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If the Lakers strike out elsewhere, don’t be surprised if LeBron & Co. target Bradley Beal

If the Lakers strike out elsewhere, don’t be surprised if LeBron & Co. target Bradley Beal

Thanks to some lottery luck on Tuesday night, LeBron James and the Lakers now own the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, making that the Hollywood backdrop ahead of a majorly consequential free agent summer in Los Angeles.

The Lakers will undoubtedly be aggressive in their pursuit of marquee free agents and, now armed with that No. 4 pick, could put together a formidable trade package in pursuit of additional talent to help LeBron win a title in a limited window.

Enter the Washington Wizards.

“Bradley Beal could maybe be in play for the Lakers right there,” NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller said Tuesday night on the Wizards Talk podcast.

“If [the Lakers] strike out on all of those [top-tier free agents] and they need an All-Star and they need a two guard, Bradley Beal is a whole hell of a lot better than Jarrett Culver.”

Culver, who led Texas Tech to an appearance in the national championship game this past season, is one of a handful of players talked about as an option for the Lakers if they were to keep the No. 4 pick.

But as recent history has shown, namely the very public botched Anthony Davis trade negotiations between the Lakers and Pelicans earlier this year, Los Angeles locks in on a target and that target becomes the center of the NBA conversation universe.

“I don’t want any of the Lakers young pieces. I don’t want any of those Lakers pieces,” Miller continued, referring the Los Angeles core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma.

“I want Bradley Beal to stay. Period.”

This will be a pivotal summer for Beal and the Wizards, as well. If he qualifies for an All-NBA team for his work during the 2018-19 season, he would be eligible for a supermax extension that would entitle him to 35 percent of the Wizards’ cap space. Combined with the contract of backcourt mate John Wall, also on a supermax deal, Washington would in the future owe 70 percent of its cap to just two players.

“There’s reasons to consider trading him because until he’s saying he’s going to take an extension and all that we don’t know what his long term plans are and the Wizards are not in a position to let him walk in two years,” NBC Sports Washington’s Ben Standig said on the podcast.

“That said, I’m not trading him unless I flat out am getting true building blocks and based on this draft, unless it’s Zion or Ja, maybe RJ Barrett, I don’t see that guy.”

Listen to the full post-lottery episode of the Wizards Talk podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.


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Tomas Satoransky set to enter unpredictable free agent market for point guards

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Tomas Satoransky set to enter unpredictable free agent market for point guards

Of the Wizards' players set to hit free agency on June 30, one who has a good chance to return is point guard Tomas Satoransky. He and center Thomas Bryant are atop the team's priority list with Bobby Portis likely too expensive and Jabari Parker set to enter the market unrestricted.

Satoransky will be a restricted free agent, meaning the Wizards can match any offers made by other teams. And in talking to members of the Wizards' coaching staff and front office, they speak of Satoransky like he is part of their future.

Still, nothing can be assumed and especially in a year in which many teams have money to spend. As Kevin O'Connor of the Ringer noted this week, there is more cap room available this summer than the previous two combined. That could lead to 2016-level contracts where role players get paid like starters and average starters get paid like stars.

What will make Satoransky's market interesting, though, is the fact there are some much bigger names available at his position. At point guard, teams with the most money can go after All-Stars like Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving and D'Angelo Russell. There is then a robust second tier that includes Malcolm Brogdon, Terry Rozier and Ricky Rubio. Then you have Derrick Rose, Elfrid Payton, Patrick Beverley, Darren Collison and Rajon Rondo.

It is a great year to be a free agent, but maybe not the best year to be a free agent point guard. The position class is absolutely loaded.

Satoransky, though, will still draw plenty of interest and among the teams expected to check in on him are the Mavericks, Pacers, Magic and Celtics, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

The Celtics have already been tied to Satoransky by Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. But they also have their sights set on some of the bigger fish at point guard with rumors linking them to Walker, in particular.

The Utah Jazz were also set to pursue Satoransky, but their trade for Mike Conley Jr. has taken them off the list. The Phoenix Suns could also emerge as a suitor, though they are being linked to higher profile free agents at this point.

Both the Wizards and Satoransky expressed interest in a contract extension midway through the 2018-19 season, as NBC Sports Washington reported, but those talks didn't get much further. The Wizards ended up putting a lot of things on hold once they drifted out of the playoff race and ultimately fired team president Ernie Grunfeld.

With senior vice president Tommy Sheppard serving in the interim, though, Satoransky has a big proponent calling the shots in the Wizards front office. Sheppard scouted Satoransky before the Wizards drafted him and was key in convincing him to leave Europe for the NBA.

Satoransky likes playing in Washington and recognizes an opportunity at point guard with John Wall set to miss most of next season due to Achilles surgery. But he also recognizes this as a chance to earn the biggest payday of his career.

How much money Satoransky will ultimately receive is hard to predict. Those in his camp are apprehensive to throw numbers out there because even they aren't sure.

One potential comparison could be Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, who makes just over $9 million per year. Though VanVleet is arguably better, Satoransky is hitting the market with more money to go around. 

Many have tried to project Satoransky's market in the past few months. Soon we will find out just how valuable he is.


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Washington Wizards extend qualifying offers to Portis, Bryant and Satoransky, not Dekker

Washington Wizards extend qualifying offers to Portis, Bryant and Satoransky, not Dekker

The Wizards extended qualifying offers to three free agents on Wednesday: Thomas Bryant, Bobby Portis and Tomas Satoransky. Washington did now, however, extend a qualifying offer to Sam Dekker. 

The Washington Wizards reportedly extended a qualifying offer to Thomas Bryant after the center's breakout 2018-19 season, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. 

After he was picked up by the Wizards off the waiver wires from the Lakers, Bryant worked his way into the Washington lineup by late November. 

With the Wizards he averaged 6.3 rebounds and 10.5 points while he shot a league-high 68.5% on two-pointers. Bryant also shot 33.3% in the three-point range and 46.6% from three-to-10 feet. 

But Bryant also made a big impact with his energy and enthusiasm while the Wizards struggled to compete, making him a favorite amongst his teammates and Washington fans alike. 

Back in April, Bryant expressed a serious interest in staying with the Wizards. For that article, click here.

Washington also extended offers to Bobby Portis anad Tomas Satoransky, as reported by Chase Hughes and Yahoo Sports' Keith Smith.

Last season with the Wizards, Portis shot 39.3% and averaged 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Like Bryant, Portis also expressed that he enjoyed playing in Washington, but also said he wanted to make more money. For that article, click here

Satoransky averaged 8.9 points a game in the 2018-19 season, while he shot 39.5% in threes. 

While Washington made qualifying offers to three of its free agents, the Wizards declined a qualifying offer on forward Sam Dekker, as reported by Chase Hughes. 

Last season Dekker averaged 6.1 points per game, while he shot 47.1% in field goals.