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Luol Deng was among Wizards' targets in free agency but Lakers offered more

Luol Deng was among Wizards' targets in free agency but Lakers offered more

Before Ian Mahinmi came into the picture to be signed by the Wizards, who secured him with a four-year deal worth $64 million, Luol Deng was their target. The sides never came to terms and the L.A. Lakers took him away, league sources told CSNmidatlantic.com at the time.

Turns out, Deng wasn't that much of a better option. Mahinmi injured his left knee that required surgery to repair cartliage before the season ever started. Then he developed tendinitis in the right knee and has played in just one game. He's now undergoing platelet-rich therapy on both knees and is projected to be out six weeks. Deng, 31, has started 31 games for the Lakers and is averaging career-lows of 8.0 points and shooting just 39% from the field. 

Zach Lowe of ESPN talked about him recently:

"The disastrous deals for Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng will make it hard for the Lakers to fit even one max-level deal signed after 2017, and almost impossible to absorb two. (The Lakers badly overpaid for Deng; Washington had traction with Deng on a three-year deal worth $20 million less overall than L.A. ended up paying, and was stunned to learn of L.A.'s offer, according to several league sources.)"

Lowe's report is accurate. According to a league source to CSNmidaltantic.com at the time, the Wizards and Deng were $1.5 million apart in negotiations. The Lakers offered the veteran a four-year deal worth $72 million. The Wizards also weren't willing to match the length of the contract for Deng, a stretch four option who has had diminishing returns since he was a two-time All-Star. 

Mahinmi ended up being the big-ticket item, though the Wizards went with Andrew Nicholson at Deng's position for $26 million over four years. 

[RELATED: Jimmy Butler had Christmas song turned off in stadium]

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Don't expect Bradley Beal to request a trade from the Wizards

Don't expect Bradley Beal to request a trade from the Wizards

Bradley Beal made headlines on Friday afternoon when he said in an All-Star Q&A that he wants to stay with the Wizards for many years to come, that he hopes to “retire in this jersey” and that he is “all about loyalty.” 

That suggested he will not become the next NBA star to request a trade. But the topic of a trade request was never actually discussed.

So, a few hours later, NBC Sports Washington caught up with Beal for a 1-on-1 interview at the All-Star Celebrity Game to expand on those thoughts.

Beal explained in detail why he has no plans to ask the Wizards for a trade, and how he doesn’t envision a scenario where that could happen.

“I mean, look where that’s gotten a lot of guys now. It doesn’t always play out in your favor,” he told NBC Sports Washington.

“So, I’m thinking like what good could that bring me? In my head, that’s just more turmoil for the team. It’s another distraction."

Beal, 25, has two years left on his contract with the Wizards. He is due $27.1 million next season and $28.8 million for the 2020-21 campaign.

Beal was picked third overall by the Wizards in the 2012 NBA Draft. He has since developed into a two-time All-Star and has helped lead the Wizards to the playoffs four times in the past five years.

This season, however, things have gone south for the team. John Wall was lost for the year due to a torn Achilles and Dwight Howard has appeared in only nine games due to back surgery. 

The Wizards have made five trades since training camp, including ones to ship mainstays Otto Porter Jr. and Markieff Morris out of the organization.

They are currently 10 games under .500 at the All-Star break, which has put the spotlight on Beal’s future. The formula for a blockbuster trade usually includes a star on a losing team, and Beal fits the bill.

Beal, though, can already imagine the drawbacks of requesting a trade. He sees the mess that Anthony Davis and the Pelicans are dealing with in New Orleans and doesn't want that for himself.

"I always feel like if I requested a trade, and I didn’t get traded, there’s no way in hell I’m gonna be able to go and play with my teammates who know I don’t want to be here. That’s mind-boggling to me," he said.

People change their minds, and Beal very well could. But he insists he has no thoughts of leaving the Wizards and says the speculation can effectively end.

“Until the team doesn’t want me anymore, I’m gonna be here,” he said. “I’m here. I’m a Wizard, day in and day out. They pay me and I have to show up and do my work. Until that changes, that’s who I’m loyal to.”

 

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Loyal through trade rumors, Bradley Beal definitive for first time about future with Wizards

Loyal through trade rumors, Bradley Beal definitive for first time about future with Wizards

CHARLOTTE -- Bradley Beal made the most definitive comments yet about his future on Friday afternoon and it came in an All-Star question-and-answer fan event in downtown Charlotte.

In a forum hosted by ESPN's Molly Qerim, one fan first thanked Beal for all he has done for the Wizards, then followed it up with a pointed question about whether it’s time to “blow the team up.”

Beal first laughed as the crowd reacted with a collective ‘ooh.’ He joked “there’s a lot of tampering going on these days.”

Then, he delivered a clear picture of what he hopes is a long-term future in Washington.

“I hate change. If I can retire in this jersey, I will. I’m all about loyalty,” Beal said.

Beal has said the right things before, but the timing is interesting. With the Wizards outside of the playoff race, he has become the subject of trade rumors. Many fans and media members have wondered if he could be the next All-Star to want a change of scenery.

Beal, though, insists that isn’t in his nature.

“Granted, it goes both ways,” Beal said of wanting to stay with one team. “They can say they won’t trade you and [then they do.] It’s a business at the end of the day, but believe me... my parents [raised] me on loyalty and just constantly even keel no matter what. Tough time last not always, but tough people do.”

Beal, 25, is making his second All-Star appearance. He is averaging career-highs this season in points (25.1), assists (5.4) and rebounds (5.1).

He has two years left on his contract, due about $56 million through the 2020-21 season. Most stars who have left their original teams have done so with one year left on their deals, so all of this will have to be revisited down the road.

But Beal has already thought about the years ahead and has no intention of leaving D.C.

“When you first get [to the NBA], you don’t get control over where you’re drafted. But once you get there, you develop relationships with people. You develop family, businesses, foundations; everything. You create a life there and it’s tough to just up and move after,” he said.

There you go, Wizards fans. You can rest assured, Beal is not plotting his exit, at least not anytime soon.

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