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Beal to the Heat? Beal to Brooklyn? Latest rumors are much of the same

Beal to the Heat? Beal to Brooklyn? Latest rumors are much of the same

Even Bradley Beal and Tommy Sheppard can probably laugh at this point.

No matter what they do, no matter how strongly they deny them, the trade rumors surrounding Beal have proven uniquely resilient. It is honestly fair to wonder if they can be stopped at all, and whether it is even worth trying to fight them.

Just consider all that the Beal trade rumors have persisted through. Beal signed a contract extension just eight months ago. He can't be traded now or really anytime soon. The earliest he could even be dealt is this fall, when the NBA's offseason takes place, which right now looks like October into November.

Sheppard, the Wizards' general manager, has done many interviews at this point where he was asked about Beal. He usually touts getting the extension done and then says he's going nowhere.

Beal has also said many, many times he is committed to the Wizards. He has specifically addressed leaving to join a contender, and how he doesn't want to go that route.

Beal's agent, Mark Bartelstein, has even gone on the record to affirm Beal's plans. So, you have the player himself, his agent and the GM all essentially saying 'nothing to see here.'

Along the way, and on top of all of that, a worldwide pandemic shut the league down and literally paused all transactions. Still, more Beal trade rumors.

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Really, the Beal situation - which isn't really a situation at all - proves something, that NBA trade rumors can survive just about anything. And there may be nothing the Wizards or Beal can do to control the storyline.

Ultimately, the rumors can come from many different directions. A recent report linked Beal to the Brooklyn Nets. Then, on Tuesday, another one came out grouping Beal's name in with the Lakers, Heat and Pelicans. Both rumors generated from sources outside the Wizards organization.

And that is important to note. Because in the NBA, or in sports for that matter, the rumor doesn't have to come from the Wizards, it can come from 29 other teams. If another team has had internal discussions or has placed a call to show interest, that's enough to make it a story and sometimes for the Wizards to even respond.

When it comes to Beal, it's easy to see why fans and media overlook the evidence. He's a really good player on a non-contending team. That is generally the formula for players on the move.

And maybe someday the dynamic does indeed shift. Things can change abruptly, especially in the NBA. Paul George famously signed an extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder (and made a documentary about the process) then just months later jumped to the Clippers in a trade.

But Beal and the Wizards have made it clear they are all on board together specifically to give his partnership with John Wall at least one more shot. And that would require Beal sticking around at the very least into the following season, which begins in December.

So really, barring something unforeseen, Beal's future isn't worth circling back to until after the 2020-21 season, whenever that will ultimately be. Or, if things wen't terribly south next year, maybe it becomes a thing by the 2021 trade deadline.

Still, we're talking about a long time away. There is no reason Beal's future should constantly be in the forefront. But NBA trade rumors sometimes don't circulate in reality, so expect them to carry on.

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With Zion Williamson next, a look at NBA phenoms' first games against the Wizards

With Zion Williamson next, a look at NBA phenoms' first games against the Wizards

The Wizards are expected to get their first look at No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson on Friday night as they battle the New Orleans Pelicans at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. This should be their first glimpse of the phenom in any type of game, though they were supposed to see him last summer in Las Vegas, if you recall. Williamson hurt his knee in a previous Summer League game that was famously cancelled due to an earthquake.

There was anticipation then and there is plenty of it now, as Williamson has since become a sensation in the NBA. Though he has only played in 23 games, he has already done some extraordinary things. Williamson is averaging 22.4 points and 6.2 rebounds in just 27.9 minutes.

Against the Kings on Thursday night, Williams had 24 points on 12 shots in 21 minutes. His efficiency is not the type of stuff you see often, especially for a rookie.

And those are just the numbers. Anyone who has watched him play can attest to the unusual athletic gifts that he has.

"Explosive. Just dynamic," Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. "His athleticism is off the charts. His second jump is as good as everybody's first jump. He's a quick jumper. He's going to be a problem. He's going to be a problem for a lot of years. It's impressive what he's done in the limited minutes that he's played here."

RELATED: BRYANT'S GAME VS. EMBIID IMPORTANT LONG TERM

Williamson may be one of a kind with his strength, first step and leaping ability, but he's just the latest in a long line of star prospects to reach the NBA level. As he gets set to face the Wizards, here is a look at how some other rookie phenoms have fared in their first games against the franchise...

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (MIL) - Nov. 9, 1969

24 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 10-22 FG, 48 minutes; Bullets won by 11

Larry Bird (BOS) - Oct. 19, 1979

12 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 6-14 FG, 22 minutes; Celtics won by 37

Magic Johnson (LAL) - Jan. 9, 1980

14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, block, steal, 4-6 FG, 26 minutes; Bullets won by 2

Michael Jordan (CHI) - Oct. 26, 1984 (NBA debut)

16 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals, 5-16 FG, 40 minutes; Bulls won by 16

Shaquille O'Neal (ORL) - Nov. 7, 1992 

22 points, 15 rebounds, 4 blocks, 8-16 FG, 40 minutes; Magic won by 5

Allen Iverson (PHI) - March 4, 1997

18 points, 13 assists, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 7-20 FG, 45 minutes; Bullets won by 1

Tim Duncan (SAS) - Nov. 26, 1997

18 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks, 5 turnovers, 9-15 FG, 41 minutes; Wizards won by 4

LeBron James (CLE) - Nov. 8, 2003

17 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds, steal, block, 8-19 FG, 44 minutes; Cavs won by 13

Kevin Durant (SEA) - Jan. 6, 2008

19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 7-12 FG, 35 minutes; Wizards won by 22

Derrick Rose (CHI) - Dec. 6, 2008

15 points, 8 assists, 2 steals, 6-12 FG, 37 minutes; Bulls won by 7

Blake Griffin (LAC) - March 12, 2011

26 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 8-17 FG, 30 minutes; Clippers won by 21

Luka Doncic (DAL) - Nov. 6, 2018

23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, steal, 9-16 FG, 33 minutes; Mavericks won by 19

Ja Morant (MEM) - Dec. 14, 2019

18 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, block, 5-11 FG, 28 minutes; Grizzlies won by 17

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76ers' Ben Simmons diagnosed with partial dislocation of the left kneecap

76ers' Ben Simmons diagnosed with partial dislocation of the left kneecap

After exiting the 76ers-Wizards matchup early Wednesday night, Ben Simmons was diagnosed with subluxation of the left patella on Thursday.

Simmons left the game during the third quarter and did not return. The injury occurred after he grabbed an offensive rebound and dribbled to the corner to pass to Al Horford in the post. Following the play, he began flexing his left leg and left for the locker room. Simmons was seen walking gingerly in street clothes minutes later.  

Before leaving the game, Simmons recorded eight points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in 23 minutes.

Simmons’ diagnosis of a partially dislocated kneecap leaves him out indefinitely as he and the team consider treatment options. He has already been ruled out of Philadelphia’s game against the Orlando Magic on Friday. However, his MRI showed no ligament damage in the knee, which leaves him optimistic to return later in the playoffs.

His knee injury is not the only injury Simmons has had to overcome this season. He also missed the final eight games before the NBA’s hiatus with a nerve impingement in his lower back, but fully recovered before the restart began.

Playing without an All-Star player will be a challenge for Philadelphia, but the team has proven successful thus far in Orlando. The Sixers have gone 2-1 in the bubble and currently trail the Indiana Pacers by one game for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and are two games behind the Miami Heat for fourth. 

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