The Charlotte Bobcats made a trade! No, not that one. The second overall pick in Thursday's NBA Draft remains with Michael Jordan's team. This transaction involved shipping the overpriced Corey Meggetteto the Pistons for the overpriced Ben Gordon and a 2013 lottery protected first-round pick. The rub is Gordon's deal has more years on it.Sure, fine, whatever. And...Well, the andis this qualifies as potentially good news for the Wizards, assuming thedrafting of Florida guard Bradley Beal is the goal. Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap stated this week that the Bobcats roster, like the Wizards, was devoid of perimeter shooters. Though Gordon's game has disappointed since signing a massive free agent deal with the Pistons, he brings this element to Charlotte. Factor in the Bobcats already have a vertically challenged backcout and Beal makes less and less sense - should they keep the pick. Now it comes down to whether the Bobcats can find a trading partner or not. Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson remains the most likely option for Charlotte, even more so now. The only way to ensure he becomes a Bobcat is by staying put. Well, that or moving down just one spot.
LeBron James is coming to town. Normally the focus remains with the four-time MVP whenever he makes an appearance. Those looking beyond Sunday’s Lakers-Wizards meeting in Washington might split their concentration. Think trade.
The Wizards (11-17) are still trying for a foothold after early-season wobbles. Now 9-8 since a 2-9 start, they enter Friday’s game at Brooklyn having lost three in a row. The notion of adding help or breaking up the band exists. There are also salary cap concerns going forward.
Possible trade partners vary, but the Lakers may target All-Star level help to pair with James. The rumor mill is aware of those factors and constantly churning out ideas typically involving John Wall or Bradley Beal. All will take the court together this weekend.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith offered his own Washington-centric take to NBC Sports Washington following Wednesday’s Celtics-Wizards overtime thriller.
“You have to trade Bradley Beal,” Smith said.
“The reason why you have to trade Bradley Beal is he’s three years younger (than Wall), he’s got two years less left on his contract, and if you scour the league every executive will tell you he’s the higher commodity because John Wall’s game is predicated on athleticism and speed and conditioning. Usually, father time says that dissipates, which means you’re going to lower in value.”
Wall’s four-year, $170 million contract extension begins next season. Beal, 25, signed a five-year, $128 million contract in 2016. Otto Porter is the highest paid player on the roster this season ($26.011 million). His deal includes a player option for the 2020-21 season.
Those salary numbers combined with production shines a light on Beal.
“He’s a shooter in a game where shooting is incredibly important in this day and age,” Smith said of Beal. “His value will only elevate. The fact is with Wall the perception is there’s a bad contract. In Porter, the perception is there’s a bad contract. In Beal, no one has called it a bad contract.
“So when you look at it from that perspective, he’s the guy that you may need to move in order to acquire the attributes that you need in order to make this team better down the line or at least get enough cap space so you can somewhat start over because you’re not going to get anybody to take John Wall’s contract right now.”
The Lakers may seek immediate help with the West wide open beyond the dominate Warriors. They also may not want to add long-term money or trade potential player assets including Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball or Josh Hart. Los Angeles is expected to make plays for headliners Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson or Kawhi Leonard this summer.
As for the Wizards, reports of potential deals does not mean the team is actively shopping Wall and Beal or even considering such moves. Washington, Boston, and Philadelphia are the only Eastern Conference teams with at least two All-Stars from last season. If the Wizards are going to rally, those are the types of players needed. Does such thinking change if 11-17 turns into 22-28 as the Feb. 7 trade approaches? We’ll see.
All we know for sure is that James and crew will be in Chinatown Sunday night. We should probably just focus on that. Good luck with that.
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John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr. and the Washington Wizards take on Spencer Dinwiddie, D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen and the Brooklyn Nets. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington Plus.
Here are three things to watch.
1. Will Porter play?:
The Wizards may be getting a key player back on Friday with Otto Porter Jr. on the road back from a right knee contusion. He left Monday's game against the Pacers after suffering the injury, then missed Wednesday's game against the Celtics. The Wizards lost both of those games.
Porter, 25, was close to playing on Wednesday as a gametime decision, so it seems likely he will be available on Friday. If he does play, he will look for better success against the Nets than he has in their other match-ups this season. Through two games against Brooklyn, Porter is averaging only 7.5 points while shooting 35.3 percent from the field. He is 0-for-6 from three.
Porter, though, had been playing very well before the injury. In his previous three games, he was averaging 16.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and a block. He shot 55.3 percent overall and 47.1 percent from three.
2. Wiz Need to Bounce Back:
The Wizards head to a Brooklyn in the middle of a slump. They have lost three straight games following a three-game win streak that happened to begin against this same Nets team on Dec. 1.
The Wizards have found some balance recently, having gone 9-8 in their last 17 games after going 2-9 to begin the year. But real, sustained momentum has been elusive.
The Nets are a team that they should beat. This game begins a manageable stretch that includes some good teams like the Lakers and Pacers, but plenty of potential cupcakes like the Hawks, Suns and Bulls.
3. Nets On a Roll:
Though the Nets (11-18) have an even worse record than the Wizards (11-17), they are on a bit of a roll. They have won three straight games, including an overtime victory over the Raptors and one on the road against the Sixers.
They held Toronto to only 105 points, including the extra period. And against the Sixers, they scored 127 points in regulation.
Spencer Dinwiddie has been leading the way, averaging 27 points and 6.3 assists during this three-game stretch. Allen Crabbe has also stepped up with 16 points and 4.3 boards per game.
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