year supermax in the summer of 2017 when he had two years left on his contract. The supermax money begins in 2019-20 and pays Wall $38.15 million that year. With annual escalations, his supermax is worth $170.912 million over the four-year lifetime of the deal. 

According to a report by Yahoo's Chris Haynes, Damian Lillard—who has two years remaining on his current deal with the Trail Blazers and is expected to be named to an All-NBA team—will be offered a four-year supermax extension worth roughly $191 million this summer. 

Who is eligible to sign a supermax contract?

Very few players qualify for a supermax contract. First, only a player that has (or will have) completed eight years of NBA service by the end of his current contract is eligible to sign a supermax deal, which can only be offered by the team that drafted him or traded for his rookie contract. 

Then, a player must meet one of the following three criteria.

  • Be named to an All-NBA team in the most recent season or both seasons before it
  • OR, be named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the most recent season or both seasons before it
  • OR, be named NBA MVP in any of the three previous seasons

Which players have received supermax contracts?

  • Stephen Curry - Golden State Warriors
  • James Harden - Houston Rockets
  • Russell Westbrook - Oklahoma City Thunder
  • John Wall - Washington Wizards

Who could receive a supermax contract this summer?

Anthony Davis is already eligible for a supermax offer from the Pelicans. And depending on the All-NBA, DPOY and MVP selections, the following players also could receive supermax offers:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo - Milwaukee Bucks
  • Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers
  • Klay Thompson - Golden State Warriors
  • Kemba Walker - Charlotte Hornets
  • Andre Drummond - Detroit Pistons
  • Bradley Beal - Washington Wizards 

What are the drawbacks to supermax deals?

The supermax contract was designed to help teams retain their players by allowing them to offer significantly more money than the competition; however, teams that offer such contracts are squeezing themselves in terms of salary cap room to fill out their rosters. 

No franchise can carry more than two supermax players at 35 percent of the cap each. Functionally, though, it's difficult for a team to have more than one.

Two supermax players would account for 70 percent of a team's salary in any given year, leaving the club virtually unable to sign a competitive supporting cast.